As I mentioned on Facebook, my summer goal is to drag my kids (and usually dog and husband) to as many state parks as I can.  We live down the road from Fort Harrison state park, so that’s old hat for us.  But we never really use our park pass for anywhere else.  This year I am determined to see that change.  I started by dragging them to Brown County for Memorial Day.

Now I’m sure for many of you Brown County state park isn’t exactly new.  I haven’t actually looked at the numbers, but my guess is that it is the most popular state park in Indiana.  But this was my first visit there and, let me tell you, I cannot wait to go back!

First of all, this place is gorgeous.  Located near Columbus, Nashville, and Bloomington, it’s got those beautiful Southern Indiana hills that we city folk just don’t see around here. Next time I’ll definitely take the “good” camera with me.

We started our trip with a good old fashioned picnic of McDonald’s hamburgers and Lay’s potato chips (I promise, I usually try to feed my kids fairly healthy foods, it just didn’t work out this day).

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Next we hit the Discover Trail next to the Nature Center.

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Big Boy was our tour guide.  They have these handy dandy maps at the beginning of the Discovery Trail.  And they have wooden signs throughout with numbers, which you then match to the number on the map and read the description.

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Little Man and Steve the dog were our designated number finders.  I’ve found this works really well with my kids.  Little Man finds the numbers, Big Boy reads the descriptions.  It keeps them occupied since they’re not overly “nature-y” kinda kids.

 

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All Steve the dog managed to find was a big mess.

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The boys and Daddy-O exploring all the bugs to be found in a dead tree.  Normally my kids hate bugs, but for some reason if Daddy thinks it’s OK then it must be.

The Discovery Trail is pretty short so once we finished that we headed over to Trail 6 which starts on the other side of the nature center and goes around the lake.  All was well for the most part.  It was beautiful and scenic, and Little Man was doing a great job of pointing out some of the different plants he had learned on the other trail.  Then….  it happened.

And boy was it bad.

We came to the end of the trail.  Well, almost.  We made it all the way around the lake, and it was time to head back up the path to take us back to the nature center.  “Up” being the operative word here.  See, I forgot to mention that the trail started out with this big wooden staircase leading you down into the woods, then you walked down this nice path that was going downhill even further to get you to the lake.  What this means is that once you come to the end, you have to do the opposite.  You have to go UP the trail, then you have to go UP the stairs.

Have I mentioned that, as much as I love hiking and parks, I’m not that experienced at them?  Yeah, I’m not an overly fit person, one might say.  So, I was pretty sure I might die right there on the uphill trail, a mere half mile from the comfort of my air conditioned car.

I was being passed by people twice my age.  I was given looks of concern from young children.  It was not my proudest moment.  But eventually I prevailed.  I turned on my exercise mix on iTunes and found the motivation to, ever so slowly, make it up the hill.

All in all, I loved Brown County state park, and I can’t wait to go back again.  It was only about an hour and a half away, so definitely not too bad for a nice day.  I foresee many future trips there.  Some with Steve, because there are many more trails to explore, and maybe some without so we can check out all the interesting things the Nature Center has to offer.  And I think maybe I’ll jump on the treadmill a few times before we go back, just so I don’t thoroughly embarrass myself again.

Now I will leave you with a picture of myself and my family, pre- almost killing myself on the uphill trail.  Let’s choose to remember the day like this, shall we?

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