24 Days on the Sheltowee Trace Day 2

JUNE 11, 2017: Sunday

O&W Bridge to Bandy Creek Campground – 11 miles

I awoke at 6 a.m. coughing. I just wanted to get up. I was sweaty, sticky and coughing. A shower would feel good. Sigh. We packed up and had our breakfast. We decided to all pack and carry our own breakfasts. Mine this morning was blueberry oatmeal.

By 8:30 we started out on a nice hike along the river to Leatherwood Ford where there was a flush toilet {JOY!}. We missed all the signs of detour and pondered how we were supposed to get across the river on the broken bridge. The girls, of course, could envision the fun of tight-rope walking across the beams. But mom’s voice prevailed and we headed back up to the road where we rejoined the turtle markings.

The morning was full of climbs to Angel Arch. The piece of the John Muir trail we followed is beautiful - another added to the list of come back and hike again. We ate lunch at a campsite and cooled our feet in a creek. This is becoming a strategy. We are amazed that it makes a huge difference on our feet to rest & cool them.

Fall Branch Falls is a pretty little falls that you can walk behind.

It was a hard couple of miles walk to Bandy Creek Campground. One disadvantage of not knowing the area well is that our imaginations can be grander than reality. As we thought of a campground, we started to think ... maybe they’ll have hamburgers for sale, maybe we can jump in this Bandy Creek, and possibly, we can take a shower. When we came out of the woods and were greeted by the pool, the kids were disappointed. Our grubby bodies were hardly conducive to a pool; let alone the fact that swimsuits did not make our "worth the weight" packing list.

Coming into the park through the backdoor, challenged us to figure out where to go & how to claim a spot. As we plodded along only thinking of our aching feet and the mission to stop walking, we came upon a closed check-in hut. Hurrah! With directions in hand we looked around for the nearest loop and site where we could unload our burdens.

By 4 p.m. we were settled into site B-4 and, amazingly enough, were up for some exploring (camp shoes and only carrying our body weight did wonders for the feet). There were beware of bear signs all over, but what do you do with food if you don’t arrive in a car? Unwilling to carry it around, we put it in our tent and walked to the Visitor Center.

The girls were excited to add another Junior Ranger Badge to their collection – even knowing they would have to carry the extra weight to Cumberland Falls. We watched the orientation movie and hung out on the porch working on the booklets, using spotty wifi and drinking coke till 6:30. With a little signal for our AT&T phone, we called home.

ah, civilization. not having to filter water to drink & food from a vending machine.

Another theme of the day we mulled over was how creative the mind becomes when presented continually with little challenges to make do with what you have. We were getting quite good at using everything in our packs. Mysteries like how to dry off after a shower and how to trim those annoying bangs could be solved quite nicely. A neighborly camper came by and answered our question on how to store our food. So, clean after luxuriously warm showers, bellies full of chicken, broccoli and brown rice (almost as good as a hamburger), and sufficiently charged devices, we stored our fragrant items in the bear box settled into our tents anxious for a long night of sleep.

a few of the creatures of the day
Created By
Suzanne Jeffery

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