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Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Time Event
Cataract Ten-miler
Today was the very definition of a great hiking day. The morning was cool, the sky was crystal clear, the fall colors were astounding. John W. and I took three Scouts out for a ten-miler at Cataract State Recreation Area and environs. This was the third time I've led hikers around this route. It's one of my favorites, because it is a) quiet and pretty and b) mostly flat (you can make wicked time on it).

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 road
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!
Less 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.

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!

Dem Bones Dem Bones Resident of Cataract just hanging around the front yard
Morning Sun Morning Sun Cataract SRA
Lower Falls Lower Falls Scouts getting an up-close look
Ease on down the road Ease on down the road Beautiful Fall colors frame neat little farms
The Edge The Edge Owen-Putnam County line
Rocky Raccoon and friend Rocky Raccoon and friend Tyler didn't get enough for lunch
Grandma's House is that way Grandma's House is that way Let's get there before Red Riding Hood
Hay, there Hay, there Outstanding in their field
Milkweed Milkweed Cataract Rd.
Almost there Almost there Coming back into town
Barflies Barflies T.J., Patrick, Tyler hoisting a cold one at the Cataract General Store
I'm leaning that way I'm leaning that way Barn/garage in Cataract, Indiana

Not that I have a dog in this fight, but . . .
Yes, Mormonism is a cult*. No, Voting for a Mormon doesn't offend God.

* Or at least a heretical, screwed-up pastiche of Christianity.
Places to Go
This is from the Lincoln Camporee a few years ago, celebrating Nancy Hanks Lincoln, mother of Abraham Lincoln. She is buried in Southern Indiana where Lincoln grew up.

Just like home Just like home Porta-potties and porta-sinks, too

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