____________ May 24, 2016 ___________

Adventure Post: Day 2

(or, Greetings from… er… CRAWFORSDSVILLE, s’more!!!!)
(or, *******SNAKE!!*******)
(or, Madcap Adventures of the Michigan Mud-hoppers)
(or, On being Forty-three.  Forty-two.  Whatever.  OLD.)

MUCH better day, on Monday!  Tiring, exhausting, insanely intense but breathtakingly beautiful day.  We did about seven miles of hiking, total.  And when we use the word ‘hiking’ in this instance?  We mean “rugged” hiking.  (<< The DNR’s words, not mine.)  Translated to Anna-ese, that would be EXTREME, seriously whacked hiking down the middle of steep ravines slippery with broken shale and slick mud and slimy trees and then straight up the cliff sides with hundreds – literally HUNDREDS of endless stairs that were steep and tiny and even LADDERS!!!  We were climbing out of gorges on LADDERS!!!!

You should see the pictures.  You will see the pictures.  But not until I have time (and energy) to do something with them.  Because by the end of the hiking, it was pretty much my goal to fall onto the very, VERY soft bed in our hotel room and NOT. MOVE.  ANYMORE.  Brian was right there with me.  The kids didn’t wait for the beds, they dropped on the concrete sidewalk in front of the car, when we were done.  (!!!)  I got pictures of that, too.

But man, was I a hot mess, yesterday.  It’s the little yellow pills.  When I went to the derm’appt, she asked if I experienced the side effects.  I had no idea there were side effects.  She said they’re breast tenderness, elevated heart rate, and dryness in the mouth.  I didn’t think I had them, so I just shrugged it off.  There were a couple of instances of the tenderness ((<<<< BLUSHING!!! You’re a guy!!!)), but it was when I missed taking them, so I figured it was my fault, not the pill’s.  But compared to how I did last year hiking in Munising?  I couldn’t handle it as well, this year.  Horrible heart rate and panting, so hot my head was pounding, and you’d think tap dancing every week and swimming most of the year would’ve build UP my strength, no?  And dry…!  I’ve never been so parched in my life.  I put lotion on when we got to the car, because even my hands felt so dry… and it soaked in, instantly, and I wasn’t even tacky!  ((Wait, what?  No, stop that..! Not that kind of tacky!!))  Anyhow, I wasn’t doing any of that when we did seven miles, last year! OTOH, it was snowing when we did our seven miles, last year, and not in the mid-80s.

Regardless, I’m starting to think maybe the little yellow pills might not be so good.  I’m thinking of cutting down to half of what I’m doing, now.  I don’t LIKE dragging other people down.  And it was bad.  At home, I hydrate a lot, so I had no idea that I was ‘drier’ from the pills.  But now I’m wondering if maybe that’s why I never got to the point where I could swim laps without having to stop, between lengths?  I might’ve been having the heart rate thing and not knowing it was compounded by the pills?  That’s not good!  Anyhow, I may have to decide what’s worse – being strong and zitty, or pretty and partially incapacitated.  Should’ve known better – no pill comes without it’s own set of problems…!

Anyhow, we saw a LOT of giant millipedes – the size of the biggest earthworm you’ve ever seen.  They were HUGE and so kewl.  We saw two frogs, and then a SNAKE (everyone but Brian the Brave wigged out on that one, but I was brave and took it’s picture.  Be proud of me!  That – of course – was after I ran mid-air for eight feet, first.)  It would’ve been fine, not having met him.  Isaac found a geode – we weren’t supposed to do that until Lake Monroe, so now the others are just chomping at the bit to find geodes of their own, too.  All in good time – we need to enjoy where we are, no?  But it was probably the most intense and yet most fantastical place ever.

Oh, and I have to apologize – Crawfordsville is HUGE!  We hadn’t made it south, so we had NO idea, but it’s an enormous and beautiful city – home of Wabash College.  The buildings in this state are just phenomenally beautiful, too.  All of them!  Old and stately and ornate, and it thrills my soul.  Puts Michigan to shame, in that aspect of things.  And if there were a place in Indiana to settle?  It would be Crawfordsville.

We’re camped out, still, at the same hotel, because Shades State Park was A LOT.  I’d hoped to do a few of the trails at Turkey Run, but…. mmmmmmnnnno.  Tomorrow.  And they’re practically side-by-side, so we just stayed put, here.  I kind of thought we might have to.  This is the prettiest and most intense part of our entire trip – and the part you would’ve KILLED to have done, with us.  You really would’ve loved it.  The caverns are gorgeous, here, all dripping wet and mossy and overgrown with plants you would no doubt know the names of.

We started out loading up the cooler with drinks from a yokel-dokel gas station.  Millard at the front counter thought he’d be cute with me – when he heard we were going to Shades, he said, “Be sure to take trail three, if nothing else – it’s the best.”  What Millard didn’t know was that I’m not the dumb blonde that I look.  I’m armed with maps and did my research.  There is no trail three, sir.  😛  There are trails 1-9, but they skipped trail three.  I don’t know why, but I do know Millard didn’t sucker me!

We did do all of the trails except for nine, though (and three, obviously).  Some we cheated and combined, cutting out the long uneventful bits and slipping over to special features, like Steamboat Rock, Lover’s Leap, Silver Cascade Falls… things like that.  It was just beautiful, and the perfect day for it – bright sun, crazy breeze… but SHADES park lived up to its name, and we were sheltered in the shade with the breeze the whole time.  🙂

We brought in a picnic lunch and spent the whole day there – practically had the whole thing to ourselves!  (We didn’t run into more than a ranger until around 4pm!).  It was just us and the beauty of nature.  Where I like to be, best.

Brian sat down with me and did up an Excel spreadsheet, tonight, for the rest of the trip.  I was feeling a little worried about stuff – where and when and if we could fit it all in.  It looks okay… so that’s good.  And we had to do some serious laundry, tonight – after a while we just gave up trying NOT to fall in the creek or avoid the mud, and we became the Michigan Mud-hoppers.  🙂  But it made us very, VERY messy.  Brian was the prissy one (I didn’t say that out loud, okay?).  I just assured him that if it’s ‘no pain, no gain’, then it’s ‘no mud, no adventure’.  😛  I don’t think he believed me.

Okay.  I have to go.  We’re on the move, today – packing up the room, making more picnic fixings, and there’s a LOT more on the agenda to go…

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