Hickory Ridge tower college party; May 7 Sierra Club hike with Andy Mahler

The retired side of my semi-retired life reascends Thursday afternoon, after I present my semester recap / class farewell talk, the very last in Ernie Pyle Hall on the IU campus. I've spent parts of 25 years learning, guest speaking and teaching in that building. It'll be a bittersweet moment, that's for certain.

So, with my workload already fading -- from here on I'm just critiquing student websites and short videos -- I am at long last turning the bulk of my attention back to my nature work.

Since I began shooting video in January, I've harbored repressed visions of videotaping a sunset over the Hoosier horizon from the Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower. On Saturday night, I headed southeast from Bloomington to release them. Plan B was to capture some late evening light on the Martin Hollow Trail, which tracks west just below the tower.

While considering the excursion in the afternoon, I had predicted, in writing, that the tower would be crowded on a shimmering clear Saturday evening in late April. The cars lining Tower Ridge Road at the Grubb Ridge Trailhead two miles from the tower confirmed that Plan B would be executed.

When I parked on the road at Hickory, I realized I was entering a college party. Not in the sense of drunken students getting it on or puking in the parking lot: in the Starbucks in the student union sense -- voices escalating, one over the next; one guy in the tower imploring another on the ground to "come on up"; two girls in black tights staring at a cell in the parking lot saying, "Ooh, I like this one"; a couple carrying packets of firewood onto the Terrill Ridge Trail in shorts and sandals; two girls mugging for me out the tower cage, some 100 feet above the Martin trail.

Don't get me wrong. I know college kids, and I'll take those who like watching the sun set over the forest any day. But I didn't foresee joining them for a 15-minute video session in a steel cage 123 steps above the ridge top.

Instead I followed the sun briefly along the Martin and Terrill trails. Here's a Photo Album.

As I crossed the Ind. 446 Causeway, a blazing red sun set over Monroe Lake. I may go back tonight.

Sierra hike with Andy Mahler

Summer also means organizing and leading hikes, beginning with a Sierra Club outing featuring special guest Andy Mahler from Heartwood on May 7. We will hike through the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest and Young's Creek sections of the Hoosier National Forest in Orange County.

At 88 acres, Pioneer Mothers is the second-largest stand of virgin timber in Indiana. (The largest, Wesselman Woods, is inside the Evansville city limits.) Andy owns property that abuts Young's Creek in Orange County just south of Paoli and knows the territory intimately. 

Sierra Club hikes are free and open to the public. More details next week.

Follow Us

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Flickr icon
Pinterest icon
RSS icon

Copyright 2013. Site created by Ansette, LLC.   Back to Top

Back to Top