We got a lot of rain on our spring break trip, washing out our plans to explore the vast network of trails in Brown County, Indiana.
Luckily the roads near our more-remote-than-expected cabin provided their own trail-like experience, from the variable surface texture (gravel-studded mud to astonishingly eroded asphalt that required a fair amount of zig-zagging) to the meandering twists and turns that made it impossible to see what lie ahead until you got there.
A swamp full of thunderous bullfrogs? Check. A herd of horses wandering through a picturesque valley? Check. A local potter’s studio, whose work, when we later track it down in a Nashville shop, turned out to be our favorite? Check.
Even our driveway – nearly a quarter-mile up a wooded hillside that activated my old nightmare about tumbling backward down a steep grade in an underpowered car – offered workout opportunities.
One chilly, rainy morning I decided to run intervals up the driveway with a recovery downhill walk. Trouble was, I got snarled in one of those self-defeating conundrums where I wanted to avoid getting my only sweatshirt soaked (there were no laundry facilities) yet didn’t want to be overly exposed to the elements, either.
Colleen finally broke through my mental paralysis with the (now obvious) suggestion that I run down the hill to my starting point. That was enough to warm me up despite wearing only a T-shirt and shorts, and from then on, any time I got too cold on my recovery walk down, I just jogged a bit.
Eventually the rain slowed to a drizzle, so I took a break from the hill to explore a rustic road heading off from a nearby bridge where the day before we’d spent a full half hour surveying our surroundings with once having to scoot over to make way for a passing vehicle.
A few loping twists and turns later I wound up at an access site to the NEBO Ridge Trail, a horse and mountain-bike trail winding 8 miles through the Hoosier National Forest. (Runners and hikers aren’t unwelcome, but it’s only the first two types of users who must carry a permit; all of the above are advised to wear bright colors to help hunters distinguish them from the deer.)
The trail was too flooded to investigate on this trip, but I have a feeling we’ll be back.