aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Cataract Ten-miler

Today was our latest ten-mile hike for Troop 119's Hiking Merit Badge crew. Andrew could not be with us today, since he is attending NYLT at Maumee Scout Reservation this week. So we just had Matt and Logan. Matt took the role of Hike Leader, and Logan carried the map. Don drove.

We parked at the Cataract Baptist Church and looked over our map route. Then we set off through the little town of Cataract, heading for the State Recreation Area just out of town to the north. It was just about 9:18 a.m. The morning was cool, the skies were blue, all around was an intense green. Summer was in full array.

Matt set a fairly stiff pace as we entered the SRA and headed down the road to the Lower Falls. This is typical for teenage boys. They have lots of energy, so they barge off, as if they are going to eat the elephant in one sitting. I gave him his head for a mile or so. Then, I noticed that Logan had merely slipped his boots on without retying them. His left foot was slipping in and out of his boot as if it were a flip-flop. Not good. I called his attention to it, and he asked for a break after a while to tie it right. I spoke to Matt, and thereafter we had fewer problems with him overworking his crew by the pace he set.

Lower Falls

Lower Falls
Cataract State Recreation Area

The Lower Falls are an amazing sight, and neither Scout had been there before, I think. We gawked for a while, and then followed the trail beside the creek toward the Upper Falls. We paused there for a while, too. The foliage was so high, the traces of the old mill race and foundation were hidden.

We walked over to the old Covered Bridge and crossed Mill Creek. This brought us out on the busy county road, but we only had to follow it for a little bit before we reached Camp Otto Rd., which immediately ran down the far side of Mill Creek. Between Upper and Lower Falls, the road eventually turned north and climbed up out of the valley. We reached a four-way stop at Pumpkin Ridge Rd. and turned east into farm country.

Down by the old Mill Creek

Down by the old Mill Creek
Covered bridge

I was in a Scottish mood today. I started singing "The Braes of Killicrankie," which made no sense to the boys at all. I had to explain that it was about the Battle of Killicrankie (1689), part of the Stuart resistance to the Glorious Revolution, in which James Graham, Viscount Dundee, led his men to victory but died in the battle himself. After that, his forces were easily scattered and defeated by government troops.

They'd never heard of any of this. "You have to remember, I'm only twelve!" Logan said. So I then said that Viscount Dundee is the Bonnie Dundee of the song. What song? Well, then, I had to sing them "Bonnie Dundee." They almost understood it, until I got to,
There are hills beyond Pentland and lands beyond Forth,
Be there lords in the south, there are chiefs in the north,
there are brave duine-uasals [pronounced "doony-wassals"] three thousand times three,
Will cry 'Hai!' for the bonnets o' bonnie Dundee!
Now, they wanted to know what a duine-uasal was. "Why, you are!" I replied. The dialect word means a young man of Highland stock, often chiefs' sons: gentlemen of honor, ready for any adventure. And so I hope all our Scouts may be. Thereafter I referred to them several times as my duine-uasals.

Leader in Repose

Leader in Repose
Matt pauses for lunch

We stopped for lunch in the shade of a farmer's lane. Though it was about noon, there was still dew on the grass in the shady patches. After lunch, Don needed some foot repair. He had what looked like an old blister on his heel tear open, just where the boot would rub it. I fixed it with moleskin, a band-aid, and duct tape (to keep it from getting wadded up inside the sock by the shoe's movement). As we got up to go, he exclaimed, "Art! You touched me! It's a miracle!" Now, that's how you fix a flat in the back country.

It's worse than that; he's dead, Jim

It's worse than that; he's dead, Jim
Logan doesn't want to get up after lunch


It's a bloomin' flower!
All the colors were so vivid today

We were back on the road by 12:25, hiking between fields of gorgeous beans and beautiful corn. All the colors were so vivid. The boys called my attention to the clouds. They were big and fluffy above us, while in the south, there was a kind of creamy scrim across the sky. We managed to find a fair amount of shade. Even in what was now the heat of the day, the occasional cloud would obscure the sun just enough -- not to dim its brightness, but to keep it from broiling us. Several times, one of us would comment on how we have lucked out so far on all these hikes. It was simply a beautiful day.

I've looked at clouds from both sides, now

I've looked at clouds from both sides, now
All blue sky from here on out

At the far edge of our route, we teed into Short Cut Rd., which amused the boys. Then we walked down to a run that cut across the square mile of fields on the diagonal. What do you call a short cut that leaves Short Cut Rd.? Why, Cut Through Rd. of course.

Going to Grandma's house

Going to Grandma's house
Short Cut Rd.

Hay, there

Hay, there
Down on the farm

As we neared Cataract Rd. again, we began to pass some houses. Then, we were back on the busy county road leading into Cataract. We now had to walk along this road, but the south side was lined with well-groomed lawns mostly, which had soft grass to walk in and kept us from having to walk on the pavement. Another boon!

I sang another verse of "Bonnie Dundee." Logan said he didn't really know any songs, except one or two snatches from old Disney movies. That started Matt up. We found that he knows all the lyrics to "Pink Elephants on Parade" from Dumbo. I was impressed. Instead of duine-uasals, maybe these guys could be the Pink Elephant Patrol.

Some Entwives are just tramps

Some Entwives are just tramps
Creepy front lawn

This way!

This way!
Almost there

We came into Cataract in good order and stopped at the old General Store to get some cold soda. Then it was back to the car. We finished at 2:47 p.m., for a time, start to finish, of 5 hours 25 minutes. Highly respectable.

It was a glorious day of hiking. We met lots of friendly people. We heard birds and saw butterflies. We saw a deer cross the road up in farm country. Matt did a really good job as Leader, and Logan showed increasing knowledge in handling the map. Don remarked that he saw real growth in the boys. From my point of view, I have less and less to teach them as they become more adept at leading their own hikes; instead, I point out plants and trees that I recognize, share jokes and songs, and chatter on about history.

Hiking is fun!
Come, fill up my cup! Come, fill up my can!
Come saddle my horses and call out my men!
Unhook the West Port, and let us gae free,
for it's up wi' the bonnets o' bonnie Dundee!

My estimated lifetime hiking mileage is now 1,660.
Andrew owes me a hike report for the 20-miler.
Logan owes me hike reports for the 20-miler and this 10-miler.
Matt owes me four hike reports.

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