Raven Run Nature Sanctuary

Raven Run Nature Center

Raven Run Nature Center

As most were out and about looking for those Black Friday deals, I decided to get in a hike at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary.  Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is a 734 acre nature sanctuary located near Nicholasville, KY.  Raven Run offers multiple programs not just for individuals but also for schools as well.  Information can be found at Raven Run’s website.

The sanctuary offers over 10 miles of trails that all are family friendly.  I decided that I would hit the red trail today which is the longest of the trails and has connectors to most of the popular view including Evans Mill and the Outlook.  So we will start from the parking lot which has plenty of spots and on most days needs them, as this is a very popular spot.  The lot was about half empty this morning with what I could figure to be people avoiding the Black Friday hustle and bustle.  As you start out it’s a short paved walk to the nature center which provides loads of information on the sanctuary as well as trail maps. Read the rest of this entry »

Mt. Whitney Trip Report

Written by Jared Smith

First time Whitney Hiker and Trip Reporter here…so take it easy! :-)

My brother and I hit the trail at 5:30 am on Sunday the 24th. This was a first time for both of us so despite looking tired, we were really excited about this! We got a late start because of an evening of bear encounters http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/16791#Post16791 ,but now we were ready to roll!

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Maywoods: Eastern Kentucky’s Environmental Laboratory

DSC03562As a student at Eastern Kentucky University I had visited Maywoods several times for educational purposes.  I had limited experience on the trails and even less time to enjoy them fully.  Maywoods is listed as the Environmental and Educational Laboratory of Eastern Kentucky University, located 22 miles southwest of Richmond in Garrard and Rockcastle Counties.  It is a 1,700 acre natural area that is managed by the University, also a wildlife refuge for native plants and animals it is also home to Lake Edmiston.

Along with the lake Maywoods serves as an  excellent place for field trips, meetings, or for EKU to hold classes in the lodge that is located next to the lake.  The lodge has a large meeting room with food services and housing for up to 40 people.  The overall purpose of Maywoods is to educate and it is obvious by the trails around the property.  Each trail is identified by the type of ecosystem that is showcased along the trail with signs posted along the way that provide information concerning the specific type of ecosystem.  Here are the trails that can be found at Maywoods:

  • Lake Ecosystem Trail
  • Forest Ecosystem Trail
  • Oak-History Forest Trail
  • Lake Side Path
  • Stream Side Path

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Jim Beam Nature Preserve

View from the trail

With my growing family I am continually looking for close to home quick hikes that can be completed in a couple of hours just to get that nature fix that we all need.  So while searching for nearby geocaches I found the Jim Beam Nature Preserve, having never heard of this place before I was eager to see what it had to offer.  This is a 115 acre preserve bordering Jessamine and Garrard Counties that was formed by The Nature Conservancy in 1995 along with the Jim Beam Brand celebrating it’s 200 year anniversary.  Having hiked near the Palisades before I know this area is very beautiful with moderate elevation changes that usually reward with a very good view of the Kentucky River.  There is parking available and is located towards the end of Hall Rd. just off of 27 on the Nicholasville side of the river.

The trail starts just off the parking area and is a 1.5 mile lollipop loop around the preserve.  We started on the trail just planning to find the two caches along the trail and head back to the car.  Shortly after starting you come to the fork towards the loop portion of the trail to left is probably a little easier on the climb back but we chose to go to the right having not hiked here before.  After finding the two we decided to finish the loop to see the rest of the area.  With no leaves on the trees we got a great view of the river from elevation, one that I believe come April won’t be nearly as visible. Read the rest of this entry »

Logan Hubble Park

Park view from entrance.

On this wonderful Christmas Eve morning I wanted to take a trip to a place that I have visited many times before as I used to mountain bike there often.  This place is Logan Hubble Park between Stanford and Lancaster off of Highway 27.  Typically this place offers more for horse riding enthusiast but has some designated walking/hiking trails.  Some basic info on the park, roughly 200 acres of land with a lake, also has basketball courts, volleyball, disc golf, along with multiple playgrounds.  Fishing is allowed on the lake along with a boat ramp, there is also access to Dix River in the park as well.

As you come into the park the road forks, the left leads to the majority of the park (lake, picnic facilities, etc.) and the right leads to the ramp to Dix River.  Parking is plentiful so I parked just inside the entrance on the left.  Today’s trip was more than just the normal hiking trails offered as I ventured into the equestrian trails as well.  The distance is however much you want, as little as half a mile, as many as 5.  I did about 5 miles today in a little over 2 hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Chimney RockOn the day before Thanksgiving I found myself in Asheville, North Carolina.  While there I wanted to visit a spot that I had not been to since I was a child, Chimney Rock.  The park offers several hiking trails with two of the most popular being the trail to Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Falls Trail.  Some of you may remember Hickory Nut falls as it was the final fight scene between Chingachgook and Magua in Last of the Mohicans.  As a child we were able to hike to the top of the falls and even swim in the pool but (according to a guide) since the state had purchased the park they shut that trail down to make improvements but had not completed them yet.  There is a fee to enter the park which is unique but not too high with adults being charged $14.00 and kids (6-15) being charged $6.00.  On the trails we saw several dogs on leashes but the dogs are not allowed on the elevator that takes you straight to Chimney Rock.  For more info on the park check out the park’s site at http://www.chimneyrockpark.com/index.php.  Read the rest of this entry »

Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge

DSC03198Sunday afternoon I was searching for a quick hike to go on that would be fairly close to where I live in Danville, Ky.  I was about to call it a day when I stumbled across the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge which is located just 13 miles from Danville.  After reading about it on the website I found that it is a 500 acre nature preserve that is open to the public from dawn to dusk.  Also to my luck they allow dogs as long as they are leashed.

So my dog Oz and I set out on a cold but beautiful morning to check out the refuge and get a little exercise.  There are several trails that you can go on all with different features and for different ability levels.  The trails that I used are Bluebird Trail, Yellow or Waterfall trail, Circle Trail, and the Green Heron Trail.  This place was very well marked and at no moment did I have any doubts as to what trail I was on, every split in the trail came with at least one sign and sometimes multiple signs.  Your day starts at the Cheek Nature Center which at the time I was there was closed but this place would be wonderful for school groups as it offers many educational experiences that are aligned with Kentucky Core Content. Read the rest of this entry »

Cumberland Falls: Dog Slaughter Falls

DSC03106So Dad and I decided to return to Cumberland Falls for the second time in eight days to try a new section of trails that neither of us had done before.  It’s being called Dog Slaughter Falls for the main attraction (Dog Slaughter Falls) but it is really a loop consisting of a few different trails which I will be very detailed about names and numbers so try and keep up.

The trail begins just down from the visitor’s center which is a good start because it allows for one to pick up a trail map at the visitor’s center, and it also allows for you to begin and end with the Cumberland Falls.  When you come to the official trailhead one thing that you will notice is that there are several names for the same section of trail: Moonbow trail, Park Trail 1, Sheltowee Trail 100.  From here on I’ll introduce the trail with all names used then I will refer to it by the park’s numbering system.  Let’s go. Read the rest of this entry »

Cumberland Falls: Blue Bend and Eagle Falls

DSC02062This trip was a repeat of one I did earlier in the year and really enjoyed.  The differences are that this one is during the fall and we started this trek before the sun was up.  Nothing keeps you on your toes like parking beside the bear warnings and then starting your hike still needing your headlamp to see the trail ahead of you.  As we (Eddie Smith and myself) walked over to the trail head from the parking area we noticed a dark figure moving over by our car.  Based on the two previous sentences your probably thinking it was a bear………..it wasn’t.  It was a dog, we watched the dog for a while and then decide to move on with our hike.  Shortly after starting we realize that the dog is following us.  We kept going and the dog stayed right with us the whole way, we checked and there was no tag.

We enjoyed the company all the way to the Sheltowee portion of the blue bend which is my personal favorite for all the rocky areas and ledges to play around on.  We climbed onto a ledge about 12 feet off the ground only to realize that the dog was trying to follow us up the rocks, which eventually led to the dog being stuck about 6 feet up and us having to rescue it.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Pinnacles in Berea (Fall Trip)

DSC03026

On Sunday morning my father (Eddie Smith) and I traveled down to Berea for an early morning hike.  Dad had never been to the pinnacles before so I was eager to show him around and introduce him to Tillie.  Unfortunately there was no Tillie to be found this time, there was one car in the parking lot when we arrived so I assumed she was already on the trail.

So we started our trip making first for the east Pinnacle and since Dad have never been there before my one warning was that the first climb can be a bit rough.  As we made it to the first split in the trail we made use of the bench provided and then took off to the right for East Pinnacle.  One of the most interesting things about hiking here is seeing the natural succession that is taking place after the wildfires that burned most of the area in the late 1980’s.  The fire burned 657 acres of forest and still seeing burned tree stumps after so many years reminds us of our responsibilities whenever we enter a natural area to be safe because the  lasting effects of what we do will most likely continue on even after we are no longer here. Read the rest of this entry »

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