That is to say, as soon as I entered Fall Creek Falls State Park yesterday I was without phone and internet service until I left again this morning. And while the day was a bit warmer in the morning, it was also grey and drizzly. As a matter of fact, I woke up in the night feeling that it had warmed up (my face no longer stung from the cold) and shortly thereafter I heard that telltale pitter patter as raindrops struck the nylon fly of the tent. Before I panicked about packing up a wet tent, I reminded myself of the story I had read just that morning about a Chinese farmer, the moral of which being that you never know when something is going to be a blessing or a curse. It is a fact and you should wait to see what happens. So, I thought, trying to get comfortable on my sleeping pad, I will wait to see what happens. Sure enough, the rain stopped before dawn and the tent dried out before I had to pack it.
The next day remained grey and threatened rain, but it cleared up by nightfall and proceeded to get cold and windy. I could hear the hickory nuts dropping around me (and on the car and tent) like miniature bombs. I was fortunate enough, though, not to be hit directly.
So, yesterday, I hiked a new trail at the park that ambled through the woods before following the shores of a lake. It was named after a Civil War artist named Gilbert Gaul, who had lived in the area. Despite the grey, the 4-plus miles was a lovely walk. It reminded me (minus the hemlocks) of walks I used to take in the woods behind Briarpatch, our former home in Pike County. The highlight of that hike was the feather I found. I’m pretty sure it belongs to a Red-tail Hawk, but I could be wrong. Either way, it made me happy.
Today, I drove to Old Stone Fort State Park and hiked the self-guided trail around what was once a Native American fort between the forks of the Little Duck and Duck Rivers. The fort was used ceremonially as well as for protection. And, in the afternoon, I opted for an old paved trail that traversed a meadow alongside the Duck River. The picture makes it look like it was a beautiful day but it was actually cold and windy—I was wearing a silk long john shirt, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a pile pullover AND a raincoat. Did I say that I get cold easily? There’s a reason I live in a warm place.
Speaking of which, I may be sleeping in my car tonight. It’s supposed to drop into the 30s again and while I can stay warm in my sleeping bag, my Raynaud’s makes my fingers useless once I’m out in the open. I barely got the tent packed away this morning. Definitely something I am seriously considering . . .