Right now I’m dreaming of running and hiking at Cultus Lake in two weekends; we are tent-camping to celebrate our 10th anniversary, and then just over two weeks later we are gearing up for Ireland and guests (my mom will be traveling with us, and my husband’s mom will be at our place to babysit our cats while having a good time in Vancouver!). I just heard that one of my nieces and her boyfriend may be able to go as well, which is awesome.

But I have another dream too, and that is visiting Turkey Run (which got its name from wild turkeys running in the area) next summer with family. Turkey Run is near my mom’s place in west-central Indiana. It is a state park that I have visited for decades. I remember when very young, our parents would take us there. They fit us into baby backpacks when we were super young, though I only remember clearly my brother Willy being hoisted into Dad’s backpack. Not too long ago, my great niece ventured out with us too, hoisted onto her dad’s back. Located amid the flat cornfields of Indiana, the park has beautiful rock formations, forests, creeks, and some elevation. There’s also a suspension bridge, which used to scare me but, as I grew older, found it fun to jump up and down on. Most of my family is in the Midwest, but a daughter and niece are also in California. The others are kind of on a line that goes from Chicago to Lafayette to Crawfordsville to Louisville. I could forward that line to Chattanooga as well, where my cousins live.

Turkey Run’s Interpretive Plan (PDF) has a lot of information about the bedrock and sandstone, ecology, and geologic formation of the area. Interestingly, since the area was formed by glaciers, there is a very old Canadian rock influence, including granite, gneiss, and basalt. Turkey Run has a unique cultural and geological history, but of course, to me, it has a sentimental history as I’ve hiked in the park all my life.

Sugar Creek, which snakes through Turkey Run
Dad, brother Willy, me (in back), sis Elaine in front, and brother John

A typical visit to Turkey Run would be on a weekend. We would pack a picnic lunch and eat at one of the picnic tables, or for bigger groups in a shelter. Afterward, we would go on hike. Trail 3 was our favorite because it was the most rugged–through part of it we would have to hike through a stream that also went through a gorge, where we would have to put feet on both sides of canyon walls to get to the other side–from there we’d finally end up in Fall’s Canyon, which had a waterfall, which we would always stand under to cool off in those hot, humid Indiana summers. After a long hike, we would snack and play Frisbee or toss a football around.

Canyon we would typically walk up with feet on either side – © Chris Light at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16993067
Suspension bridge over Sugar Creek – © Daniel Schwen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4010522

Trail 3 (only 1.7 miles), marked on maps as “very rugged,” would also go up stairs and a couple ladders. Other trails would lead to such interesting rock formations as the punch bowl, boar’s hollow, rocky hollow, camel’s back, boulder canyon, goose rock, and others. There are several gulches and historical houses in the park, along with a lodge and camp cabins, a pool, a horse riding area, hollows, a covered bridge, and Sugar Creek running through it all (a nice rafting, canoeing, and tubing river).

Heading across the suspension bridge into the trails
Beautiful canyon walls – © MrGreenBean Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22450874
Ladders on trail 3 – © MrGreenBean, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22450863

A tradition was born many moons ago, something which Dad started. I’m not sure where he got this “call,” but I remember at one point he said it would be handy if we got separated in the woods. The call was a very loud “Whoop-whop!” Of course, we pretended embarrassment to be associated with such a silly guy–but he was goofy, and so were we, so we adopted the call as well, simultaneously yelling while also being somewhat red-faced. The whoop-whop was such a tradition that when Dad died, we all did the yell as we were leaving the mausoleum where he was buried. The undertaker gave us a strange look, but little did he know if Dad would have been watching from above, he would have been extremely proud and happy we did such a goofy thing at his funeral.

Last summer, when I had guests come up and we were hiking around Sasamat Lake, we did the call too. I won’t post the video, for fear of people not wanting to be “put on the Internet,” but here is an audio file of this call.

Of course, what I really want to do, which I haven’t before, is run as much of trail 3 as possible and venture off into the other trails too, which lead to interesting places! I am getting so excited just thinking about it. I dreamt more of it on a 3-mile trail (and then a run home from Mundy Park) after work yesterday, when the light was slowly dying…though it is not totally dark here now until 10:00 or later in the evening. When I ran again early evening at Mundy Park yesterday, it was a sweet time…I knew I had to run home too so only went down the Austin Path for a while, and back up the Community Path to Mariner and Chilko. I recalled the last time Morgan and I ran there after work, it was earlier in the year and getting dark. We could hear a lot of bullfrogs near one of the ponds (Lost Lake); it reminded me of being down South.

Anyway, here’s to Turkey Run dreams becoming reality!

One Comment

  1. Christine Wagner

    I wasn’t going to leave another comment, but I live in Indiana. I’ve looked and read parts of your website for a year now, and all the sudden, out of nowhere, I’m writing. I’ve been to Turkey Run and many of the other state parks in Indiana. Southern Indiana, especially, is an unlikely landscape. Being from Ohio, I always thought Indiana was flat. Nope. It has incredible bluffs and big boulders, ravines and hills growing into mountains. Ah…I do love Indiana.

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