Mule rang me up the other afternoon and after a quick conversation we decided to go on a short outing to the Hoosier National Forest. We threw some eats and gear into our packs and soon departed. We arrived at the Nebo Ridge North Trail head at 9pm and set off shortly after dark. It was a long hard climb up the trail on Wilkerson Hill, but we had soon left the incline behind us to enjoy the easier travel of the ridge tops.
After a while we reached the inter connector trail to the Old Comb's Road which is a County road that has been abandoned since the 60's. The inter connector brought us out on Combs Road at a spot we call the bench mark as there is a geological survey marker there citing the elevation as 815 feet above sea level. This marker is cited on all local maps.
We wanted to hang at the bench mark but with thunder storms closing in it would not be a wise choice, so we set off South down Comb's Road and camped for the night in a sheltered draw we had used years ago when we could still 4 wheel up the remains of Comb's Road. The site was almost unrecognizable after all these years but still a great place to weather a storm. We quickly set up our hammocks and flys. No sooner than we finished than the storm broke. But we were high and dry in the comfort of our hammocks.
It was 1 am and we soon fell asleep in the velvety blackness of a stormy night. I layed awake several times that night luxuriating in the fact that I was warm and dry. While inches above my head the storm was pounding the rain fly. Occasionally my mood was altered by the bright flash and rumble of Autumn lightning and a spray of wind borne mist.
We slept until 10am. Relaxed over a slow breakfast while drinking good coffee and talking of old trips, friends and days gone by. After leisurely breaking camp we set off back up Comb's Road and turned west at the bench mark down the trail on Browning Hill to the Stone Circle at its western end that overlooks the Ghost Town of Elkinsville. It was a bright and beautiful windy day on the Hill. The sky was so blue it appeared unreal. The wind swayed the tree tops about like wheat in the field. The wind darted about the upper limbs and leaves playing a grand song like a master on the violin. We set up camp beside the stone circle and set about filtering pond water and gathering firewood. It was then I spied an old military ammo box tucked back under the overhang of one of the larger slabs of rock downhill from the stone circle. It did not appear to be a booby trap so Mule and I opened it. It turned out to be a geo-cache and when opened it set off an old music box movement fastened inside that played one of those trite pluncky unrecognizable tunes. Inside was a disposable camera and a log book with a few other small items. We laughed as how 20 years ago we would have taken pictures of our butts and signed guess who? as a surprise for the owner! Instead we left it reset and unmolested for the next geo-cacher. It was late evening and still too windy for a fire. So after a good evening meal we hit the sack at nightfall. Mule read for a spell and I layed back wondering what mischief the spirits might wreak tonight at the hill, as this is reputed to be an ancient burial ground and a place of lost souls and spirits that walk the night looking for resolution. The night was breezy and clear. The many stars shone down through the tree tops in the half light of the moon. The coyote song was magical. I awoke several times to its eerie but beautiful haunting strains. It's beauty far surpassing that of the music box concealed within the geo-cache. As we struck camp next morning Mule and I regretted as the only shrieks, moans and wailing we heard on this haunted night was each others snoring. Not many hours later we were sitting down at Bob Evans savoring a late breakfast feast and anticipating the best part of any trip. Arriving home to your Loved Ones.