For years an intriguing picture hung on the wall in my grandmother’s home. It was an old black & white picture that had aged over the years, but there was a festive atmosphere about it. It was of a family camping expedition from long ago. In it the women had on long white dresses and the men wore knickers and plaid shirts. There was a rowboat in a river with a number of white, A-shaped tents and various wagons and horses in the background.
My younger sister Kathy has maintained the family tradition of camping. Once a year, (this year it was the weekend of Oct. 20th), our family packs up their cars and everyone heads south to one of the many Indiana State Parks. This year’s expedition was to Elm Lodge (McGinley Vacation Cabins) just outside of Nashville, Indiana in Brown County. We still call it a camping trip, but the truth is we haven’t really set up a tent in years. Kathy calls about a year in advance and reserves a cabin big enough to house the entire family. There were ten of us on this year’s excursion.
Nashville is on Highway 46 and provides a shopper’s delight for those inclined to browse through the many shops that line the streets. The park itself draws most of the visitors. It seems everyone tries to guess which week the leaves will be the most brilliant. The week of Oct. 20th was not the peak. Previously nine inches of rain, coupled with high winds, left the trees around our cabin barren. To get a good picture of the brilliantly colored leaves we had to rake them up in a pile and then snap a picture.
Our group drove through the park and other areas that had weathered the rain; the scenery viewed from the pullouts along the ridges was beautiful. We hiked from the Brown County Nature Center to Strahl Lake, and then back again.
After the hike, the women went to Nashville to do some shopping and the men went back to the cabin. We sat around and talked of old times in Waynedale. There were no A-framed tents at our camp, no horses or rowboats, but the festive spirit was there and it was good to be a part of a tradition that has been in the family for many generations.