Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turkey Run State Park

On our trip both to and from this park we followed again some of the markers to the covered bridges of Parke County. We can now say that we have seen at least half of the 31 bridges. Below is a picture of the West Union Bridge, longest of the double-span bridges. It was built in 1876.
On our way to Turkey Run Park we drove by many Amish farms. At one of their farms we were intrigued by the laundry hanging high from a barn. We figured that pulleys were used to get the clothes to that height.
Many years ago John and I camped with our children at Turkey Run Park. All we remembered were the awesome rugged hiking trails through deep canyons and along Sugar Creek. Yesterday we again headed out over those trails. It was quite warm, but we figured that the majestic old-growth trees and deep canyon walls would keep us cool and protected from the sun. However, we did not figure on it being so muggy! And somehow we, as usual, ignored the park service warnings that one particular trail was "very rugged". We had to do some rock scrambling on that trail and, once we were at the top of a ridge, was surprised to see where the next part of that trail took us. I was at first hesitant to go down those ladders, but they turned out not to be as treacherous as they looked. That area is called "Bear Hollow" You may notice water on the floor of the canyon. While hiking we did have to slough through some very muddy areas!
 During our hike we noticed that some trees had large holes pecked out of them, and those holes were located at the lower end of the trees. At the nature center later we learned that many different woodpeckers can be found in the area (at the bird feeding area of the center we saw a red-headed and a hairy woodpecker). Pileated woodpeckers are also in the park and are reputed to excavate long rectangular as well as oval holes in trees. Maybe that explains the large holes we saw.  We were exhausted, sweaty and hot at the end of our hiking, but it felt good to know that we still are in shape to tackle the most difficult of trails! Turkey Run is a beautiful park and it was worth the effort to see as much as we could of its many natural wonders. By the way, Turkey Run was so named because many turkeys use to gather in the canyon bottoms or "runs" to keep warm. We never saw one wild turkey while in the area. Maybe it is not the right season.

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