Charlestown State Park, near Charlestown, IN, recently merged with the Falls of the Ohio State Park, so many of our volunteer activities are now extended to this other facility. Opened in 1996, it occupies part of a 15,000 acre site formerly run by the US Army as an ammunition plant. Many of the old rusty, collapsing buildings are still there since the plant shut down after the end of WWII. Another Army testing ground near Madisonville, IN, has been turned into a National Wildlife Refuge. CSP sits on the banks of the Ohio River, though, at the former Charlestown Landing and Rose Island Park locations. Saturday's Raptor Day Event at the park was cut short due to severe weather that roared through - high wind, hail, thunder, and darkness accompanied by driving rain. I know because I tried to drive home through the middle of it! Our friend and fellow volunteer, Richard Lyons, led the wildflower hike along Trail 6, described as a rugged 2.3 mile trail. We started down a flat wooded path along the river, where the Dwarf Larkspur, Wood Poppy, and Wood Anemone bloomed in profusion. This isn't so bad, I thought to myself. Why is it described as rugged?
Then we started to climb, up and up and up. After the heavy rain the day before, the trail got a little slippery in spots, but the creek flowed without silt on its 200 foot downward journey to the river. My yoga and exercise at the YMCA is paying off. I climbed the hill without having to stop and catch my breath on the way up!