The summer of 1980 is special to us. We met and started our lives together. Melanie was an undergrad and Jim was in grad school at Eastern Illinois University. A mutual friend, Dan, introduced us over lunch in the cafeteria of the dorm complex.
It was a hot summer in several ways. One weekend, we rented some camping equipment and headed for Shades State Park in Indiana about an hour away. We set up camp, hiked some trails, and rented a canoe to float Sugar Creek through the park.
Many years have gone by since our visit to that special place. This year, we planned a road trip to West Virginia to meet our daughter and her family, who live in the Washington DC. The highway eastward took us only a few miles from Shades. We decided it was time to visit that park again and hike some trails, this time in the winter.
The sign to the park is modernized with surrounding stone work. We drove in. No one was at the front gate to collect admission or give directions. We picked up a brochure and drove to the parking lot at the trail heads we wanted to hike.
Here are two galleries of pictures from our walk.
Sugar Creek creates the northern boundary for trails in the park. Several trails descend steeply to the creek. Stairways, ladders, and stream beds allow hikers to cover the distance, one way or another.
The trails we took were rated as “moderate” to “rugged,” and those seemed like appropriate ratings. We enjoyed the challenge of hiking the narrow ravines, picking our way back and forth across the flowing but icy water.
We won’t wait another 33 years before going back.