Trail #2 in Cifty Falls State Park is one of the most rugged trails in Indiana, suitable for a harsh winter experience even without snow. It begins with a steep descent into the canyon.
There we follow the creek, switching sides when needed. Occasional obstacles can easily be overcome.
The canyon walls make it clear that we have little choice otherwise.
What is a path anyway? Isn’t it just our choice of walking?
Frozen time passes, too, and makes us hasten forward.
Increasingly, the path becomes an illusion.
Well, it said very rugged in the park brochure. We have been warned.
While there might be no path, still there is a way.
What more could we have wished for?
Let’s continue the delightful examination of the green-white-black pre-Fall landscape of Indiana.
Once in a while it overcomes me and I want to be able to look around. Unfortunately, most of the Midwest of the USA has no mountain peaks to climb, so one is pretty much limited to a horizontal, 2-dimensional perspective.
This gets worse in Clifty Falls State Park, where the main (and most exciting) option is down. At the bottom, one can only walk along the creek, and is reduced to a 1-dimensional perspective. There are traces from a still existing outside world, mostly in the form of large boulders.
We do not ask what’s underneath. And yes, there is life, if given time.
Thoughts about a way out seem preposterous. How dare we think about an up when there is only forward?
So, instead of the longed for outlook I had another look inward, reducing everything to the very next step. There are many ways rinse oneself.
When hiking the rugged trail at the bottom of Clifty Canyon, you are in the shade most of the day.
This might make you miss the little things on the way, like this offering of leaves on a ledge of the canyon wall.
Often, wood and rock combine to natural still lives.
Or rocks make shelter for the little people,
offer drawing tablets for future artists,
and resting grounds for the elderly.
Clifty Falls State Park in eastern Indiana, at the border to Ohio, features a large canyon with several waterfalls, about 20 meters tall.
This allows for views that are not very common elsewhere in Indiana. Usually, when your view is not blocked by trees, it is an endless plane and an endless sky, cut in half by a perfectly straight horizon. At Clifty Falls, you can look across, giving you back a sense of size.
Or, if you dare, you can look down.
It is somewhat ironic that the only reason lonely trees have a chance to grow this tall is the protection of the canyon they are trying to outgrow.