Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bad Branch State Nature Preserve & Lilley Cornett Woods

Well, we had some hiking planned for today, but not a whole lot happened due to the weather. It wasn't actually rain that changed our plans though, it was lightening. We got up this morning, packed up camp, and hit the road (some curvy, steep, mountain ones). When we got to Bad Branch State Nature Preserve, it was later than we had anticipated, so instead of hiking up to High Rock,
Hiking Bad Branch
we only hiked to the falls and back.
After all, we had a one o'clock tour to catch at Lilley Cornett Woods. When we arrived at Lilley Cornett Woods at 12:30 after a quick lunch in Whitesburg, we started to hear thunder. We decided to start the hike with our guide,
Big Tulip Poplar
We made it as far as this large Tulip Poplar.
but the weather got progressively worse. We got back to the vehicles just before all hell broke loose. It was about an hour of hard rain, lightning and wind. We decided to wait for the storm to clear and give the tour another go. However, we were once again foiled by the weather after a quick start on the trail. Oh well, we might never see all the big trees at Lilley Cornett Woods. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jefferson National Forest: Guest River Gorge

After arriving in Virginia we headed straight into Jefferson National Forest and the trailhead for the Guest River Gorge rail/trail.
bridgebike
I must say that this has to be one of the best, if not the best rails-to-trail I've been on. Lot's to see,
milkweed
waterfall
bridges to ride over,
speedster
the sound of rushing water to listen to,
river
and even a tunnel to ride through.
tunnel1
The only bad part of the ride is, well, it's not long enough. It's only 5.6 miles each way, for a round trip of less than 12 miles. After our bike ride we did some grocery shopping in the town of Norton, Virginia. Then we headed up, up, up to High Knob recreation area where we set up camp. After that it was a short hike up and down High Knob.
highknob
A great day was had by all!

The Highpoint of Kentucky: Black Mountain

Today Noelle and I woke up early, packed up the Grunwald family truckster, and hit the open road bound for adventure. Our first stop, a closed Lilley Cornett Woods. It seems that contrary to the official Lilley Cornett website, the site is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I felt like I'd driven all the way to Wally World only to find it closed. Anyway, we arranged for a tour tomorrow and headed south to a not-so-exciting high-point of Kentucky. There we took the obligatory photo,
blackmountain
gave the obligatory kiss and headed into Virginia (it is for lovers, after all).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Obed Wild and Scenic River

obedriver
Today Noelle and I spent some time hiking the Point Trail at Obed Wild and Scenic River. When we got home today I spent some time calculating the number of National Park Service units that I've been to and estimate that Obed is my 163rd. Not too bad considering there are 388. I've been to more than one-third of the park units. As far as our experience there. Well, let's just say it's not the most impressive NPS site we've been to. We camped at the Rock Creek Campground there and it was by far the dirtiest NPS campground that we've been to. In addition, there's very little in the way of hiking there. The Point Trail, which we hiked,
obed3
is only 1.9 miles long and one of just a few short hikes in the area.


I guess the river is really known for whitewater. Unfortunately, the river is only navigable in the winter and early spring. We probably won't be headed back to Obed any time soon. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Big South Fork NRRA: Gentlemen's Swimming Hole

Today Noelle and I headed down to the Big South Fork on a hot, humid day. What better to do on such a day than to go for a hike to a swimming hole? Luckily, our guide book to the Big South Fork (whose title shall remain nameless) contained a perfect hike to fill the swimming hole requirement. It was a short, two mile hike to what is called the Gentlemen's Swimming Hole.
parkernoelleswim
gentlemanswimming
The guide book described it by stating "Clear Fork's cold water, pebbly bottom, and deep pools provide excellent swimming. It's fun to float through the small rapids on tubes." When we got there however, the water was warm, the bottom flat rock, and the rapids un-runnable. Was this the work of an overzealous author trying to sell this hike, or just the result of a dry summer?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Biking Shaker Village

So wanting to stay relatively close to home, Noelle and I decided to head over to Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill to do some bicycling on the trails there.
While many of the trails are open to bicycling, many of them are grass and I'm not really into riding on grass. We ended up riding the gravel trails there
happybiker
and then eating lunch at the restaurant there. Not the most strenuous day, but a fun time nonetheless.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Clifty Falls State Park

Spent last night visiting with my mom who was working at the NAACP Convention in Cincinnati. Ate a great dinner at a fancy restaurant. I ate way too much and felt sick at the end of the night. This morning we went to breakfast before I had to say goodbye to dear Mom, then Noelle and I walked across the Roebling Bridge back into Kentucky to get the car. We drove down I-71 to Carrollton and then crossed the Ohio in Indiana where we ate lunch and drank milkshakes in Madison. From there it was on to Clifty Falls State Park where we did a little bit of hiking and sightseeing.
noellebridge
noelleabove
noelletunnel
A good day off.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bernheim Arboretum: The Millenium Trail


When I woke up this morning I immediately turned on the television to check the weather. The radar map showed rain, and quite a bit of it heading right for Lexington. I had really wanted to go hiking today but decided that maybe today wasn't the best day for outdoor activities. After another half an hour of sitting on the couch thinking of things to do, I decided that I hadn't gone hiking in the rain in a pretty long time and that such a pursuit might actually be fun. I hastily packed up some water and snacks and headed west on the Bluegrass Parkway to Bernheim Arboretum to tackle the Millenium Trail, a 14 mile loop located in the forested parts of the arboretum. I had packed along my rain jacket and fully expected that I would have to use it, but instead I never got rained on. The air was so humid, however, that I got so sweat soaked it may as well have been raining.

I walked at a pretty good pace, took 3 short breaks and completed the loop in about 41/2 hours. It was the type of hike you take to walk in nature, not a hike where you can expect to see lots of spectacular scenery. Also good for some solitude, at least during the week. Although I did not expect to see anyone else during my hike I actually passed a fairly large family group. I guess, like me, the threat of rain just doesn't bother some people!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Raft N Rail

What a great day! Lots of fun was had by all. We drove down to Canon City to Echo Canyon Expeditions where we got outfitted for our run down Bighorn Sheep Canyon on the Arkansas River.
What a blast! While several rafters got tossed out of their boats, nobody from our party took a swim.
We must be a family of natural born rafters.
rafting5
After we took out we were whisked away to a secret railroad station where the Royal Gorge Route train
Royal Gorge Locomotive
took us for a very scenic (though short) ride into Royal Gorge. We were served lunch on the train as well. However, some people on the train didn't get their food until the ride was practically over. All in all a great time though. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wedding Day


This morning Noelle went to the salon to get her hair done. Since my hair is about 1/4 inch long, I didn't need to get it done so I went hiking instead. I headed over to Waldo Canyon, one of the most popular hikes in the Colorado Springs area. It was a nice hike with awesome views of Pike's Peak and Waldo Canyon itself. From there it was back to the ol' homestead and onto Palmer Lake for Kyle and Sarah's wedding. It was a nice, short ceremony and the rain luckily held off. The reception was a lot of fun too!