Rock or Rocks?
Ask a Hoosier about rocks, and the first response will be limestone. The second will be limestone. So will the third. Southern Indiana, particularly the area in and around Bloomington and Bedford, produces the best limestone in the world.
But while we still like our limestone, we have a growing appreciation for the beauty of sandstone. Steven Higgs and I ventured southwest from Bloomington on a short trip today to the Shoals area to scout some new locations.
Sandstone Cliffs of the Bluffs of Beaver Bend
Our first stop was the Bluffs of Beaver Bend, a state-dedicated Nature Conservancy preserve about a mile due south of Shoals. There is a road with sheer, 100-foot sandstone cliffs on one side and a bend on the White River’s East Fork on the other.
Looking upwards, you can see some beautiful features in a variety of geological formations. These formations reveal a wide variety of color variations in the cliffs, ranging from grays to greens to blues to tans and oranges. We also found a number of ferns and a few wild flowers still in bloom.
According to the Nature Conservancy’s website, this area was used as shelter by Native Americans who gathered mussels and other food sources from the river. Later, moonshiners, bootleggers, and gangsters occupied the area and led to the development of folklore of hidden treasures.
This small preserve is well worth a visit.
More Places to Scout
On our return trip, we stopped at Tincher Pond in the Hoosier National Forest just off U.S. 50 in Lawrence County. Noting the steep climb down the path and a steep climb back up the path, we decided it was much too hot and humid for a hike without doing some more research.
We also found a magnificent view from the Overlook Park just west of Shoals on U.S. 50 that should produce some great photos when the leaves turn color this fall. There are several other geological features to photograph later this fall or early winter when plants die off.
Last, we made our way down S.R. 450 to the Williams Dam on the White River. Many years ago and then again later, the dam was used to generate electricity. I remember taking Sunday afternoon drives with my family to watch the water pour over the dam. I was surprised to see that only the foundation of the generator building existed today.
Further down 450, we found the old covered bridge but could not find a vantage point to shoot from. Another day when the colors change!
Here is an album from our trip today.