Living With Limitations:

It Was Only Natural

 Hiking

Many moons ago, when I first moved to Indiana, it wasn’t long before I began hiking the woods along bluffs of the Blue River. At that time I was interested in the views and simply walking beneath the trees. Then I purchased a home about five miles from the old farmhouse I rented, still within walking distance of those Blue River bluffs. I began my nursery which had a strong element of shade loving native wildflowers and found that the more my nursery grew the less time I had to hike. Finally, the nursery grew until it was years before I would return to my hikes.

 

Yellow hellebore bud opening. First of the winter blooms

Visitors

All during the years of visitors to my nursery I would hear of the wonders of natural trails to hike in Indiana, the drifts of native flora, breathtaking vistas of stone and water. Every time I heard of these natural wonders I made mental notes to be sure and take the time to visit. Which I never did. I was always too busy growing woodland plants in my garden, talking about them, taking photos and lecturing. I made many promises to myself, and to fellow gardeners, for over twenty years. There may be a lesson about procrastination in there someplace, for I waited to resume hiking until I had health limitations on walking.

 

 

Friend

Having said that, in the dead of winter a fellow gardening friend and I found ourselves hiking a trail at Ouabache Trails Park in Vincennes, IN. While the hike was in mostly along level paths, walking became tiring for me, but at the same time, inspiring and fulfilling for my soul. All my favorites were there; a small stream meandering long sandstone cliffs that were carpeted in a quilt of soft brown fallen foliage, ferns of several species along with mosses. We were the only two humans and quiet was only broken by alternating calls of  “Look over here”.

 

Rob had hiked most of the Indiana nature preserves but wanted to return, I had not been to almost any of them, so a pact formed while we drove away and warmed up. We would return to Ouabache for another hike in spring, make a list of past hikes he had made, while I would get my mental list down on paper, and perhaps do some internet searching. We could then compare and combine notes for an agenda. Come spring and woodland wildflower time we would both be found hiking a trail in Indiana.

 

Hiking Trail at Ouabache Trails Park near Vincennes, IN

Indiana State Parks

Some of the locations that came to mind as we talked was Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, IN., McCormick’s Creek State Park in Spencer, IN, Hemlock Cliffs in English, IN, and Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, IN, to mention just a few. As I begin to think of names of parks the list seems to grow in my mind. I am sure that if I still had a very long life to live I could not see all of the parks available.

 

Christmas fern on mossy rock at edge of stream.

Promises Fulfilled

In returning to hiking I will be keeping a couple of promises to myself. As my garden shrinks and the time I can spend active in the garden becomes less, I will have more time to spend with gardening friends. I have been so fortunate over the years to be blessed with fellow gardeners who I always enjoy seeing again, spending time with.

The place I feel most comfortable in this world is the woods, especially a woodland of my childhood where I played along small streams beneath towering cliffs covered by ferns and mosses. Paths to explore that were formed by nature, wandering and wondering between huge boulders.

What more could one want than combining the two?

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