Cycling, hiking, camping, etc — now back in southern Indiana. Words and photos.

Archive for the 'Hiking' Category

Rambling around the Pine Loop

Monday, July 15th, 2013

While I was in school, I found it hard to balance school, work and my hobbies — especially outdoor recreation. Which is to say that, especially my last semester (this spring), when I had 17 credit hours, I made very little attempt to get out. I even stopped biking to class. It wasn’t ideal, but I went into survival mode and … well, I survived. I should post about the end of school sometime in the near future.

Inertia can be a powerful force. Once I got in the habit of staying indoors, it became easy to keep doing so, and for a while, I found little motivation to get out.

But, lately I’ve been putting forth some effort into trying to get back outside, mostly on the bike, but Saturday I suggested to Sarah that we go hiking. We headed out to Brown County State Park to hike the Pine Loop, which was built for mountain biking but is also great for hiking purposes.

First we made a stop at the nature center, which we had never visited together, even though we’ve been going to Brown County for years. There, we learned more about the area and saw some live, native creatures including turtles and snakes. Outdoors they had a demonstration involving a large red-tailed hawk. We watched that for a while before going down to the trail.

We headed out, on a short trail with no epic expectations, just wanting to spend some quality time together in the woods. We didn’t even bring ¬†camera aside from our phones, but we didn’t use them much, either. It was a warm, sunny July afternoon, though it was several degrees cooler in the woods.

After our hike, we drove back toward town but took a detour on 446 to eat an early dinner at the Scenic View restaurant, overlooking Lake Monroe, then took a very scenic and remote route home, getting lost along the way and discovering some great new roads in the process.

It was a wonderful way to spend our day, and I look forward to more opportunities for days like this. School was a great experience, and I’m glad I finished, but in some ways it was a setback as far as taking a couple more years of my life goes. And it certainly ate into my recreation time more than I would have liked. I’m glad to be finally getting back on track and trying to reclaim the direction I want to take. It involves a lot more lollygagging around our countryside with my beautiful wife.

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Mother’s Day Hike

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Several years ago we went for a picnic and a hike with my mom on Mother’s Day, and it’s become something of a tradition. It hasn’t happened every year, but we try to do it when possible.

This year, we went to McCormick’s Creek State Park and hiked Trail 7. We had only hiked this trail once before, way back in 2007 if my memory is correct.

Here is mom, just starting down Trail 7.

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The trail starts out following a ridgetop alongside the gorge that contains the creek and waterfall, with some nice rock outcroppings where you can look out over the ravine.

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Naturally, my nephew, Avery, went right to the edge.

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We also had a couple nice views of the creek.

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Including a great place to throw rocks …

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Next we walked on a boardwalk across a muddy area thick with foliage.

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Before long, we reached the White River.

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From there, the trail looped back toward the start.

I had forgotten how great this trail is, with some diverse views and enough ups and downs to be interesting, but not overly strenuous.

More importantly, it was a fun way to spend Mother’s Day. I hope my mom enjoyed it as much as I did.

New Years-ish Hike

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

On New Year’s Eve Eve, Dave and I got together for a hike. He had a couple of possible hikes in mind, so we discussed on the way out of town and decided where to go, deciding on the southern portion of Yellowwood State Forest.

The thing about Dave is, hiking with him is different from hiking with a normal person. He loves to explore, and he’s not overly concerned with staying on the trail. This can lead to some very memorable hikes, such as this one in search of a pond (which we never really found), or this one on the Old Axsom Branch “trail” that hasn’t been maintained in many years, yet features some of the best views of Lake Monroe I’ve seen.

This outing was not as epic as that one, but as Dave got out maps and showed me where he wanted to go, I realized we would spend plenty of time bushwhacking. His maps showed some trails, but much of it involved statements like “I think we can make our way down this ravine to Crooked Creek Lake,” and “I think we can find a way up the other side, and then hopefully connect with this other trail.” Some of the trails were horse trails, but others weren’t even established trails, just paths Dave spotted in satellite view in Google Maps.

I was intrigued, and ready for adventure. Oh yeah, did I mention it was raining on and off throughout the day?

We started out on what I believe is officially a horse trail, but it had a gravel surface for quite a while.

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Logging is always a little disheartening to see, but it did open up some nice views.

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We were mostly on ridgetops for a while.

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As we hiked through this section, the rain started back up. By the time I got my poncho on (tearing it in the process) it had stopped again.

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Soon the trail ended, and Dave didn’t skip a beat. He didn’t even slow down.

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We were fascinated by this tree that had decayed so much that there was only a flat outline of it remaining on the ground.

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It didn’t take long for us to find our way down to Crooked Creek Lake.

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Sarah and I had hiked here a few years back, so I knew it was a rugged hike around the lake, bushwhacking most of the way. In fact, this was the most difficult part of the entire hike, making our way across steep hillsides covered in brush and slick rocks, with many trees felled by beavers blocking our path.

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After we made our way around the lake, we started up the ravine on the other side. Dave said something like “I *think* there’s a trail up there …” And thus began the most strenuous part of the hike. I don’t know how long or how high we climbed, but it went on for quite a while, and we went straight up the side of the ravine. I certainly hoped we would find the trail, and sure enough, we did. I had to stop and catch my breath at the top.

From there, it was more easy ridgetop hiking back to the car. The sun was setting over a ridge as we finished our hike.

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My GPS is very messed up right now, butit said we hiked 3.7 miles. ¬†In reality, it’s probably a little more than that. I’ll include the map, even though it’s missing some parts.

This hike was a blast! It makes me want to do more exploration hikes, trying to figure out ways to get from trails to places they don’t really connect to, or finding ways from one trail to another, etc. It’s very liberating to realize that you don’t always need to rely on a trail to get you where you want to go.

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