Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Put the Wildcat in KY!

Go Cats!

If you are from Kentucky you are either a fan of the Big Blue Nation or you are nothing. So it was no surprise to me that the next outing I picked was surreptitiously named Wildcat Trail No. 228.  Then I did what any true Kentucky Basketball fan would do once arriving to the trailhead... kinda. I chanted the years (in chronological order) of the 8 national championship we had won, did a good luck dance, and dedicated my hike to Adolph Rupp. After all of the compulsory crazed fan ceremonies and rituals were done I was able to hit the trail!

Overall, the Wildcat loop was a easy 5.3 mile jaunt in the woods, which gave me and the pups time to truly appreciate the scenery and nature around us. About 0.5 miles into the trail you come to an old overgrown road and take a right. Shortly after this, the trail forks. You may go left to continue the trail, or right to see a small family cemetery.  The day I was hiking a tree had fallen blocking the left fork so I choose the right fork at first and was able to see the cemetery. There were many old and new tombstones and one even paying tribute to a Sergeant in the US Army.

We continued past the fallen tree on the left side of the forked trail and were able to navigate trough many overgrown and fallen trees for the remainder of our hike. Things of note along the trail included the numerous fungi, flora, and rock formations that we encountered. I especially enjoyed the rhododendron and the various mushrooms we discovered.

We also took a slight detour off of the trail to Swift Creek and let the dogs cool down with a quick swim. It also gave Rob and I and chance to see if the creek was fish-able, but I couldn't spot a single fish.

 Mourning our lack of fishing options, we hopped back on the trail and quickly finished the rest of the hike.  We emerged on pavement near the Parch Corn Creek trailhead. A short 1 mile jog along the road completed the loop, depositing us back at our car. It was a great day for a hike on a beautiful trail that would make any member of the Big Blue Nation proud!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Arches... in Kentucky?

When you think about seeing natural arches you automatically think of Arches National Park in Utah. Right? Most likely you picture these arches...

I had a great time visiting Arches in Utah. I loved the red rock and all of the formations and would love to go back.  So when my husband mentioned that he wanted to go check out the arches near us I thought he may have hit his head. You see we had just moved from Salt Lake City, UT, to Lexington, KY, for his job. I did what I always do (ignored him) and figured he had just temporarily forgotten where he was now. However, I was pleasantly surprised when he wasn't kidding.

Since moving to my home state of KY, I had been sort of depressed because I felt I had missed out on all of the amazing national parks, hiking, fishing, and backpacking that Utah and the surrounding states had to offer. I had never been to Bryce or hiked the narrows in Zion! I didn't fish the Green or the Provo nearly enough! What was I to do now? So this time I vowed that I was going to get outside and take advantage of all the wonderful trips and treks that I could... even out here in KY.

We headed out with our two pups to Red River Gorge which is located about an hour away from our home in Lexington, KY. We stopped the car at the Auxier Ridge Trailhead and got ready to start our 4 mile (out and back) hike toward Double Arch. With the first few steps I noticed something I didn't when hiking in Utah - humidity. After an easy mile I was dripping in sweat which had tricked my mind and my thighs into thinking we had been hiking for 10 miles! Despite their fuzzy coats, the dogs (and my husband) didn't seem phased by the heat, so I pressed on to the Double Arch Trailhead!

As we walked on, I became lost in thought and in the beauty of the trail. I hadn't realized how much I missed the green while living in Utah. When compared to the red deserts of Utah, I felt as if I was hiking in a jungle. I was so lost in thought that I almost missed the double arch. A quick look up and to the left, and there they were! Rounding the end of the cliffline, we climbed a set of stairs to reach the top of the arches, and were rewarded with an amazing 360 degree view.

I had a great time, and found I am just as happy with bluegrass cliffs as I am with red rock ones. My trip to Double Arch made me look forward to getting back into hiking, backpacking, and fishing again. And this time I will make sure to take advantage of all of the wonderful resources near me! I hope you follow me as I try to explore as much of the wild outdoors as possible.