May 6 2015 – May 10 2015
I was asked by Jason to go camping with his family and their friends over Mother’s Day weekend in Indiana. His family goes on camping trips twice a year. Once in Spring and once in Fall. He also had a wedding invite the following weekend. When I asked him which one he would prefer me to come down for (because I only have so many vacation days) he wanted me to come down for the camping trip. So it was.
Since I have Thursday and Friday off each week I decided to go down to his place on Wednesday so we had some time together before going camping. I was going to get into Indianapolis around 11 at night. I had posted something on Facebook about the smells I was coming in contact with driving through the states and one of the technicians that works out there saw my post and he was going to be getting done with work around the same time I was getting in so invited me out to meet up for a drink. So of course Jason and I met up with him. Harry is this cool dude from Australia who used to be a police officer there for thirteen years before coming to the states to work on ATM’s and play a lot of golf. It was nice to visit with him. That dude has a lot of good stories!
Thursday Jason and I spent the day getting all the loose ends wrapped up for the camping trip. We had some food to buy and some other junk and planned to see the new Avengers movie. We get to the right theater on the second attempt and this movie theater in Castleton, Indiana was awesome! There were not just a few rows that had reclining theater seats but EVERY seat in the theater reclined! Now seeing people walking in with pillows and blankets makes sense. That movie was pretty good; as good as expected. I don’t know what all the nonsense feminism media was all about. After the movie we picked up some Qudoba and went back to Jason’s to finish folding laundry to get him all packed for the trip. (Of course he packed last minute, he is a man.)
Now some of you know I am not a big camper and I really really dislike bonfires (like my least favorite thing ever. If there was a national ban on bonfires I would be cool with that.) Usually when I go camping we have RV’s and a lot of dirt bikes and 4-wheeler’s. I like that type of rowdy camping. This was family camping and I was unsure of what was to go on and how they would handle me. I was told there was going to be bicycling and some sort of shrimp boil dinner thing…Well guess what people. This girl had a blast!
Jason’s brother Paul and his family were supposed to go down on Thursday with the parents but Poor Bronson, Jason’s three-year-old nephew, had gotten a fever Thursday and they waited until his fever broke to come down Friday just a little behind us. It turned out that poor Bronson did not get much better when in the heat of the outdoors that weekend and they ended up leaving Saturday while Jason and I were on our hike.
Clifty Falls is a park on top of a bunch of limestone with a bunch of shale on top of that just off of the Ohio River in Madison, Indiana. This place is huge; just over 1,500 acres if I remember correctly.
There were not as many people as I thought would be. I was expecting about thirty people in the group. There ended up being about ten or so maybe 16…
The first person I met was an eight-year-old named Baylee. She was on our tail the whole time. Granted we were the ones closest to her age ha! She was a really sweet girl who just wanted to have a good time camping and hang out with “that one guy who always comes alone.” She really was a sweetheart and I enjoyed taking her around with us because, let’s face it, I don’t have kids so I love other people’s children! I have my fun with them and give them back making me the cool person to that child! So after getting camp set up and our cars unloaded I told Jason we should go check out part of the trail that we were going to hike tomorrow to get a feel for what we were in store for on our hike. Baylee asked if she could come and I told her of course she could if she got permission…which she did. It was pretty neat. We walked down to the beginning of the path and saw the big cliff. On the path we saw a few spots people went off trail and down to the river (keeping notes for spots to do the same tomorrow.) Walking single file (for the most part) keeipng Jason in front because he likes to step on peoples feet and Baylee in the middle so I could make sure she didn’t fall (or if she did I was at least there to grab her) and we ended up at a tunnel cave. Baylee was very curious about this tunnel. There was a sign saying that the tunnels were closed due to white-nose syndrome causing devastation to bast in the northeast so we only peeked in a little bit. When in the cave you could see little drops of water forming on the limestone above us. It was so cool. Me being the smarty-pants I am took every opportunity to fill this child’s mind with all my knowledge and told her all about natural water filtering and purification. We literally were sucking on the cave ceiling to taste this water and it was yummy! There was a point during the walk we were getting a little nervous as to how long the trail was or where it would even lead so we started to think about turning back around. There was a point where there was an arrow to the left, an arrow to the right, and some path straight down. We looked at the map and had no clue what point we were at (because none of knew yet that the cave was actually the “tunnel” on the map.) Knowing that we were going to end up turning around and heading back to camp because of the time I had asked Jason if he could take three minutes and go down that path to see if he could tell if that was the twisted path down to the river. Three minutes Jason so hurry back. …five minutes, me and Baylee “Jason!” “Jaaaysoooon.” He isn’t saying anything. I’m getting worried. He was running down the cliff, maybe he fell…eight minutes…”Baylee hold my hand we have to go down that path to see if he fell or something.” Jason got a little slap on the hand and was politely reminded that if you leave a woman and child for longer than you were supposed to be gone for they start to worry…especially if you’re running down a freaking cliff in the middle of the woods! On the way back we were spotting Cardinals everywhere. They were in full effect bright red. Baylee mentioned she saw a wild turkey there earlier too. I think Jason and I were the only people that did not see a turkey lol because everyone at camp was talking about how huge they were. We got back to camp and Paul was cooking up some camp food for dinner and we ate. Brats, wings, Mrs Wigger’s famous potato salad, everything was delicious. Don and Amy, Paul’s friends, showed up during the time we went on the trail and were all set up when we were eating dinner. After dinner the kids (meaning us in our thirties) sat around the fire having some drinks and talking about nothing and everything. All was good.
We woke on Saturday, scarfed down some breakfast, and got ready for our hike. Jason filled the camelpak up with fresh water and I loaded my pack up with a couple extra bottles of water and some snacks and the cameras and the life saving MP3 player. On our hike we visited the “tunnel” first. Since we had more time without the child with us we explored the inside of the cave and we found a waterfall! It was so cool. We thought drop of water off the roof of the cave were good we got a waterfall of cave water! After the stop at the cave we went off the path and slid down the hundred foot cliff to the creek to make out hike up to Clifty Falls. Imagine sitting down on the ground in the leaves, dirt, bark, twigs, and whatever else is found on the forest floor and sliding on your hands and feet. It was so much fun! Then the real trek began. We had to travel about two miles walking through the creek, climbing over boulders, and walking through the woods to get to another spot to climb up to see the falls. It was hot as heck and we had a blast. Although the falls we intended to see were pitiful, it was still a great time. We were smart and made a lot of stops to sip some water up and we drank about a gallon of water between the two of us to keep hydrated and the only injuries were me getting a huge bruise on my leg from slipping on a boulder and Jason getting a little bit of heat rash on his back likely from wearing the backpack and just sweating. It was a 5 hour hike and we loved it. I don’t think too many people would have been able to make that hike without getting pissed off or screaming at each other to slow down or whatever but we talked before the hike about not having to say “please” and “thanks you’s” while hiking and just going plus having music playing the whole time made things a lot more peaceful. I never go anywhere without music. Since there was only one way in we had to hike the same way back which kinda sucked because we just did that lol.
We got back to camp just in time for the shrimp boil! We rushed to shower and get cleaned up before the big dinner. We heard the yells “shrimp” and “sausage” coming from the camp letting everyone know when to drop the food in. At each of the three sites they had big boiling pots filled with potatoes, shrimp, corn, and sausage all cooking for the big group dinner. The food was really good. It was nice to have a dinner where everyone in the group sat together and had a meal.
After dinner we hung around the campfire and some people played cards, others smoked cigars, and then we all listened to Mr. Wigger’s Golden Goblet story. This was a very nice group. I don’t remember the exact details of everyone’s relationships but a lot of the older adults had been friends for a very long time and some have been doing this camping trip for thirty years! That is a tradition if I have ever seen one. It is awesome to see that people can stay friends so long and still get together growing with their families and the tradition continuing along.
Sunday was time to pack up and head home. Jason and I were the last to leave (I think) and we went into Madison to have lunch before the drive home. I forget the name of the restaurant we went to but it was a little pizza joint in Madison, IN and was pretty good. As always it was sad to leave but I had to go home.
Since I drove from Indianapolis separately I got to drive along the Ohio River in Kentucky for about an hour. It was a beautiful drive on a gorgeous day.
I had a very good time and I can’t wait to go camping again with more time to spend next time! Who knew I would like good old fashioned camping!?!