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It has been weeks since we’ve had any measurable rainfall here in Indiana, so the one day that we had a pretty good shot at getting some rain, what did we decide to do? Go hiking! Why? Because anyone who knows anything about weather knows that if you want it to rain, you pretend like it isn’t going to. Hang that laundry on the line, plan a picnic, and go on a hike, ’cause then, it’s guaranteed to downpour.

In all fairness, we’d seen rain promised dozens of times and it never delivered, even when we tempted Mother Nature with our outdoor plans. All the dark, rolling clouds, full of rain seemed to blow north of us, leaving our little farm parched and disappointed. So, when we had one of Jack’s sisters and family come into town for the long Labor Day weekend, we planned on showing them some of the beauty of Indiana by hiking at Turkey Run, which is one of our favorite state parks.
Evelyn doesn’t love suspension bridges, but she made it!

Despite our assumption that the weather forecaster was wrong, imagine our surprise when they actually guessed right! It had rained heavily on our drive to the park but had mostly stopped by the time we arrived, so we decided to go for it. We aren’t the kind of fair weather hikers that are scared away by a little mud and mist. The park was unsurprisingly busy for a Saturday, so we packed everyone up with their supplies and made it to the trails as quickly as we could to get away from the crowds.


Right before the trailhead is Sugar Creek, a pretty, shallow, meandering waterway that is passable by a suspension bridge. All the kids ran up and were across it in seconds, except for Evelyn, who hung back and took her time. I remember the same paralyzing fear as a child whenever I was on anything high and wobbly, but I’m a big proponent of a person facing their fears. So, we coaxed her across, only occasionally wobbling the bridge to tease her. It was all in good fun and she finished the bridge with a smile and a mental pat on her back. She can do hard things.


Compared to some of the other trails we’ve taken, this particular one started out fairly tame. It was lined with crushed limestone and the water in the nearby creek was only a small trickle. The view through the rock overhangs was quite beautiful and it felt more like a walk than a hike. Then, we made it to a turning point–there had been enough rain that the trail was running with a small waterfall.


Again, it would have been perfectly acceptable to turn around and call it a day, but where would be the adventure in that? Jack went first to make sure we weren’t walking to our death and when he came back and gave us the go-ahead, everyone who didn’t want squishy wet shoes kicked them off, tied the laces together to hang over their necks, and followed each other one by one up the trail-turned-waterfall.

No one would have faulted us for wanting to avoid squishy shoes and wet pants with eleven kids between us, but look at what we would have missed! The view kept getting more and more incredible and there’s something primal about hiking without shoes. I might as well have released the kids into the wild–they were totally digging the whole experience.
Shout out to this girl! She hikes like a pro, never complains, and looks fabulous the whole time!
The ravine was brief, but the way the kids got excited about it, they might as well have conquered The Grand Canyon! There wasn’t anything they couldn’t do! Nothing! Okay, so there were a couple grumblers who wanted to turn back, but in all fairness, they didn’t want to hike in the first place, rain or no. The turning point? For Evelyn, it’s when she took off her boots and joined everyone else in walking barefoot. Then, hiking was fun.

We let the kids look around an area aptly named the punchbowl, which was basically where a small waterfall collected into a shallow pool. They splashed around, Peter found one particularly deep hole and slipped up to his armpits, and when everyone’s feet were wrinkled from soaking up water and there were a few muddy backsides, we decided to keep moving.


About another half a mile in, the trail had moved away from most of the water, but that didn’t mean we weren’t getting wet. The rain that was supposed to be short-lived and spotty showed up again and despite the forest canopy, we were getting soaked. We broke out the ponchos and umbrellas and since we were already at the halfway point, we kept moving.

About five minutes into the rainfall, we were all pretty well soaked. Then, understandably, the real complaining began. It wasn’t particularly cold, but when wet, it doesn’t take long to feel chilly. So then we really had to keep moving. Of everyone, I was probably the best equipt with body fat to stay warm, so I personally didn’t mind being outside and as far as kids went, Adam was a happy camper. He’s my new hiking buddy now that Peter’s decided to grow up and be a big boy who walks most of the way. While Peter was keeping up with Jack at the front, Adam was in our trusty baby carrier, snuggled in warm jammies and under his own personal rain canopy. I must say he had a sweet setup. I wish someone would carry me in my very own Cadillac backpack.

For most of the hike, Adam slept so soundly I didn’t hear a peep out of him for miles on end, but when he was awake, he was all smiles. Like, huge, cooing, drooling smiles. Sort of the antithesis of some of the other kids. It was a pretty even split between the kids who thought the hike was an incredible adventure and the rest who thought it was some sort of cruel torture. Kate had a particularly hard time and serenaded us with soft weeping because she was done. Not that I could really blame her. She didn’t pack a poncho or enough chocolate to see herself through the drudgery.

Who loves hiking? This guy!
As with all adventures and adversity, it eventually came to an end. We made it back to the suspension bridge in one piece–soaked and tired, but otherwise no worse for wear. The kids practically sprinted back to the car and after shedding their wet clothes and consuming every last snack and bottle of water we’d packed, they all promptly fell asleep on the car ride home. It definitely wasn’t an easy hike but it was certainly a memorable one, and a very poignant reminder that we can all do hard things.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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