I was home from Colorado for a week and then off again, this time to Indiana to join my friend Mike on his Fall Fotopalooza. You may remember from last year that Mike goes to the same nature preserves on the same weekend each year to shoot fall color.
I arrived in Indianapolis on a Thursday afternoon. By evening we were dining with Mike's friend Denise at Real Hacienda, their favorite restaurant.
Friday, October 14th.
Mike and I weren't up terribly early on Friday. Let's just say we always have a good time at Real Hacienda. Mike also keeps a bottle of very good bourbon on hand for a nightcap when I come to visit. We had breakfast at Cackleberries (an excellent place for breakfast, so good we were there every morning but one). By afternoon Mike and I were at Fowler Park for some hiking, photography and geo-caching. Having just been in Colorado it was disorienting. It was obvious the Indiana color was not at peak yet; I went from big mountains with brilliant yellow aspens to hills and hollers with subdued color. Still lovely mind you, but different. On top of that high temperatures were in the low 80's, way too warm for Fall in Indiana. But my initial disorientation hardly prevented us from having a great time! It was a good warmup for Fall Fotopalooza. Later we met up with Denise and ended our day with dinner at Rick's BBQ.
Here's a gallery. Click on any photo to enlarge it. Then you can navigate through the photos. Roll over a photo for a description.
Saturday, October 15th.
This was the big day! We headed out early to be at Big Walnut Nature Preserve shortly after sunrise and followed up with Hall Woods in the afternoon. It started out a little disappointing. The light wasn't good and there was little color. Denise explored ahead of us and all of a sudden Fall Color turned into Fall Fungi as Denise started finding superb examples of fungus. We'd never seen so much fungi in the Fall and we found species new to us at both locations. It was unexpected and amazing!
Sunday, October 16th.
With rain all day it was a perfect day to process all the images we shot over the previous 2 days. I think it was about 3:00 pm when we both went "Oh, my eyes are shot and I must move". All in all a relaxing day.
Monday, October 17th.
We headed south. Our destination was the Story Inn in the village of Story, Brown County, Indiana. Our route was not planned beyond looking for adventures with cameras. We found ourselves in the Deam Wilderness, a part of the Hoosier National Forest. We enjoyed winding gravel roads and the best fall color we had seen so far. About mid-afternoon we reached the Story Inn. I am familiar with Brown County and its county seat, Nashville, but Story was new to me. We had a wonderful time in Story before finishing our day with a great meal at The Original Big Woods micro brewery in Nashville.
Tuesday, October 17th.
Indiana is a well-developed state with cities, small towns and farms. In spite of that development Mike says there are over 200 nature preserves in Indiana. Unlike the huge BLM lands and wilderness areas of the west these are small preserves but still beautiful and it's nice to see these places protected. Some preserves are closed to the public but many are open. A lot of these preserves are overseen by The Nature Conservancy. This day we visited two nature preserves. First was Fall Creek Gorge, otherwise known as The Potholes. What makes this area unique is over thousands of years Fall Creek has cut through the rock making the gorge and a series of "potholes" as the falls moved up the gorge. Unfortunately the creek was running too high to walk the gorge. For certain we would have had wet, cold feet. At worst one of us could have stepped in a deep pothole; not a good thing. At the end of the day we visited Portland Arch on Bear Creek a very unique place in Indiana and much different from the huge sandstone arches of the west.
All too soon Mike and I found our time together at an end. It was so good to spend time with an old friend. We made great memories and look forward to doing it again next year.