March 15th, 2008


Third Ten-Miler

It was a cool, foggy morning threatening rain as we gathered in the church parking lot. We were missing several Scouts: Mitch and Jordan were out of town visiting relatives; Bryan fractured an ankle, they think; David just got back from visiting relatives in the wee hours. That left Jackson, our hike leader, and T.J.. These guys have made all three hikes so far. And a new hiker joined us: Michael, who's been in the Troop almost a year. Jackson is 13, and T.J. soon will be; in contrast, Michael turns 12 in June. Still, he wanted to come, and who am I to discourage the eager?

T.J.'s mom, Kara, was our second adult. Kara is an old Girl Scout. I was a bit worried about what kind of shape she was in, but as with Michael: who am I to say that people can't do what they say they want to do? If all we're talking about is hurting from a little overdoing, well suffering is good for the soul, you know?

As it turns out, Kara did fine. All the hikers did. Jackson set a fast, loping pace, and we didn't take as many breaks as we usually do. Perhaps the cool weather helped. Anyway, we finished the whole ten miles in five hours flat, which is nothing short of amazing. Not a pace I would recommend to a crew, but we all kept up and did okay, so hooray!

We parked in a church parking lot on the south side of Cataract, IN (it's not the end of the world, but you can see it from there). We stumped on up the main street and entered the park on the other side of town. We picked up a border collie from a house near the entrance to guide us through the park. After a bit, the guys were getting a little tired of hiking along a road, when suddenly the creek valley opened up and the Lower Falls could be seen. Coolness. The collie waited until we were done gawking, then guided us back to the park entrance, its task fulfilled. We had been successfully herded, without the loss of a single sheep -- er, Scout.

The Upper Falls are even more amazing than the Lower Falls. We looked at the old millrace (now choked with debris), then walked across the old covered bridge to the north side of Mill Creek. Our path took us back along the creek until the gravel road turned north and began to climb out of the floodplain.

As we left the DNR's property, we got into open country. Farms, mostly. We saw cows and horses. Eventually we came to Short Cut Road -- which, of course, we took. The day began to brighten; the sun even tried to come out. It was about 50 degrees as we trudged back into Cataract, where we stopped for a coke at the General Store.

The rain held off all day. Spring was stirring ever so, with rushes greening up and the tops of daffodills just peeking through the soil. Lots of birds all round: woodpeckers drumming, buzzards and geese flying overhead, a cardinal, etc. A day to remind you how good it is to be alive.

Click on any pic below to enlarge.

Come to Jesus moment Come to Jesus moment
We gather in the Cataract Missionary Baptist Church parking lot to begin our hike 3-15-08
Lower Falls Lower Falls
Cataract State Recreation Area
Upper Falls Upper Falls
Cataract SRA
Bridge over Mill Creek Bridge over Mill Creek
Cataract SRA
Bridge Interior Bridge Interior
Oooh, scary
Window view Window view
Upper Falls seen from window in covered bridge -- with T.J.
Mill Creek Mill Creek
Between Upper and Lower Falls, seen from North bank
Close to the edge, round by the corner Close to the edge, round by the corner
Seasons will pass you by
I guess we'll take this way I guess we'll take this way
Maybe we'll find Grandma's house
I'm leaning in that direction I'm leaning in that direction
It takes barns a long time to fall down.
Civilization, or what passes for it Civilization, or what passes for it
Cataract General Store, with Scouts
You bet your ass You bet your ass
Cataract, IN


Happy Birthday, Phred!

I can never remember the exact date -- in contrast to Phred himself, who is ever-punctual and really good with cards for all occasions -- but sometime here in March, my buddy Phred is due to enter his own personal Cretaceous Period.