The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Opinion

April 11, 2010

Greet spring with a nature hike

(Continued)

FOUNTAIN, Ind. —

Much of it could be hiked by anybody, but other parts involve some brisk climbing. The walkway takes you through the leafless woods and past an old building foundation made of large sandstone blocks. Surely, some pioneer family lived there, 150 years ago. A patch of daffodils is all that remains of Mother’s garden.

At the bottom of the hill is Bear Creek, a clear little stream that eventually winds its way over to Portland Arch, then on to the Wabash River. The South Trail has no 90-foot bluffs like its more famous sister, but the sandstone outcroppings remind you that this is a place that Mother Nature spent millions of years creating. They must laugh at the seasons, and at such temporary things as trees, houses and people.

The trail winds on, skirts a tributary stream, then brings a climb that quickly puts you on a plateau about 50 feet above the quiet forest floor.

After another 300 feet or so, it drops back down, then climbs again.

It’s not a strenuous march, but by the time I was back up on high ground, surrounded by big spruces and white pines, I was breathing a little faster. I kicked a tree trunk to knock the mud off my hiking boots.

Ten minutes after that, I was back at the parking lot.

The South Trail offers nothing stupendous, really. But it’s worth the drive if you just want to clear your head, hear birds sing, see the greening of the forest and listen to the gurgle of a little stream.

What a nice way to say “hello” to spring!

Danville native Kevin Cullen is a former Commercial-News reporter. Reach him at irishhiker@aol.com.

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