Pennyrile Hike & Photo Walk

Pennyrile Hike & Photo Walk

View from the top of the dam.

Many times during the year, we all make short trips that seem routine.  We tend not to bother documenting them.  After all, a half hour drive isn’t Really a Roadtrip is it?  But our lives are made up of these moments.  If we only pay attention to the big ones, we miss out on the chances to share our daily experiences with others.  

One of our frequent stops is the state park at Dawson Springs.  Every year, Pennyrile State Park has photo weekends, one in the spring and another in the fall.  Various members of our local photography club participate in these and compete for awards.  However, the park also holds nature hikes and other events throughout the year that we sometimes attend without thinking of them as an actual TRIP.  This past weekend several of us joined Naturalist Becky Clark for a morning hike along two of the park’s most popular trails.  

All trails in the park are clearly marked.

We started out behind the lodge, climbed down the natural limestone steps to the dam, that creates the lake, and walked across the top.  Becky gave us a brief history of the park before we proceeded down to the base of the dam for a quarter mile hike along the Clifty Creek Trail.

 Since our group was familiar with the area, we tended to lag behind, more interested in taking photos than listening to Becky’s talks.  She was very patient with us as we caused her to repeat several times, “Our photographers are catching up now,” before the main group could move along.

From Clifty Creek, we crossed the road and headed up the quarter mile Indian Bluff trail which, while being the same length as Clifty Creek, is a bit more strenuous.  By the time we got back to the lodge, my Fitbit claimed we had climbed up the equivalent of 10 flights of stairs.  The trek was leisurely though and the information Becky presented along the way about various wildflowers, trees, wildlife, and cliffs was interesting.  

The weatherman played an April Fools joke on us with his forecast.  Instead of sunshine and warmth, we got overcast and a chilly breeze; but it wasn’t too cold and it didn’t rain on us.  The cool spring has made some things late in blooming, but we did get some nice wildflower shots and the rocks on Indian Bluff are interesting any time of year.   After the organized hike, Jim and I decided to check out one of our favorite spots in the park.  A small waterfall hidden in the woods at the end of the beach.  It has a nice flow, at present, due to all the rain we’ve had lately.  Overall, it was a pleasant trip shared with friends and natural beauty.

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We tend to dismiss places that are close to us as though travel is required to make a place interesting.  One of the things I hope to do over the next few months is demonstrate the fallacy of that way of looking at things.  Kentucky has many beautiful spots.  In May, we will be paying a brief visit to the Red River Gorge area.  This trip will be mostly reconnaissance.  We’ve never been there before.  Years ago, we talked about making short trips to places in Kentucky and Tennessee, but then we got too caught up in heading cross country.  This summer maybe we will begin to correct that.  


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