Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Stanley Chronicles: Turkey Run 2017: Day 1; Magical Flames!!!!

Tuesday morning.  No electronics are allowed except for cameras and the cell phone for emergencies only.  We're going to focus on the trip, not texting or stupid video games. Generalized chaos as we begin our loading and final preparations.  Checking the weather shows about a 50% chance of thunderstorms for the Turkey Run area and 10% for local. 


It starts pouring.  The CinC is scrambling around trying to feed her critters and get them/MIL ready for us being gone for a few days. I start loading the van. A master at Tetris I am.  I fit it all with a few cubic inches to spare for the spawnlings to fit in.  Plenty of space.  They're young. They can bend/fold into the spots.  The CinC shoves a few extra items in I wasn't informed of (extra blanket and pillows), right on top of the 'dry goods', smooshing the bread and chips.

Finally get on the road about 11am.  The rain is light and everyone is in good spirits.  We take it pretty casual. With the rain, I'm not planning on getting a whole lot done this afternoon/evening outside of getting things set up.  Remember the saying about best laid plans though. A little after noon CST (1pm EST), we come to Rockville, IN, only about 20 min South of the campground.  We decide to stop at the Burger King for lunch.  We don't have one near us so it's kind of a fast food 'treat' for the kids. About 2 min. after we get our food, the power goes out.


The manager makes a few calls and sends all his staff home. He tells me there's no ETA on when it will be back up and when it goes out, it usually goes out quite a ways north, including the park. 

Well hell.  We finish our food and drive up there to see what's up.  We first pull into the 'Turkey Run Campground'.  Not the DNR site but a private campground.  The lady sitting in the dark gift shop nicely informs us we need to go another few miles down the road.  So we go. 

We pull into the actual DNR campground and the power is out there as well. We check in and get directions to our site.  As we pull near, I see there is a SUV parked there.  I get out and ask the folks in the next spot if it's theirs.  They state it is and move it for us. 

Parking the car, the weather is a light drizzle.  I get out and start checking out the site.  No standing water. OK Good. Mostly hard ground surrounding the parking pad but it got mooshy the farther out and towards the ravine edge.  Lots of trash around. 😠  Mostly beer bottle caps, what I assume are popped water balloons, and misc. garbage.  I call the spawn out of the car and we start picking up. Clearing up the trash and all the loose branches that have fallen.  One of my rules for hiking/camping is something my dad instilled in me.  Try and leave the place cleaner than when you arrived.

Since it was still drizzling, we decide to drive around a bit and find where things are and what's what. We find the 'modern' restroom/showers, camp store, etc.   When we get back, it has stopped raining and the decision is made to set up camp.  The unloading begins.

Thankfully, modern tents are near idiot proof as the one we got only came w/ a few vague pictures and no instructions.  There was some bumbling around as I figured out which poles went where but overall I didn't completely Stanley it.  Took about a half hour or so to get the tarp down, tent up, and weather cover attached.  I did, however, forget a hammer/mallet to get the stakes in.  A boot heel got all but one corner in w/o too much trouble then we started in on mats, sleeping bags, and luggage.

The kids decided to try and investigate the ravine behind the site.  It's soaked so they come back muddy and the girl covered in itch weed bumps. 5P managed to cut his finger open using a knife to open battery packs for the flashlights. More of our austere beginning.

Since it was still light, we jumped back into the car and drove over to the park proper to check out the Nature Center and horse stables. The stables were closed due to the weather and the Nature Center was just about to as we were nearing 5pm.  A maintenance guy told me though that the trails had been opened back up so we headed down the gravel walk.

It wasn't realized at the time but another Stanley moment just occurred. Since this was all improv, I had left my camera in the car and by the time I realized it, we were far enough away I didn't want to send any of the 'powers back to get it.  Why this turned out to be a 'Stanley' will become clear in the next post.

We go down the '70 steps' to the Suspension bridge and begin to cross.  4PB it is discovered, does NOT like walkways that sway back and forth. Of course I had to rock it a bit more after that. On the other side, we take the path underneath the bridge and most appreciate how pretty the erosion has made the rocks.  A nest made out of mud is attached to the overhang.  (The next day we ask one of the staff at the Nature center and  find it is from a 'Cliff Swallow').  This path leads towards the 'Coal Mine' and is much rougher than the footwear we have on would be appropriate for so we turn and head up the beginning of trail 3 (also 'Very Rugged' but we didn't know that at the time).  Hiking down the creek bed, the kids are amazed at 'Wedge Rock' and we all think 'Rocky Hollow' and the 'Punch Bowl' are beautiful.  We also continue to pick up trash along the way. Since it's getting dark, we turn around to head back and decide this will be the first part of the hike we take tomorrow.  This time remembering the camera.   

Back at the campsite, burgers on the grill are in order for supper.  I forgot the spatula, catsup, and mustard.  All are sitting on the counter at home.  I send some of the spawn to the camp store to pick some up at gouge prices along w/ some bundles of wood ($6 a pop fyi).  IN has some very strict laws on bringing wood in.  The frozen burgers cook up a lot better than expected and some sourcream/onion chips w/ soda and gatorade make it a nice meal.  Now it's time for a fire and marshmellows. The fire took a bit to take since it was so humid but eventually it lit up and many marshmellows were eaten or fell into the pit.

Now 4PB had gotten an obsession w/ this packet of stuff called 'Magical Flames' that she and her mother had picked up at the store.  Calling out w/ full drama every time she held the package "MAGICAL FLAMES!!!!" as only an early teen girl can do. So of course we had to use the stuff.  It was pretty neat. Greens, blues, and the occasional lavender lasted for quite a while.

Sitting around the fire, the kids want more and more stories from me.  I tell them about various trips I took as a kid and the goods and bads that went along w/ it. When the fire died down, probably sometime after 11pm, I call it's time for bed.  The foodstuffs are locked away in the van and we all settle into our various spots in the tent.  Throughout the night, we hear racoon fights, some pretty close.  No surprise but they have their routine down pat to check each site for supper. 

Tomorrow is a full day and the weather is 'supposed' to be nice. 

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