Summer Adventure : A Rainy Indiana Hike

Image shows an open wooden box with names written on the wood. Inside is a laminated trail map and pen. Behind the box a hiking trail disappears into the forest.

#22hike of my 2022 52 Hike Challenge

Trail/Park: Mason Ridge, Low Gap Trail, Rock Shelter Loop and Tecumseh Trail, Morgan-Monroe State Forest, Martinsville, IN

This hike took place on the traditional territory of the Myaamia, Kaskaskia, and Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo). I respect the histories, languages and cultures of these peoples, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant and changing communities. Join me in learning more about the tribes and these lands, by following the links provided.

Trash Collected: 0.3 pounds

The photo is of the empty parking lot at the Morgan-Monroe State Forest & Fire Headquarters building. The building entrance is on the left of the image. The pavement is wet from the falling rain and reflecting the gray sky.

I’ve never been one to let rain stop me from a hike or camping trip. This was yet another time. In Indiana on a trip, a friend suggested I visit the Morgan-Monroe State Forest. Located near Martinsville, IN the forest spans over 25,000 acres over steep ridges and valleys. Trails include the a 10-mile portion of the 42-mile Tecumseh Trail. I was intrigued as I researched the forest trails.

My opportunity came down to a hot, rainy Sunday morning. I broke out my rain gear, planning for a long, damp hike. I continued to watch the weather forecast on my drive to the forest confirming there would just be an all day rain, not severe weather. I decided to take a route on the Mason Ridge and Rock Shelter/Low Gap/Tecumseh Trails. The access point I selected was near the Forest & Fire Headquarters Office which has a large parking lot and some days is open for visitors. Not this day though. As the rain came down I located the trailhead, following the paved hiking and biking trail into the forest. The trail descends slowly to the intersection with the Mason Ridge Trail loop, taking me to dirt trail.

A little way from the intersection, I found the first trail log for the Tecumseh Trail protected in a sweet wooden box. In addition to the log, the box included a laminated trail map for the segment. I left the map, using my AllTrails app instead. As I moved along the trail it wasn’t long before I noticed the first of the large, white diamond shaped blazes marking the Tecumseh Trail. The variety of blazes used across the U.S. and in other countries is fascinating to me and I appreciate their guiding presence no matter where I hike. These blazes create a sense of consistency and direction. Don’t we all need that.

As I hiked the trail slowly descended toward the creek on the Low Gap Trail. All around me it was quiet, slowing my pace to take in the sounds of the rain and the sights, including an abundance of mushrooms. This section of trail moves through the Sweedy Hollow Nature Preserve.

Nearing the creek bed on a steeper decent I passed a trio of backpackers heading in the opposite direction. They were the first people I’d seen in well over an hour. Shortly after I came to the first creek crossing. Had the summer seen more rain this would have been a wet crossing I wasn’t prepared for, but today, even with the rain falling, it was a dry crossing. More dry crossings followed in quick succession and with each I was grateful at least my feet would stay dry for the day.

As the trail turns north there is a steep climb on a staircase leading away from the creek bed before leveling out again and passing a small pond. I stopped to listen to the rain falling softly on the pond, enjoying the solitude offered by the dreary day. I followed the blazes along the Tecumseh Trail as they intersected with other trails, eventually navigating my way back to the Mason Ridge Trailhead. Along the way I’d collected a small amount of trash, most of it near trailheads and trail intersections. Walking back to up the paved trail the rain began to fall heavier. I shed my rain gear and swapped out my boots for sandals to cool off and dry out on the ride home.

Driving through the park, I reflected on the beauty of the park and the opportunity to explore a new part of the state. I continue to be grateful for friends like the one who suggested the trail, for the time to get away, even if for a few hours and for days like this one.

I’m always interested to hear what conditions folks enjoy the outdoors most. Leave a comment if you’re a rainy day fan!

Next Post Preview: A mini hike provides another opportunity to explore trails in Indiana.

GEAR: Marmot Kompressor Pack, Vasque Ultra Dry Waterproof Hiking Boot, REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket, REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Pants, SheFly® Go There™ Pant, SPOT GEN3 Satellite GPS Messenger, Kula Cloth, Leki Women’s Micro Vario Cor-Tec TA trekking poles.

Want to know more about my gear selections? Head on over to Gear & Gadgets or check out my posts titled “Gear in Review”.


Photo of a group of hikers on a sunny day in a field heading towards a wooded area. The photographer has taken the photo from behind the group.

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