Two Trails, Cliff Falls and a Cave: McCormick’s Creek, Spencer, IN

Thunder rumbled in the distance. We knew there was a chance of rain for later today, but it seemed to be coming in early. Another rumble and I think, we’ll probably just sleep in late and pack up after the rain. We have plenty of time, no need to rush.

Then a loud crack of thunder shatters the early morning quiet.

I hear Eli, “Mom.” He waits.

“Yeah?”

“We’re packing up.”

“Oh!” I sit abruptly. More rumbles in the distance. As I shove clothes, my notebooks and other random items in my backpack, I think, I’ll never be able to get my tent down before the rain hits. I  quickly roll my sleeping back and mat, gather up my pillow and backpack and slip through the zippered tent flap.

Eli and Maria already have their tent down and are loading their things in the hatch back of the Prius. I shove my bedding in the back seat and as I return to take down the tent, the rain begins. A light sprinkling at first and then larger heavier drops fall on my tent as Eli and I pull the stacks and rods. By the time we drag it under tree cover and fold it, it’s already soaked and so is my sweatshirt. We carry it together, stuff it in the hatchback with all the other wet gear and jump in the front seat.

We pull onto the gravel drive and head for the road. Toads, startled by the car’s tires hop across the drive in no hurry to get anywhere. I take it slow not wanting to squish any on my way out. We had a great time at our HipCamp site, but now it’s time to go. Unfortunately, we have no signal in the woods and don’t know where we’re going.

BTW: If you want to check out HipCamp, use this $20 off coupon on your first booking.

Heading back to the last main intersection, we discuss what we can do today. Once we’re back out at the main road, Eli gets a signal and sets the GPS for McCormick’s Creek. Maybe the rain won’t be so bad if we travel farther north. At least that’s what we’re thinking. An hour and a half later, the rain has ended and we arrive at McCormick’s Creek State Park, looking for Wolf Cave.

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We set off on Trail 5 through some pretty deep forest, along creek beds, and past several sinkholes until we arrive finally at the cave entrance. But alas, we realize we forgot the headlamps. A mile and a half back to the car we go to get them. By now, we’re all pretty sweaty and we’ve picked up a lot of trash which we tuck into what little space is left in the hatchback to throw away when we get to town (along with a soaking wet box of leftover pizza).

I hadn’t expected the entrance to Wolf Cave to be so shallow. I was really curious about what it would be like when we got inside. Eli decided not to go in, and it was probably just as well. With his height, it might have been really uncomfortable navigating through this shallow cave.

I led the way with Maria close behind. We slipped into the narrow opening and had to crawl or scoot the nearly 60 yards to the exit. It’s about 3-4 feet tall the entire way and winds like a snake, right and left every five feet or so. There is a ridge cutting through the middle like a shelf on both sides. There is a little more room above it and below it, but not much. Getting through this cave requires suspending your fears. There is no guide and no lighting. Come prepared with steely nerves and a good flashlight.

All of a sudden, we hear Eli, “Is that you?” he calls out from ahead. His voice was a welcome sign because I was beginning to wonder how much farther we had to go. Even though I knew it wasn’t a long cave, the first time going through we rushed to get to the end, just to prove to ourselves that there was indeed an end.

Getting out of the cave is a little harder than getting in. You need to lay down on your belly and dig your feet into the sand behind you to push and at the same time use your arms to leverage and pull yourself through a very small opening. This cave would prove difficult for most men just because the space is tight all the way through and especially getting out. Maria and I are less than 5’4″ and both weigh under 130 – it was tight.

This is me pulling myself out.

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Here are some shots we took on the other side. It looks like there may have been a larger room at the end of the cave that collapsed at some point in time. Kind of scary.

 

We continued our hike along Trail 5 back to the parking area, collecting more trash on the way. It’s hard to believe people can manage to carry a small water bottle into the forest and then feel the need to leave it somewhere along the trail.

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What if everyone did that?

We went up to the ranger station looking for a trash can and only found some small ones in the bathrooms. Although I understand why the park doesn’t want to manage a lot of trash brought in by people, some well-placed trash receptacles may prevent the plastic from being left in the woods. Until then people, we need to take out whatever we bring in.

Onto to the falls, which are going to feel really good on this 90 degree muggy day after a long hike and cave crawl!! The hike down to the falls is easy. They even have some stairs if you need them. We took the trail which goes past the falls, and then hiked back up the river bed through the rocks. The falls aren’t huge, but they were refreshing.

Once at the falls, it seemed a good idea to get a little wet! Believe me, it was cold, but felt amazing! We ended our trip with lunch at Axum Ethiopian Restaurant downtown Indianapolis. Highly recommended…check it out!

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Thanks for reading and don’t forget to join me for my next adventure!! Click the “follow link” above on the right so you don’t miss anything!

 

 

 

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