My idea of a family vacation includes a sunny beach and a strawberry smoothie in Mexico. So when my mom revealed that our family trip was going to be at the Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, Indiana, I wasn’t exactly ecstatic. However, I kept an open mind as we embarked on our four-hour drive from Chicago. As we neared our destination, I found it impossible that anything remotely exciting could be located in the middle of the stretching cornfields we were driving through. Just as I was about to lose all hope in my mom’s definition of the word “fun”, we reached the State Park and I was able to retrieve some of my optimism. There in front of me stood a quaint lodge complete with a balcony and game room. The lodge was surprisingly very nice and had a homey and laid-back atmosphere. Once settled in our room, we moved right on to kayaking despite the threatening grey sky. In order to get to the river, everyone loaded on a bus and took a short drive over to the entry site. Before I knew it I was knee deep, pulling my kayak into the water. Looking around I was relieved to see not a single corn stalk but instead, towering rocks and a plush forestland. As the organic combination of river water and moss filled my lungs, I began to think that maybe this trip wouldn’t be so bad after all. We had 4 hours to complete our 3-mile excursion, which left more than enough time to simply float and relax. As I drifted along with just one mile left, my daydream of Pocahontas was abruptly cut off by a loud crack. The noise, which I figured to be a falling tree, was really a boom of thunder and just then, I found myself in the middle of a huge storm. Despite the whipping rain and wind, we were forced to persist until we reached our ending destination. Making little to no progress with each row, I began to think the torture would never end; I was sure this trip was a mistake. Contrary to my stubborn and skeptical thinking, my family and I survived the storm and finished our kayaking trip. When we got back to the lodge, I was exhausted and relieved it was time for bed. The next morning my mom woke us up bright and early, ignoring our plea for more sleep. It was our “hiking day” and of course, my mom chose the longest trail, trail three. We grabbed our map and crossed a large suspension bridge to where we would begin. As we walked along, I felt as if we were in another world. I couldn’t believe that the waterfalls, valleys, and flourishing forest I was walking through were really in Indiana! Looking around, amazed by the sandstone cliffs and plunging canyons, I was able to appreciate the 300 to 600 million old paths I was hiking through. Emerging from the forest and back into reality, my mom made the executive decision to give kayaking another try. Second tries must be the charm because taking the three mile trip again was nothing but enjoyable. While leisurely floating down the river past others in tubes even more lackadaisical than I, I prayed the trip would never end. Looking back, even the unforgettable storm was worth discovering the beauty of Indiana’s ancient gorges and scenic ravines. I would suggest everyone take their own trip to Turkey Run State Park, the eighth wonder of the world.
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