Sunday, November 4, 2012

Into the semi-wild.

Yesterday my younger son and I headed up into Kentucky to the Big South Fork area of the Cumberland Mountains.
We had perfect hiking weather - mid-60's and a very light bit of cloud cover for part of the hike.
 The Blue Heron loop took us first beside the Cumberland River,
then upwards along the sandstone cliffs.
In some parts of the trail it was steep enough that the park had put in staircases.  When my son got to the top before me, he turned and put his hands on his knees, dropped his voice an octave and shouted at me like a drill instructor, "You gotta waaaant iiiiit!"
 With color like this, though, I did not mind the climbs.
We stopped on a rock overlooking the river for the lunch I'd packed into our backpacks. Someone had left a firepit, so my son built a small fire.
After dousing the fire with water before we left, making sure there was not a single ember remaining, we headed back into the forest.
The trail has a small detour to an overlook above the gorge. Devils Jump, named because the men who used to guide the logs were called raft devils, and they'd often jump off at the rapids.
 This rock looked remarkably like a cottage to me.
 Parts of the trail took us under stone overhangs
 and into caves.
I decided I liked going up the stairs a whole lot better than I liked going down them!
Eventually we left the caves behind and headed back down the mountain.
The trees again proved irresistible to my climbing son.
All told, with a detour and a short hike to the trailhead, we walked about seven miles, much of it up along switchback trails and half a dozen sets of stairs. We were hungry by the end but we were close to home before we found a place to stop. For literally two hours, my son sang an ad lib song about whether he might die of hunger before we got food. At the end of the song we were both laughing and he said, "All new and original lyrics!" Possibly the best part was my son spontaneously turning to me as we walked and saying, "Thanks for taking me hiking, Mama!"

50 comments:

  1. WOW! What a GREAT day you had!

    These are AWESOME photos! Especially loved the one of the overlook above the gorge. Stunning! You captured such beautiful color in all these shots.

    It's funny because I'm such a city boy, but there is a part of me that also loves spending time in the great outdoors; enjoying nature. You need that when you live in a city because it grounds you.

    Have a great Sunday!

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    1. I think being out in nature is a soul-restorer. And there is nothing like crunching through the leaves, looking at pure beauty all around you. I always feel better (although sorer) after a hike. Happy Sunday to you, too!

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  2. what wonderful pictures.
    and it warms my heart to read about the fun times you have with your son[s].
    I never had anything like that with either of my parents. maybe with my new little niece....

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    1. For all my parents did poorly, I will have to say they were good about getting us out into the world - on the lake, or camping, or hikes.

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  3. Lucky bug. Not only having such a great, scenic place to hike, (and getting a great capture of the fire) but having a kid who actually thanks you for the hike rather than grumbling the whole time and stopping for tick checks every few feet.

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    1. Ha ha! You know, he was a little unenthusiastic about going, but once we got there he was absolutely enraptured and already making plans to go back with his brother.

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  4. nice....some great sights along your hike...i love being out int he wild...lots of beauty out there beyond where the sidewalks end...

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    1. Absolutely. I found myself dreaming about having a little cabin in the woods.

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  5. Your last line about melted me into a puddle! What an awesome day you two had. I love every bit of it, except maybe for those incredibly steep stairs.

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    1. It melted me when he said it. I'm so glad he's not afraid to express gratitude - that will carry him far.

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  6. You got some great shots on your walk!

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  7. Its weird but the picture of your son with the fire, it looks like he's on fire. I had to do a double take when you were describing the shot. It looks like a beautiful place to spend the day hiking! Just think of all those calories burned with the distance you hiked!! Thanks for sharing your walk with us!

    betty

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    1. I had to laugh at the idea that my reaction to seeing my son on fire would be to be to make sure I got a good photo of it!

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  8. What an amazing hike and time well spent with your adorable sun. Seven miles is a lot, esp considering the climbing. I am envious of your nice weather. I haven't been outside walking in 9 days now.

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  9. I meant 'son'.......darned iPad doesn't let me do much correcting before it freezes.

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    1. And here I was thinking he looked like a sun because of the fire. :-)

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  10. What a gorgeous place to hike! Loved the fire pic, but my favourite was the one of the woods, right after it. Great shots....Could you send some of those cliffs and gorges down here please?

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  11. I'd be happy to, but they might get in the way of all those beaches!

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  12. i'm out of breath already! seven miles? most impressive and what a reward for your effort. it's beautiful, cs. the pix of your son in front of the fire looks like you. for a first moment, i thought it was you.

    love
    kj

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    1. He does look a lot like me, and I look like my father, and my father looks like his mother. There's a straight line back with all of us having the same features. It's especially striking when you compare photos of all of us as very young children.

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  13. So pretty...I had no idea that you had such gorgeous trails in your neck of the woods.

    Funny...my little one is a climber too. I have no idea where she gets it from because I am incapable!

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    1. We're surrounded by mountains here, so lots of trails.

      And this son has been climbing since before he could walk. Used to scare the life out of me!

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  14. When out in the woods I enjoy a good hiking trail as well.

    This one, that you and your son traversed looks like a great trail.

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    1. It's one of the best we've been on.

      And welcome!

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  15. Wonderful to have such a great trail nearby. I love the hiking, hope to be able to do it again soon. I love the photo of the gorge. Great shot.

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    1. I used to go a lot more, and want to make sure my son and I get out more frequently.

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  16. that a good amount of hiking - my hat is off to both of you.

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  17. I can take the cold, but not the rain. Looks like today will finally be clear.

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    1. I don't mind summer rain, but I hate cold rain.

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  18. That sounds like one awesome day, and I love that your son made up a song about being hungry and appreciated a hiking day with his mom! :) That hiking trail sounds like so much fun, I'd be completely into that kind of trek.

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    1. My son sings ALL the time. It's like a running commentary set to music.

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  19. I kept hearing that song "Happy Trails to You" as I read this. what a lovely shared experience with your boy.
    And those pics, remarkable...
    XO
    WWW

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  20. what a gorgeous hike (love that you still have color. the storm took care of any remaining leaves around here) and what a gift to be able to enjoy it with your son the way you and he both did.

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    1. It's nice having a kid who loves the outdoors that much.

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  21. I love that you did this together. It sounds like he's got a great sense of humour. I wouldn't want to climb down those stairs either.

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    1. He does have a fun sense of humor. I didn't mind climbing, but I went down them very, very slowly!

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  22. What a great day you had. The pictures are lovely and the overlook is gorgeous. So glad you got to share your day with your son!

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    1. Thanks. I feel like I'm storing up memories with my son.

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  23. What an amazing day! Are they always so filled with adventure? Now I have to tell you, those stairs? I might have slid down on my butt! They looked too steep for me:)

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    1. No, not every day. I have to work! But to tell the truth, one of the sets of stairs I did sit down for the first part of it.

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  24. You mean you don't have the urge to climb trees? They look really easy to climb. Or maybe it's just that your son makes it LOOK so easy.

    That steep staircase on the other hand does look rather treacherous....

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    1. I think they are easy when you are a full-of-energy 15 year old. Me? Not so much.

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  25. Thanks for taking us hiking with you too. Looks great. I too much prefer climbing upwards than climbing downwards.

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    1. You're welcome. I also find just hiking down hill a little harder on me.

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  26. oh niceee. very nice. we used to do a fair bit of hiking when we were young. we lived by the hills and the rainforest is a beauty. picnics were by the clear falls.
    good times.

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    1. I just love being out in nature, and the mountain/water combo is best for hiking.

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