As my friend Greg and I hid high atop the ravine that snaked its way through Turkey Run State Park, unsuspecting explorers were working their way across slippery rocks and running water. It was Sunday morning and we were waiting for the church crowd to arrive so that we could scare them into thinking that there were wild animals on the loose, stalking their every move. Once we spied some city slickers, we were prepared to let out whoops and howls that would curdle the blood of anyone within earshot. Our time sitting among the outcropping of ferns and other plants had finally paid off. To our left came a group of what we referred to as elderly ladies, adorned in frilly dresses and high heeled shoes, walking through the water. Now that I have nearly reached age 58, I would probably think that those women were more likely in their 50s instead of well past 80.
Neither Greg nor I were really trying to imitate any particular animal. In fact, we were trying to create some sounds that had never been heard by human ears before. In between our snorts, growls and screeches, we could hear voices below trying to figure out just what kind of animal was attempting to have them for dinner. To this day, I can’t figure out why anyone would stomp through the wilderness wearing shoes that were only meant for church or a night out dancing. When I was much younger, I more resembled a wild man (Tarzan) running through the woods. Sometimes I would have nothing more on that a pair of ratty tennis shoes and a pair of skimpy shorts as I gracefully hopped from one stone to another to keep from falling into the ice cold, spring-fed water.I had become rather skilled at swinging across small ravines by way of a wild grapevine that was clinging to the canopy of the trees overhead. Once I even decided to imitate Batman and Robin as they used their bat rope to scale a tall building. I searched for the perfectly formed vine that appeared to be sturdily attached to its host tree. Once I had found it, I firmly grabbed the vine with both hands and began to climb, hand over hand, up the side of the tree. After reaching somewhere around 10 feet in the air, mysteriously the vine gave way and I was sent tumbling downward, eventually crashing into the hard ground below. Pulling myself up and brushing off the dirt and debris, I gave a quick look as if to say, “I planned on doing that.”Another day found Greg and me again hitting one of Indiana’s beautiful state parks. Spring Mill is located near the town of Mitchell, several miles south of Indianapolis. This southern park offers many unique adventures for both the young and old alike. Several caves dot the landscape, along with a rebuilt pioneer village that is located on a spring-fed creek that also powers a gristmill. Exploring caves was the main reason that we had come to the park. Nowadays many of the caves are blocked off due to the stupidity of some visitors who found themselves trapped underground because of a sudden rise in the water level. But, back in the 70s, anything that was a hole and led to the underworld, was fair game for young spelunkers (cave crawlers) like us.