Devil’s Den
October 8-23, 2005
We were taking that photo contest seriously, Joey and I. Two weeks before the event, we made a scouting trip and practice run at the state park. It was fun planning a route to place us at good locations for the given conditions. The lake was covered with fog early in the morning, making it an obvious choice. We crossed the spillway and hiked around the small lake. By the time we made it back to the dock, the sun had risen over the mountains and bright sunlight was hitting the treetops on the west side.
We drove up to the Holt Road parking area and hiked along the trail a mile hoping to find the scenic Holt Ridge Overlook. We didn’t bring a map with us and were relying on a waypoint I’d stored in my GPS receiver to locate the overlook. There were too many trails and intersections in the area and not enough signs posted and we never did find the overlook. Still, it was a great morning to be in the woods - temperatures were mild, there was just a hint of a breeze, and small beams of sunlight broke through openings in the canopy high above.

I returned the next morning, since it was my last chance to do some scouting. I began before sunrise in the big field at the Mayfield area. There was a group camping right out in the middle of the field; I watched as a large group of deer crossed less than a hundred feet from the campers.
Next I drove up to Holt Road and, armed with the knowledge of the multiple trails in the area, found the overlook in no time. (The day before, Joey and I had passed it because we were on a trail parallel to the one leading to the overlook.)
I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, and my enthusiasm left me on the hike back to the truck. I just went home without further exploring.
Work was busier than we had anticipated, so Joey and I had to miss the Saturday photo contest. But we decided to go to the park the following morning and pretend we were in the contest. We could at least compare our pictures to the winners once they were announced. We were at the Mayfield area way before sunrise. Clouds moved in with the sun and the rest of the morning the sky was overcast.
We found a sign for the Mayfield Glade Natural Area at the northeast end of the field, and went to investigate. There was a remarkable area of bare rock  ending in small bluffs next to Lee Creek. Joey and I split up and I wandered upstream, and instead of trying to take pictures worthy of a photo contest I started exploring. On the south side of the creek I found the largest fossils I’d ever seen; they were cylindrical in shape and almost an inch in diameter. I had the impression they were prehistoric plant stalks. It’s an amazing experience to find something that is perhaps millions of years.
The rest of the morning I tried to focus on taking “pretty pictures” and I failed miserably. I took tons of pictures, but hardly any of them are worth posting here. We did enjoy some early fall scenery though, and I discovered a couple of interesting spots I didn’t know about, including a “prairie management area” and an old rock bridge with a arched culvert that I assume is the work of the 1930’s Civilian Conservation Corps.