when it’s 50 degrees in winter…

In an Indiana winter it might be 50 degrees by day and snowing a foot by night.  It is completely unpredictable.  But when nature blesses you with a temperature 25 degrees above the seasonal average…you better be outside enjoying it!

I jetted out to Brown County with one of my good friends, local craft brewer Jon Myers.  Our plan was nothing more than to get out, breathe deep, and enjoy a brisk hike.  For as lush, vibrant, and alive that Brown County State Park is during the spring and summer… winter is a completely different story- there is not one leaf on a tree.  For a place that is renown for rolling hills clothed with the finest green that nature can afford… winter strips the hills in haunting nakedness.  While far from it’s full glory, there is a simple beauty resident in a Brown County winter.

We started off on the northwest corner of Ogle Lake and took Trail 7 (which winds all the way around Ogle Lake) until it connected with Trail 4.  As we broke off onto Trail 4, the trail stayed relatively flat with a few small elevation changes.  While the leaves covered both sides of the trail, I was a bit surprised how muddy the trail was.  This was my first hike in my new Merrell Outbound Hiking Boot that I got for Christmas so the mud was sure to initiate them.  We soon connected with Trail 5 and we worked our way into the Ogle Hollow Nature Preserve.  The trail began to ascend along the side of the hill and continued about 300 feet upward until we reached an opening at Rally Campground.

We stopped for about ten minutes at the top and then continued our loop by connecting to Trail 4 again.  This trail would take us back to Trail 7 and then Ogle Lake.  Most of this section of Trail 4 was downhill.  I thought that this was a really nice section of Trail 4.  The warm sun was beaming overhead and we took a leisurely pace to soak it in and just be at peace.

Ogle Lake was soon in sight and we connected with Trail 7.  The last leg took us the rest of the way around the lake.  The beavers had obviously been busy as there were several trees down and several trees that had been gnawed fairly significantly.

We finished our 3.75 mile hike and made our way back to the parking lot.   Hiking in the barrenness of winter definitely gives me an overwhelming sense of stillness, contentment, and simplicity but more than anything it produces a longing within me for spring… for rebirth and life… and that from death… something below the surface is waiting to awaken… and when summoned to come forth… life explodes and abounds.  Praise God for winter and longing and hope and anticipation and this profound sense of expectancy down deep in my soul.

learning how to die by jon foreman



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