A few weeks ago, I took advantage of the Department of Natural Resources' "free admission day" and drove southwest, to two different state parks. Though I ended my afternoon at McCormick's Creek State Park, I spent most of my day at Cataract Falls, the largest waterfall in the state of Indiana.
There are two sets of falls; the upper falls has a sheer plunge of 20 feet, while the lower falls has a fall of approximately 18 feet. As the lower falls are about half a mile downstream, I spent a great deal of time hurdling over rocks and cliffs. I dipped my toes in the water and traced its cold silkiness with my fingertips. It was a beautiful day, that Sunday. The sun was high, sure, but I was cooled by the breeze that carried the mist of tumbling water.
I watched fellow explorers traverse the banks of Mill Creek, finding paths that lead down to the falls, behind the falls. I watched children wade knee-deep, tossing stones and shrieking with delight when they managed to skip one. It was hard to believe that this natural playground had flooded before, flooded in 1875 and taken with it a primitive bridge. A year later, in 1876, a new bridge (the one pictured) was constructed, and was open to traffic until 1988, when it became pedestrian-only. Today, the bridge is the last remaining covered bridge in Owen County.