Reflections on the Grubb Ridge Trail

After a dismal gray week spent poring over dismal data on Indiana State Forest logging, I was more than primed for a quick trek to a wildlife pond in the Deam Wilderness when the first blade of sun pierced Saturday afternoon's cloud cover. I had just finished a first-draft story on the cheerless numbers and cleaned the camera gear when I set sight on a secluded parking spot near the Grubb Ridge Trail that cuts a mile or so off the hike from the nearest trailhead.

This portion of Grubb is a multi-use path just west of the Blackwell Horse Camp and, after a week of rain, I knew it would be a slog in places. And since such conditions are not conducive to shooting close ups of the wood sorrels, two-flowered Cynthias, fleabanes and fungi that occasionally spot the trailside edge, knees and elbows weren't on the program.

Wildlife pond reflections topped the photographic agenda, closely followed by more practice audio recording the natural sounds that serenade every wilderness hiker through the Deam. This one involved a directional mic to eliminate my heavy breathing and increasing the audio levels to capture stronger avian sounds from the canopy.

The photographic results are posted on a Photo Album from the day. The audio -- if all went well -- will be paired with a slide show on the Natural Bloomington YouTube Channel soon.

On the way back I passed two backpackers straddling and slipping along the trail muck headed for an overnighter at Patton Cave, where I camped a couple times in the early 1970s. The cave straddles a fault that shifted ages ago, allowing water from a sinkhole on the ridge top to erode the limestone and form a cave. Geodes rather than stalagmites protrude from its walls.

Patton Cave isn't marked on the Deam trail map, but after a brief chat, they told me where it is. I passed the trail spur in April and wondered where it went. Now I know.

Photographs: Charles C. Deam Wilderness, Grubb Ridge Trail; Left, wood sorrell; Bottom, Star of Bethlehem. 


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