Red River Gorge Backpack, KY

Participants: Danielle Griffin, George Lindley, Kathy Koning, Kristen Koning, Sarah Koning, Jim Mata, Donald Nelson, Brock Schaffer, Leslie Schaffer, Barry Tague

We met at 9:00 AM on Saturday morning on the south side of Indianapolis. After introductions and loading of gear, we drove four hours to Red River Gorge for a Memorial Day weekend hike. After
stopping for parking permits, lunch, and shuttling cars, we started out on the Sheltowee Trace Trail, beginning at the Corner Ridge Trailhead on the north side of the park. We hiked about three miles following turtle blazes and set up camp near the Lost Branch Trail. Due to starting later in the day, we found the best campsites already occupied and end up staying about ¼ mile uphill from the river
which was our needed water source. After setting up camp and cooking a group dinner, several people went down to the river to pump water. While the weather was perfect during the day, the night
temperatures were a bit cooler than some had anticipated.

After waking on Sunday and cooking a hot breakfast, we started on our eight mile hike past many beautiful and popular landmarks. We first came across the Indian Steps where we watched people
rappelling off of the cliff. We continued on the trail, crossing two small creeks, and climbed to Indian Arch which was a remarkable sandstone formation. After hiking along several scenic cliffs, we crossed a suspension bridge over the Red River. We followed the Red River downstream and saw hikers jumping off a large rock into the river. Shortly after, we found a campsite for the night near the Chimney Top Creek. The poison ivy was thick everywhere and it was a challenge to avoid. After wading in the creek, pumping water, and eating dinner, we had a campfire, s’mores, and good conversation. After hoisting the food bag again, we settled in for the night. Most of us figured out a way to be a little warmer the second night.

On Monday morning we woke to another perfect day. We ate a quick breakfast and headed out for the remaining three miles to Pinch-Em-Tight Trailhead. After a 400-foot gain in elevation, we reached Signature Rock where we took in the sun, lots of water, and the scenery. From there, we hiked a short distance to the trailhead and parted ways. We met new friends, learned new skills, and overall had a great Memorial Day trip!

New York Appalachian Trail Hike

Participants: Joni Moore (Leader), Donna Davidson (Co-leader), Bill Armstrong, Curt Romerill, Dan Harrell, John Bredenkamp, Keith Trinkle, Paul Moore

Utilizing almost every inch of space in the CIWC van for our trip gear (backpacks, pertinents and such) we headed out early for our trip. After an uneventful day of travel and making good time we spent a night in Mifflinville, Pennsylvania which got us far enough along to have time the next day to do some shopping at Campmor Outfitters. We then decided to head to the New Jersey/New York state line and begin our hike there.

It took a while to locate a trail leading to the Appalachian Trail (AT) but, once we did, we wasted no time in getting our day packs and boots on to hit the trail. After a mile or so we came to the section of the AT marked at the state line NJ/NY; that was a first for most of us on the hike. So, there we were beginning our hike at the beginning of the AT section for New York. We didn’t spend much time at this site as we knew it was getting late in the afternoon and we still had lots of ground to cover. After hiking several miles we came to a parking area where Paul was waiting for us in the club van which held our dinner and overnight gear. We did not waste any time refueling with a delicious barbeque dinner, loading our overnight gear on our backs and hitting the trail again for the Wildcat Shelter.

The hike to Wildcat Shelter proved to be a real challenge since there was a lot of rocky terrain and boulders to climb up and over and darkness was quickly setting in. Upon arrival at Wildcat Shelter
the shelter was found to be full (well with only two other hikers who took up the whole shelter and did not appear to be willing to share the space). I guess that’s what happens when you get there late in the
day. Thankfully, a few of our group had arrived before dark so they were able to locate good tent sites. The rest of us arrived after dark and had no problem getting set up for the night. Hiking by a full moon and our headlamps added a greater level of adventure to our hike.

On day two of our trip we discovered that most of the terrain was much the same as it was the evening before. Lots more rocky paths to hike through and boulders to climb (this really slowed us down). At the top of some of those boulders and balds, however, there were some spectacular views of seemingly endless lakes and countryside. We also enjoyed a scattering of small river falls that proved to be impressive from a close view. As the day progressed to evening and
knees were straining from several steep descents, we ended our hike a few miles short of our original goal. Having ended the day a bit early
we were able to spend more time preparing and enjoying our dinner. Joni had a feast of salmon patties with mac and cheese planned for dinner and it went over very well. Since Paul was able to meet us in the van at various points along this section of the trail, we took full advantage and Paul kept our beverages of choice iced down and ready for us to enjoy with dinner. Ice cold beer and hard ice tea…hard to beat after a day on the trail.

Day three of our trip we woke to pouring rain. After quickly packing we went to a park shelter to attempt to dry our stuff and prepare breakfast. There was no letting up on the rain and the earlier
forecast of 30% chance of rain escalated to 100% and the same for the next day. The rain seemed to preclude any safe passage over the rocks and boulders we covered the previous days, so we decided to end our hike. After some cruising around driving over a Hudson River bridge, visiting Greymoor Spiritual Center and the Bear Mountain
Lodge we decided to head back home. The best part of the drive home was a very large black bear seen in the woods near the highway while driving through Pennsylvania.

 

 

Beginning Backpacking, Shades State Park, IN

Participants: Susy Price, Sandy Hicks, Marvin Pribble, Wendy Brinson and Bob Hart (leader)

This trip was held at the backcountry camping area within Shades Sate Park. The purpose of the trip was to provide an elementary overnight backpacking experience (or refresher) for new people in CIWC.

The group met on Saturday morning at the parking lot closest to the trail head leading to the “Backpack Camp”. The first order of business was to do some light day hiking on other park trails to get acquainted and see some of the parks features, as well as look at Sugar Creek. Back at the parking area we found a nearby picnic table and had some demonstrations regarding water treatment options. Those props would be left in the back of the truck because we knew that there would be potable water at the campsite.

After lunch we split up group gear and group food and hoisted up our backpacks in order to begin our 2.5 to 3 mile hike to the backcountry camping site. It was a leisurely hike with some picture-taking along
the way. At the backcountry area we found and occupied the last two campsites. The weekend weather was predicted to be dry, so many other campers were back there. Our campsites were perfect, being close to the water spigot and the primitive toilets. The first order of business at the campsites (per CIWC protocol) was to pitch tents.

Shortly after that, we had a welcome visitor (club president Dave Hoffmeyer) who packed in our firewood. There was a policy mixup at the gatehouse and we were told that firewood would no longer be delivered to the backcountry, as had been past practice. Dave went way beyond the call of duty and we were greatly in his debt. (We found out later that this mix up was resolved and fixed by park management).

During the late afternoon and before supper there was time for rest and or exploring the backcountry area, which included a trip to the canoe campsite on the edge of Sugar Creek. The supper plan was to
make individual pizzas which (by design) required group participation. All went well and the pizzas were customized to each camper’s preference.

After supper we demonstrated how to hang food from a tree and had the traditional campfire, and of course, with campfire stories. Then, it was off to bed.

In the morning we had our breakfast, packed up and hiked out. Then Bob, Sandy and Susy went to lunch in a civilized setting at the Turkey Run Inn. All in all it was a great trip.