Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Then came 2020 A.D.
Even in an ordinary average year, sometimes you really need to get away from it all. In a year like this, escape is more important than ever if you can find yourself one — no matter how short it lasts, no matter how limited your boundaries are. Anne and I had two choices: either skip our tradition for 2020 and resign ourselves to a week-long staycation that looks and feels exactly like our typical weekend quarantines; or see how much we could accomplish within my prescribed limitations. We decided to expand on that and check out points of interest in multiple Indiana towns in assorted directions. We’d visited many towns over the years, but not all of them yet.
In addition to our usual personal rules, we had two simple additions in light of All This: don’t get killed, and don’t get others killed…
We’d come all the way to Mitchell to see the Gus Grissom museum at Spring Mill State Park. It seemed a shame not to enjoy the park itself while we were there. Despite our debilitating incident at Shades State Park, we still had use for more exercise. This time we chose the least rugged trail possible, a gentle lap sketched around Spring Mill Lake. Best of all, nary another human came within a hundred yards of us on our serenely maskless expedition.
After our lap around the lake (and one more wildlife appearance we’ll return to later) we drove to another section of the park where something called a “Wilson Monument” was dotted on the map. We saw no explanation. We had to know if we were missing out on anything cool.
To our chagrin, the trail and its map disagreed on its shape and intersections. At one point we found ourselves creeping down a nearly vertical slope of overgrowth to reach a paved sidewalk that the brochure swore was reachable just right there, and yet was not. Eventually we found the landmark in question: a monument to one Alexander Wilson (1766-1813), dubbed a “Father of Modern Ornithology” by some long, long ago. At some point after his death his crown was passed on to John James Audubon. But the guy who owned this property in 1866 was a Wilson superfan.
To be continued!
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