This is Part 2 of a story, to start with my first day hike at Caesar Creek, click here.
Based on the previous visit, the visitor center staff recommended if hiking to start counter-clockwise at the Flat Fork recreation area not far from the visitor center.
So with this visit I chose that direction and quickly felt more confident this day compared to the first. I left the house a bit earlier and straight away hit the trails just after “sunrise” despite all the clouds around.
My first real stop about a mile down the trails was made at Horseshoe Falls down from my start at Flat Fork. Despite the on-off rain the entire morning and early afternoon, this waterfall looked to be dried up for the year.
I had previously seen the waterfall’s beauty at an earlier time in the year, so I knew what these old stone structures and flowing water were capable of. I gingerly stepped along the creek downstream of the waterfall to the massive cliffs.
Their immense texture and girth tempted me to pull out the camera, however something told me to wait for a better subject. Situated nearby the ‘falls is a newly constructed suspension bridge that was a real treat to traverse.
This particular day had a me testing out a revolutionary new tool; an umbrella! I had never used one photographing on a rainy day before. My ideal setup before was a rain jacket with plastic bags over the gear and a pack cover on the bag. This umbrella, while too small for an adult, was still a lifesaver when under the torrential downpours.
Another must for outdoor photographers is to have the right kind of equipment. Weather-sealed camera bodies and lenses, a proper-fitting pack cover, and sturdy hiking boots will go a long way to your survival and success out there.
By this point I was more than halfway done for the day. I visited numerous tourist attractions along the trail including the pioneer village and along the outskirts of the closed visitor center. Next time I will plan my thru-hike on a day that the visitor center is open!
Many winding paths in and out of the woodland still somehow keeps you hugging the edges of the massive lake. The autumn foliage was the perfect addition to the day along with the calm pitter-patter of the rain.
For the best solitude, hike a state park or anywhere else on a rainy and wet day. Only the most adventurous of souls make it outdoors during this time, and I went hours without seeing a single person. This allowed me to enjoy the views and every once in a while pull out the camera to compose a landscape composition.
There were many spurs along the way that lead you back to the edge of the lake. Just like a friendly reminder to gather your bearings. Speaking of bearings, a compass was another essential tool for this hike, as the monotony of the trail and multiple footpaths can lead one to confusion easily.
A lone Great Blue Heron also took my interest away for a while, allowing me to get up close and capture some of my best shots ever of the species in the pouring rain. Laying flat in the mud seemed gross in the moment, but the results I reviewed later on made perfect sense to all the preceding effort that day.
I had made to State Route 73! Just taking a quick peek at the road and the side trail was indeed closed. I then turned back and took an over 3 mile spur along the Fifty Springs loop trail before hopping back on the perimeter trail southward with the yellow blazes.
Somewhat miraculously, the moment I declared my explorations ‘done’ for the day and turned back at the end. The rain started up again! This time it was the heaviest it had been all day, and didn’t let up a single second before I got back to my car. Nature has a weird way of telling us things..
I made it back to Flat Fork with plenty of time to spare, even if the woodland was getting darker and darker. Exhausted and drenched in rain water all over, the camera and photos survived to tell the story of how my first and subsequent second day at the state park went.
If you enjoyed this story, please feel free to share it with others. Leave a comment below about how this inspired you to take up hiking or tell me of your leaf peeping adventures.
Until next time, make sure to get out there!
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