A little while back I had the pleasure of attending my friend Jennifer’s wedding. A lovely outdoor event held in McCormick’s Creek State Park. And since it was scheduled for later in the day around sunset. I’d decided to go a bit early and do some hiking around. And I really should have spent the whole day there. I remember visiting the park fairly often growing up, but I don’t think I’ve been since college. And time definitely shrunk it’s size in my memory.
Though I did my best to visit the sites I remember most from childhood. The waterfall, the wolf cave, Peden farm… There are many excellent parks in Indiana. Yet for some reason the combination of these three, especially the idea of a wolf cave, always captured my imagination as a kid. I never saw any wolves. But there was always a small tickle at the back of my imagination. Arguing that anything is possible. And maybe this time I’d see a wolf lazily stroll from the darkness.
We’ve got to hang onto those little pieces of magic, tucked inside our imaginations. Yes we all need to grow up sometime. Bills and taxes don’t pay themselves. Yes there are grownups who need to turn off the movies, log out of their video games, close the young adult novel, not worry about celebrities, or stop spending all their money on pop culture merchandise. You’ll get no argument from me there. But behaving like an adult and killing that magic are two totally different things.
My imagination is what allowed me to look at an old school bus and see Midna. Laying out a plan and following it… Is what got her rolling down the highway. Imagination is what made it possible for me to envision a life post-transplant. Being tenacious, excepting what needed to be done and doing it… Is what helped get me to where I am now. Breathing, traveling, and hopefully… inspiring others to fight for each breath too. While dreaming about how to use those breaths.
I didn’t manage to hike all the trails this visit. There’s about eleven miles to explore. But I think I’d have made a good go of it. Had I spent the entire day walking. Though maybe that’s just my imagination chiming in again. McCormick’s creek has three trails, each under three quarters of a mile, that are rated as “easy.” Which should be doable for those still healthy enough to get around without supplemental O2. And possibly by those getting around on fewer liters per minute.
The trail labeled “easy” that I ventured down. Appeared to be labeled correctly. At least for healthy folks. Though what is easy and what is hard, can vary greatly from one pulmonary patient to the next. But it was relatively, flat, level, and free of debris. So carried or carted oxygen shouldn’t be a hindrance. And even a wheel chair with the proper tires could probably make the trek with little issue. My biggest concern would be the lack of places to rest and catch one’s breath.
I saw several benches during my visit. So it’s not like they don’t exist inside the park. But most tended to be near site seeing spots. Such as the creek’s water fall. More so than along the trails themselves.
The wolf cave is along a trail labeled as “moderate.” And I soon discovered several bumpy patches along the way. Spots where a wheelchair wouldn’t be able to continue and a cart would have a really rough go of things.
Getting there is aided by a slight decline. But one you’ll feel on your way back to the trailhead. If you’re not on oxygen yet or don’t yet need that much… you may be able to get see the cave without issue. Though I’d suggest you skip hiking the entire loop. The cave is the neat part. Simply going there and back again is much shorter.
The biggest draw for most folk to visit McCormick’s creek is the water fall. But be forewarned there are a lot of stairs. And if you go all the way down to the creek. You’re in for a long climb back up.
But if you stop before venturing down the curved staircase. The steps are not quite so insurmountable when heading back up. And you can still enjoy seeing the falls from above. Having skipped the vast majority of stairs.
Regardless of whether you gaze upon the falls from above or below. They are rather spiffy. And while I can’t tell you what you’re physically capable of… If you ever find yourself in or near McCormick’s creek state park in Indiana. And you feel up to the challenge. I would recommend giving it a look see.
And if you never do find yourself in the Hoosier state. Or if places near and far seem equally out of reach… I hope these blogs of mine tickle something in your imagination. Something that carries you across the miles for at least a few moments. And triggers a desire to hang on. To not give up. Because I was there too. The place where hope and imagination can get you through the day.
There are no guarantees, but if someone as ill as I was. Could manage to stay positive and make it through. Than it is possible for anyone. Again… not guaranteed. But possible. So stay strong and don’t be afraid to indulge those dreams.