Monday, August 18, 2014

The Day We Almost Spent the Night in the Woods

Alternative Title: The Day I Almost Strangled My Husband.

"Let's go creek-hiking" he said.
"It'll be fun." he said. 
"We can't possibly get lost." he said. 

You the can take the man out of Tennessee but you can't take the Tennessee out of the man. 

Apparently creek-hiking is a thing in Tennessee.  As in you hike through a creek....yes, through the muddy, mucky waters with the snakes and the fish and the alligators. I guess there are no alligators in Indiana...except for the ones that were just seen in Indianapolis.  Hopefully they weren't on their way to visit their cousins up in Fort Wayne.

So...on Friday, we visited a local county park and went hiking.  It was a nice hike. Kinda a wimpy long trails, no getting lost, no big hills., no mountains to climb.  Just an easy 1 mile stroll through the woods. 

Except that the creek-hiking-loving husband spotted the creek...with lots of paths leading down to it.  As we hiked along, we noticed several paths along the way that lead down to creek.

So, when he suggested going back on Sunday to actually do some REAL creek-hiking, I agreed.  Because I figured we'd go through the creek a little ways and there would be lots of paths to get back up to the trail. .nice and easy.  Plus, the creek looked small...I didn't think it ever got past knee-high.  
Little did I know (insert maniacal laughter here)

So, just as we are arriving at the park, Greta announces that she has to go to the bathroom.   If Greta had not had to use the bathroom the entire course of our afternoon could have been altered.  However, she DID have to go, so instead of parking at the parking lot we were at on Friday, we drove down to the further parking lot...the one with the bathroom.

And, we decided to start hiking from there...and just find our way to the creek. This is a small county-park/nature preserve.  How hard could it be?  And it was super easy. We found a trail, we found our way to the creek and there were even STAIRS leading down. Stairs.  It was perfect.

We were confident that if we just started hiking down the creek there would be MULTIPLE paths leading back up to the trail.

At first it was fun.  The water was cooling. I had Elsa on my back in the Kozy. With a sense of high adventure, we made our way down the stream.

Then in certain parts the water got a bit deeper, up to waist high (or higher), and we had to hold John up.  Ben had to hold the wallet and cell phone up above his head to keep them from getting wet (because no way was I was going hiking without a cell phone...or my wallet).  But, it was fun and we kept hiking on.

Past the snake. 
Not the actual snake we saw.  Because I wasn't about to risk my camera getting wet in the creek.  And even if I had it, no way was I getting that close to a SNAKE.

Past the HUGE spiders.  And, when I mean HUGE, I mean HUGE, SCARY spiders. 

But, we valiantly soldiered on.  We weren't going to let a little thing like snakes or spiders stop us.

By and by we started to get tired and started to look for a path up the creek leading to the main trail.

So we looked....and looked...and looked.  We kept walking and walking and walking and walking and walking and walking getting more and more and more tired.  Because walking through a creek is NOT easy.  It is way, way, way, way harder than walking on land. 

But we soldiered on...just SURE that just around the NEXT bend would be a path. But the next bend came and went, and there was no path...and not at the next bend, nor the next one, nor the one after that. 

It was getting late.  We started creek-hiking shortly after 4 PM and it was now about 6:45 PM.

Finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally we came to a path that lead up the creek-bank.

It took some scrambling and some hand-holding but we all made it all the way up.  Even me, with Elsa on my back. 

That path lead to another path.

Not one we had ever seen before, but we took it anyway.

And, we walked, and walked and walked and walked...past a few smaller branch-offs, but we decided to stay on the main-looking path.  We pretty much had no idea where we were and the mosquitoes were awful..but we had no choice but to keep walking, hoping it led out of the park somehow. 

Until we came to a branch off and Ben was all "hey, this path leads down to the creek, we're exactly where we started.  We just went in a big circle."

Insert family-wide groans here.  No tears though. Amazingly enough no one cried.

So, we back-tracked.  We took a branch-off path, we followed the trail.

Then we heard the BEAUTIFUL sound of    Hooray!!

We came to a parking lot.

Except it wasn't the parking lot where we parked.  And, we weren't at the entrance we came in.

Somehow we ended up clear across the park at a totally different entrance.

There was nothing to do but keep we started walking down the road.  We didn't get very far, before Ben flagged down a guy in a red pick-up truck

I prayed, he wasn't an axe murderer.

Spoiler Alert:  He wasn't.

We asked him for directions and he gallantly offered to drive us to the other entrance of the park near our car.

So, we all piled into the cab of his pick-up truck.  I was nervous about the lack of car seats, but then walking another 4 miles to the van along narrow country roads didn't seem like too much fun either.  So, we risked it and hitchhiked a ride from a good Samaritan.   Thank you to the guy in the red pickup truck from N A Insulation.  If I ever need anything insulated, THAT is who I'm going to call.

Although come to think of it, I probably need to impress on my kids a bit more strongly, why it's generally a bad idea to take rides from strangers.

We were wet and tired and hungry...but we made it back to van.  Before it got dark even...I think it was about 7:30 by that point.

So, we didn't have to spend the night in the woods after all and I didn't have to strangle my husband (because if we had spent the night in the woods, there would have been some major strangling going on). 

All is well that ends well.

Now...the question we want to do it again next weekend?

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  1. I would TOTALLY love nature.. if it weren't for all the... natural stuff!!
    WHY OH WHY do things with less than 2 or more than 4 legs even need to be a thing?? YIKES!
    God Bless you for doing it though!
    (and if you go again, bring your phone w/ a GPS app!)

  2. I love hiking, but I would not love creek hiking. No, it does not sound fun to me! Glad you all found a helpful stranger and made it home safe!

  3. (N U Insulation.) We were never "lost" but the problem was that the further we went on, going back meant a long walk home, eventually so far that it would be dark. We thought going on offered better chances to find those trails.

    The problem was the park map and my wrong assumptions. The real creek was sort of a W-shape with both outer strokes going on a while whereas the creek map only showed the far right side of the W, which we had seen Friday. So when we arrived at the creek after a short hike in the woods, I struck north away from the car. Little did I know that our heading north (actually northwest, but I couldn't tell at the beginning) took us in totally the wrong direction from where we had been on Friday. We should have started going south back towards the car and then north up the far right of the W. It's my fault since I'm pretty sure that the direction we traveled on Friday was downstream and we were clearly heading upstream on Sunday. It took me too long to put two and two together. Sorry, Bentrup family!

    By the way, I hear they have a sponsored night hike in the woods this Friday - bat watching! Wanna come?

  4. I'm feeling exhausted just reading this! So glad that you got a ride back to the car!

  5. Oh my gosh this is too funny! When I was a kid, we went creek walking a lot. Just never for 2 hours. Haha. It does sound like you made great memories though and I bet the kids LOVED it. :)

  6. Ha ha!! Your story reminds me of the time Cory and I went canoeing on the Cocohatchee River and got hopelessly lost in alligator, shark, and manatee-infested waters at SUNSET. It was about the freakiest thing I've ever experienced! We ended up finding our way just before dark and getting towed in by a nice motor boat driver. It was scary. And now it makes a great story. Glad you guys made it back to your car before dark. Whew!!!

  7. Oh my! This sounds like a scaled back version of The Hobbit: snakes, spiders - not this city girl. No thank you! You already know my answer for next weekend!

  8. Hilarious, after the fact. Glad you didn't have to sleep out there,though!

  9. Snake! I can't believe the older kids didn't pitch a fit - I certainly would have! Or maybe it was awesome for them :P

  10. You will laugh about this memory one day! And maybe pick a different activity next weekend! Great story.


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