The South Bend Adventure Club was officially launched in September of 2012. Eventually we started writing regular trip reports on our blog Outside the Bend. The following are descriptions of all of the SBAC trips that occurred prior to the creation of the blog. They are mostly from Frank’s personal trip log. The level of detail provided varies from trip to trip.
25, Sep 2012
Red River Gorge
This past weekend was spent at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. We had a closet full of climbing gear and one of the country’s best climbing spots was within driving distance, so the solution seemed obvious. Soon we had Jason and Sheina on board. On Friday evening after working hours, we all packed into our Kia and left South Bend behind.
Several hours later we were in Indianapolis, navigating the many frustrating construction detours to get to REI. Kerry and I had lost her ATC (rapell device) recently while rapelling down the stairwell of our work building and needed a new one for the trip to proceed. We got one without any hitches and headed to Abyssina to scarf down some Ethiopian injera and piles of veggie mush. Finally, much later than intended, we were off to the Red. We got in to Miguel’s campground after 2 AM, set up some tents, and passed out.
We woke up four hours later in an attempt to beat the crowds to the walls. After waiting too long for some breakfast burritos, we finally drove out to Muir Valley. Our first destination was Practice Wall for some warm ups. We climbed a real easy slopped wall and a chimney called Dragon’s Mouth that Kerry and I had climbed last year. Sheina got the hang of lead climbing fairly quickly. From there we climbed a pretty challenging 5.8 route that required a jumping start followed by a relatively easy climb and ended by clipping in the final anchors while dangling on a ledge, one hand locked into a crack and the end of a quick draw in mouth. Next, Sheina was unwittingly sent up a route with too few clips and was forced to down climb. After that the exertion of the day was wearing on us. We returned to Miguel’s that night for pizza, but didn’t stay up very late.
We woke up the next morning after sleeping in a bit. This time we headed straight to Eureka, an 85 foot easy climb. Instead of lead climbing such an intimidating height, we had the group before us pull our rope up for us so that we could top rope it. The climb was fun. From there we drove south the PMRP where we spent the afternoon climbing a very easy route multiple times. We drove straight home from there and ended up in South Bend just after midnight.
1, Oct 2012
This past weekend, the South Bend Adventure Club met up with its parent adventure club, the University of Florida’s Outdoor Adventure Recreation (OAR) club. After dealing minimally with a basement flood at Amy’s house, Kerry and I got her in the car and headed south.
Ten hours later we arrived at Virgin Falls State Wilderness Area at around 3:30 AM. At this point we had to night hike two miles to an unmarked campsite. But luckily we managed to find the cavern entrance and Big Laurel Falls where the group was camped. We unrolled our beds and slept.
Three hours later I awoke to find Jeff (leader of the OAR trip), who had just returned from running to the parking lot and back to inform the other trip members where we were. He then promptly climbed to the top of the waterfall and set up a rapell rope. Eventually everyone woke up and much rapelling was done. From there we hiked an additional three miles to Virgin Falls. Shortly after the second round of rapelling, on a much more scenic waterfall, ocurred. A park ranger showed up and told us to obtain permits for such activities in the future. She prohibitted us from entering any caves and then moved on. Once people were tired of rapelling, we walked down to a river where several people jumped in on a rope swing, but the the water was too cold to swim long. On our way back to camp we scavenged firewood and once we returned, each person or small group began to cook some delicious dish that was passed around and shared amongst everyone.
Sleeping was kind of cold and uncomfortable, but our extreme exhaustion won out and we passed out. Our group woke up with the sun and quickly packed up and hiked out. We had planned to climb at Obed on the way home but later decided that it wasn’t really worth going out of our way. We stopped at Mammoth Cave National Park but unfortunately the cave tours were all at inconvenient times that would get us home in the middle of the night. We spent about thirty minutes hiking there and then drove home.
17, Nov 2012
Potato Creek State Park
This weekend, a group of four of us (plus one dog) went on a chilly day hike at Potato Creek State Park. This is the closest state park to South Bend and has a decent selection of trails to choose from. We spent about three hours hiking before returning to South Bend.
4, Feb 2013
Pokagon State Park
This weekend we drove out to Pokagon State Park for a weekend of tobogganing and frigid camping. Driving out were myself, Kerry, Amy, and Thomas (and Lucifer the dog). Meeting us there was Ben. After securing a campsite, we immediately rented a toboggan and spent an hour and a half continuously running the track. It was pretty exciting; we managed to get our sled up to 39 miles per hour. With a fair amount of snow coming down on us, it was pretty cold. But there were some spectacular snow flakes to be seen. After our time was up, we headed to a hiking trail and stomped our way through snowy trails that were completely empty of other hikers. Ben left in the evening and we returned to camp to cook some food and start a fire. Late that night, we got an unfortunate call from Gus who had planned to meet us but had not paid attention to the revised plan. He was calling us from Warren Dunes, the original destination which was in the exact opposite direction of where we were. We apologized profusely to him, but there was little that could be done at that point. Our camp festivities did not last long as we soon were freezing. We held up in the tent with all the sleeping bags and blankets we had. Eventually Kerry and I fled to the car to sleep slightly less cold. We tried to warm up in the morning, but it was impossible. We packed up and left in search of food. Afterwards we went home.
17, Feb 2013
Another weekend, another adventure; this time to Buckner’s cave, just outside of Bloomington.
The group met up at our apartment and set off for Bloomington. We pulled into Bloomington and arrived at the house we were couch surfing at. Having been very uncomfortable camping on the previous trip, I decided this would be a more optimal plan. The house was a co-op, with approximately 17 people living in it and a pretty chill atmosphere and friendly people. We were shown to our spacious rooms with more than enough floor space for the seven of us in a single room.
From there, we walked downtown and attempted to see a show at a bar being played by some of the housemates, however we were thwarted when they carded us and Ivy was underage. The group split up, some going in the bar, the rest of us exploring the town. Bloomington is easily one of the coolest towns in Indaian. After we started getting tired and cold, we returned to our home. We hung out in the kitchen and hobnobbed with our hosts a bit before going to sleep. The bar group came in at around 3 AM.
The drive to the cave in the morning was very short, and there we met up with Jason and Sheina who had camped the night with their dog. We suited up and headed in the cave. The cave started out quite large, but before long we were having a hard time finding the passage. It turns out there is a fairly substantial crawl with a very low ceiling right at the entrance. Once through there, we headed to where we believed the waterfall was. Turns out I missed a very obvious passage and took us into a tiny, muddy tunnel that just kept getting smaller and smaller as we went. I was in the front with seven behind me and I was army crawling with no more than an inch of head space above. Eventually, to my dismay, the passage became too small to proceed. Even after rmoving my helmet and pushing it in front of me, there was no possible way. I relayed the message back and everyone had to back army crawl their way out until there was enough space to turn around.
Back at the main junction, we talked to some others and realized where we had gone wrong. We went back in search of the waterfall and this time found the correct passage. Following the stream to the waterfall without getting wet involved a tricky chimney traverse move above the water. Eventually some of the group just dropped down and got soaked. The waterfall was about 13 feet tall with a sketch knotted rope to lower yourself down. We were cold and tired so we didn’t stay long. The exit was pretty straight forward and everyone was happy to be in the open air.
After leaving, some of us searched for Tibetan food (one of Bloomington’s specialties), but ended up finding Thai instead. Then our car headed to the Tibetan temple and played there for a little. We had hoped to attend a party that was happening at the co-op house that night, but when we went back there we realized that it wasn’t going to be for another 3 hours and our group was pretty tired. So we returned home that night.
The cave was actually lots of fun. Pretty grueling, lots of crawling, squeezing, getting lost, getting wet, and getting cold. There is plenty more of it to explore since we only made it through about a third of the passages.
23, February 2013
St. Patrick’s Park Hike
This weekend three of us went for a snowy hike at St. Patrick’s County Park. St. Pat’s offers a good amount of trails for a country park that follow along the St. Joseph River. Other various attractions that can be found include an old cabin, some big barns, a series of trees that spell “St. Patrick’s” from above, and cross country ski trails. For such a short distance from town, it’s hard to beat.
13, March 2013
New River Gorge
We went on a pretty awesome trip to the New River Gorge this weekend with Jason and Sheina. It was very similar to the Red trip last year. We got on a few relatively easy routes. It was a lot more scenic that the Red and we spent Saturday evening hiking and enjoying the views of the famous New River Gorge bridge. The camping was free. And the weather was very warm compared to what we’ve been getting lately. We headed back Sunday night and made a stop in Columbus Ohio for reasonably priced Ethiopian food.
4, April 2013
Red River Gorge
Last weekend we went to the Red again. Our group included myself, Kerry, Cameron, Emily, and her seven year old son Aidan. We camped friday night at Miguel’s ($1 per person per night with an excelent pizzaria). On Saturday we hit many of the same routes we had done last year. This was Emily and Cameron’s first experience climbing and they both seemed to enjoy it. Saturday night, we left to start making some progress on the drive home. We camped that night at Brown County State Park. In the morning we went on a short hike and then drove the rest of the way back.