So I loaded my camera along with Liam into the Jeep, picked up Greg and head out. It still had not warmed up with the temperature hanging around 33 degrees when we pulled into the park around 12:30. We suited up crossed the suspension bridge then headed east on trail three. After passing the Ice Box and taking a few pictures of Liam inside some rock structures we came to the ladders. Liam was really excited the whole week about the prospect of climbing up them and they did not disappoint. When you get to the ladders it is basically a dead end of rock and the only way out without back tracking is to climb up the ladders and walk the rock ledges. Plus today we had a little waterfall as a backdrop to this feature that just added to the scenery.
After the ladders the terrain opened up and became wooden for a while but before long we were once again surrounded by rock walls. We followed a small brook that had become part of the trail and it led us to the Punch Bowl. The Punch Bowl is a little canyon that comes to a dead end with a small waterfall that collects in a little pool. We got a nice group picture here before heading on downstream.
The trail followed the brook on downstream with rock walls to either side. The trail actually became part of the rock wall, but due to ice on the ledges we stuck pretty much to the brook. At one point the brook had cut a thin deep trench that had fast moving water running through it and we had to do the old shuffle with legs and hands out on the rock walls to get through. Once through there were a couple small waterfalls and then the landscape opened up to a wide, high canyon. At this point in the hike it started to snow and you got one of those rare picture perfect nature scenes that will be remembered for time to come.
In the end this was one of those perfect days where everything fell into place. The weather never got too cold other than our hands chilled a few times, the snow made for an exceptionally scenic view, and Liam had a good time not stuck in front of a TV screen. I would highly recommend this park to anybody, but it is fairly rugged with a lot of stairs and climbing that may make it difficult for those who cannot get around too well. The scenery and features of this park make it absolutely breathtaking with it being one of the best hikes in Indiana.