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Archive for the 'Nature' Category

Memorial Day weekend camping, canoing, hiking

Friday, June 6th, 2008

On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, we went camping at Jackson-Washington State Forest. We’ve been camping there before and in fact, is where we got engaged.

After we arrived, we set up camp. It was late afternoon, and this place was a lot busier than we had ever seen it. Not surprising, since it was a holiday weekend, but there were tons of campers (unusual) and a lot of loud dogs and kids. A lot of the kids were riding bikes around the parking lot, which was good to see, but they weren’t being very safe about it.

Our tent (the camper is our neighbors)

My hiking boots (photo inspired in part by Mr Macrum’s “Leather Friends” post)

After we pitched the tent, we decided to go for a hike on one of the shorter/easier trails. I think the trail we did was trail 6, about two miles long. We walked to the trailhead.

They drained the lake for … well, some reason


There was something in the air, a mystical atmosphere from being back in the lush forest with the sun low in the sky, light filtering through the trees.

Glowing leaves

The fog is really lens flare from a cheap filter, but it turned out to be a nice atmospheric shot


The trail was fairly flat and wound through the woods gently. It wasn’t a difficult hike, but it was great to be outdoors together and enjoying the scenery.


Soon, we came to a clearing. This was an interpretive trail and we had a pamphlet describing some of the features, but after reading a couple of things we simply ignored it. Most of what we read wasn’t too interesting. We did look up the explanation of the clearing, and apparently they do some testing with cross-pollinating various species of certain trees here.


Rays of light

Rob, looking very dramatic

Tree, moss, groundcover

After a while, we came to a lake, the name of which I can’t remember. The sun was reflecting off the water, at times it was a bit blinding but overall we had a stunning view of the lake. As soon as Rob saw the lake, he ran down the steep hill and jumped in the water. He ran back up immediately, and of course got us wet.


I spent more time looking at Sarah though … she was flattering the light.


Us … the focus isn’t how I intended but it ended up being an interesting shot.

The trail took us across a boardwalk for a while, which I tend to have mixed feelings about. I prefer more natural trails, but on the other hand the boardwalk lets you walk across a wetland. In this case, it was very cool.


Hills, lake, marsh

Rob and me

Before long, we came across the remains of a house or some other building. The trail went right through it. The walls had partially crumbled, and parts of what remained were covered in thick moss and vines. This added to the mystical atmosphere that the whole hike had, and we spent a few minutes here taking photographs. None of them really seem to do it justice.

Mossy wall


There was a staircase leading us out through the other side of the house.


As we continued hiking, we saw remains of other houses, none as cool as what we had just seen, but interesting nonetheless. An entire chimney still stands where the rest of one house is mostly gone.


The trail ended shortly after this, and it was getting fairly dark. We should really do more hikes late in the day like this one, it was truly fantastic. We really enjoyed this trail, as it had a variety of scenery, especially for such a short trail.

Returning to the campground

We got back to the campground and found it was still pretty noisy, maybe moreso. The campground at Jackson-Washington State Forest has “primitive” campsites (no electricity). Normally, this keeps things quiet, but in this case a number of people had turned on generators attached to their campers! I was pretty stunned at this, and it was pretty annoying to have what is normally such a quiet, peaceful event punctuated by generators, but we were able to tune them out pretty well after a while.

I built a fire, which always seems to take longer than I think it’s going to take, and we cooked burgers over the fire. They turned out pretty well, and we had a great evening being together, eating burgers and s’mores, and generally goofing around.

Some goodies

Cooking burgers


Tending the fire
The next morning, I went for a bicycle ride, which I’ve already written about here. After that, we went canoing at Starve Hollow Lake. We took Rob, as we’ve done in the past, and we all enjoyed ourselves. Rob kept shifting his weight, making it difficult for us to keep the boat steady. Eventually he laid down. He is so lazy! We got a good, close look at a Great Blue Heron and saw some other wildlife as well. A great end to a wonderful trip. Here are a few photos from our canoing outing.


Great Blue Heron

Lilly pads


Rob, lounging

Cataract Falls, Cagles Mill Lake, Patricksburg photos

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Sarah and I spent Sunday driving around rather aimlessly, exploring the countryside for good photo opportunities. I brought my new lens, although it didn’t end up getting a lot of use. Instead I spent most of the time doing infrared photography. Hopefully soon I’ll write a post about the equipment and techniques involved in making these images. For now, I’ll just post some photos.

Sarah drove, which is unusual as she is just learning to drive. Country roads afford a lot of opportunities to practice the mechanics of driving without a lot of complicated intersections, or traffic. This also freed me up to navigate. I opened our Indiana Atlas and Gazetteer to the area where we were and started looking for interesting things to check out. The first thing to catch my eye was the Cataract Falls Bridge. I didn’t know if the bridge was noteworthy, but waterfalls are rather unusual around here, so I thought we should check out Cataract Falls. As it turns out, Cataract Falls is the largest waterfall in the state of Indiana.

DSC_0011 DSC_0002
A couple of normal shots of Cataract Falls

Cataract falls in infrared

Infrared bridge

The falls in infrared, another perspective

Normal shot

Small falls by the main waterfall. Black & white infrared.

Lower Cataract Falls

After visiting Cataract Falls, we took the long way to Patricksburg, a small town we’ve gone to before and liked. On the way, we stopped at Cagles Mill Lake.

Cagles Mill Lake

We drove through Patricksburg but only stopped a couple of times on the outskirts of town.



Hill, in infrared


Road and fields

I almost hit a …

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

… before I say what I hit, try and guess.


I went mountain biking at Brown County State Park with Dave and Casey, one of his boys. I hadn’t met Casey before, so that was cool. He was fun to ride with. At one point a turkey was running on the trail ahead of us. We quickly caught up to him and he ran off to the side of the trail. That was pretty amusing.

Later, during a blistering downhill run back to my car, I came around a turn to see a raccoon right in the middle of the trail. I got ready to bunny hop (err, raccoon hop) over it if necessary, but after freezing for half a second, the raccoon ran out of the way and climbed straight up a tree.

If you guessed “raccoon,” you win. If you guessed something else, what was it?

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