Today we went to Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. This is one of our favorite places to go, as it provides a nice contrast to the usual scenery of very flat cornfields. Turkey Run is a fascinating little chunk of Indiana that was carved out by receding glaciers during the last ice age. The climate there is normally only found much farther north. So, there are beautiful hemlock trees, and ferns, and all sorts of interesting things growing all over the sandstone canyons that you don't normally see in this part of the world.
I had several ideas for educational activities we could do along the way, and planned to bring a sketchbook, camera, etc. I ended up forgetting all of that and was a little disappointed that I missed an opportunity to make something more of our trip.
We sometimes hike for hours, but decided to take it easy today and just meandered up one of our favorite trails. Samuel made the first exciting find of the day, a lizard warming himself (herself?) in a little patch of sunlight filtering down through the trees. We then headed up Trail #3, into Bear Canyon and up the 3 ladders where we stopped to admire a little waterfall. A little farther and then- was that thunder? Yes, then came another distant rumble. We were now out of the canyon and in the woods where there was no shelter, so we picked up the pace! I carried Samuel piggyback part of the way because there were many steps and he had trouble keeping up. Finally, we made it down into another canyon where there were abundant overhanging areas should it start to pour. We managed to get down past the most slippery parts before the rain hit, and then we climbed up a hill and found a nice cozy ledge sheltered by a wide overhanging rim of sandstone. We were very thankful that we sought refuge when we did, because right after that, the lightning got a lot closer - once striking a tree across the canyon from us - and the rain became torrential. We were safe and dry however, and got to enjoy the show. Samuel was a little frightened the few times that the lighting struck very near us, but overall we were just in awe of nature. We had such a beautiful view from our perch, looking out across the canyon, watching the stream that flows through it swell, and listening to the symphony of rain splashing and spattering, wind rustling the trees, and crashing thunder. To pass the time, we prayed and talked and played. But mostly we watched and listened. And I realized that God had other plans for us today than taking pictures and drawing in notebooks. We didn't get photos for my blog or drawings for Grandma. Instead, we got an experience.