The original plan was to do the American Heritage Trail in Brown County, but Trail HQ, who administers that trail, isn't open yet. So, we bumped up Nebo Ridge (way out in the National Forest) to this weekend. The weather has been really lousy, and I decided that trying to pull off Nebo Ridge would mean that we would be hiking in crunchy snow and/or mud for ten miles, so we pulled this route out of the old rucksack. It was the same route we did last summer for our Night Hike; of course, none of these Scouts were on that hike, so it was new for them.
Jeffrey was the hike leader. Michael was the Mapigator. Jackson was wearing his duct-taped shoes. Allen was my co-advisor. Five guys, ready for anything.
It was a warm, windy day. The temperature was in the mid-fifties. Snow stood in heaps and drifts, but was melting fast. We got an early start (8:15 a.m.), heading off from the church, over the hill past the schools (High School, Junior High, Intermediate, Primary) and down Reeves Rd. toward the County line. There was a very stiff breeze blowing across the flat lands toward us when we crested the hill upon which the schools stand. The wind blew all day, though when we had trees or a hillside to shelter us, the day was actually quite pleasant.
We saw quite a bit of wildlife, mostly birds: crows, a whole flock of wild turkeys scuttling through someone's woods, a hawk out hunting, a couple of bluebirds on telephone wires, a large flock of sparrows or blackbirds or something swarming in a field. Then there was the roadkill: two skunks and a raccoon.
Everywhere we looked, water was melting and draining out of fields, down the ditches, pouring through culverts. We ate lunch at Flatwoods Park. The wind blew so fiercely that it actually moved Michael's backpack across the picnic table. As we headed for home, we noticed that the meltwater seemed to be accelerating. There'll be a lot of wet basements in Ellettsville this weekend. One of them will undoubtedly be mine.
We arrived back at the church in a mere five and a quarter hours. Other than being footsore and wind-burnt, I'm feeling fine, though I wonder how I could have gotten so out of shape. It's only been five weeks since our last hike!
This is Jackson's last hike for Hiking Merit Badge, which requires five ten-milers and one twenty-mile hike. He is the third of our group to finish the MB. Ah, we few, we happy few, we band of brothers. We have snacks to eat ye wot not of. Look on our blisters, ye mighty, and despair.
Click on a pic to enlarge.