We met at the church and drove up to Cataract, parking at the south end of town in a church parking lot. We got organized: Patrick was the hike leader; Tyler was the mapigator. We went over the route. Then we moved out at 9:15 a.m.
We began by walking up through the sleepy little town of Cataract. Just on the other side of town, we entered the park and walked down to the Lower Falls. This led, naturally, to some poking around with packs off (entirely appropriate on a scenic hike). Then we walked through the park to the Upper Falls where the old mill stood many years ago. More time was spent clambering around the rocks and mill race. Then it was over the covered bridge and up the hill to where Camp Otto Rd. led back onto the north side of Mill Creek.
We walked a shady gravel road along the back side of the SRA, which eventually turned north and began to enter farm country. The first crossroads was Pumpkin Ridge, where we turned east. We stopped for lunch on the Owen-Putnam County line. T.J. and I even napped a bit, though Tyler and Patrick kept horsing around while Tyler made sounds like a howler monkey being skinned alive -- which made it difficult. By 12:40, we were back on the road, winding around to Short Cut Rd. At one point, I burst into an old Girl Scout song:
Swinging along the open roadLess than a mile down Short Cut Rd. we came to another road which cut off the angle between Short Cut Rd. and Cataract Rd. Now, what would you call a short cut from Short Cut? Why, Cut Through Rd., of course. This led us back to the blacktop about a half mile from Cataract. We came back into town over the modern concrete bridge and stumped on to the General Store, where cold drinks awaited us. We were back at the car by 3:05, which gave us a time of 5 hours 50 minutes to do ten miles.
under a sky that's clear,
swinging along the open road
all in the fall, in the fall of the year;
swinging along, swinging along, swinging along the open road
all in the fall of the year!
With the completion of today's hike, T.J. was celebrating 100 miles of hiking. Congrats to him! At 16, though, he's just starting. My best guesstimate is that I've hiked about 1,335 miles in my life. With more to come, God willing!