Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spring Mill State Park (in Indiana)

Saturday morning we woke up to frost on the pumpkin as I'm sure many of you did. It was chilly for sure, but that did not stop us from packing up the car with a yummy picnic lunch and driving all the way to Indiana. (It's really not that far, just over the bridge) We had planned to hike at Spring Mill State Park with our friends Gordon and Kathy. They live in Indiana, so we drove to their house first and then we all drove together to the park. Even though it was cool, it was a beautiful day for a hike; pretty leaves, blue skies and no bugs. Just the way I like it.

It felt a little funny hiking in coat and gloves, but I was very glad to have them.

Here I am trying to do tricky things on an old fallen tree. How do you like my new "hiking hat"? I think it's pretty spiffy. Alan thinks it's pretty funny. I'm getting him one for Christmas. Shh

Speaking of Alan, here he is looking very serious among the ferns.

This was one super big tree. It took Alan, Gordon and Kathy to just barely reach all the way around it.

The last stop on the hike was Donaldson Cave. Kathy and I waited at the top of the hill while Gordon and Alan ventured down to the cave. A creek flows through the cave, so it's a pretty slippery trek.

If I understand thing right, George Donaldson came here from Scotland and bought the land in 1865. He did not allow cutting of timber or hunting on the land so some of the trees are over 300 years old.

Here is Gordon standing in the mouth of the cave to help provide a little perspective on it's size. Gordon does not enjoy having his picture taken, so I greatly appreciate his cooperation in this shot.

Our hike ended up being a little over 3 miles long. We walked Trail 3 which was ranked as "rugged" and described as a long loop trail that passes the Donaldson Cave overlook, then goes through dense woods past sink holes; past Bronson Cave and on to Twin Caves; through virgin timber of the Donaldson woods Nature Preserve.

After the hike we ate our picnic by a creek near an old pioneer village. The grist mill is still in operation and we were able to see corn being ground by this huge water powered mill. I wish I had taken more pictures of the village. It was so charming with log buildings representing businesses such as the Mercantile, apothecary shop, tavern and distillery. There was a very knowledgeable carpenter who gave us some informative background information, and a woman trying to bake bread but having a time with all of the "draft".

We had so much fun and before we knew it was time to head home. Kathy had planned to feed us a wonderful chili dinner back at their house, but since we had been gone from home for so long and had not made any arrangements for the animals, she was kind enough to pack our supper to go. What a treat!

Each week I keep saying "This is my last hike of the season" but we had so much fun yesterday, I might be persuaded to visit another park before it really gets too cold.


No comments: