Saturday, May 5, 2012

Spending a nice day in nature - Carter Caves Kentucky

This is my birthday weekend and I've been spending it doing all sorts of fun things!  Thursday I went to lunch with my sister, and yesterday a friend and I drove way out through the hills of Kentucky to hike the trails of Carter Caves State Park.  Since moving to the city a couple years ago things like nature trails and bubbling creeks haven't been that convenient so I was happy to get away for a day.

As I took pictures I realized it's just not possible to capture the experience in a still image.  Even video doesn't do it.  You have to be there - drinking in the sights and sounds and absorbing the atmosphere.  That's a big reason it's so important to me to start traveling soon.  There's to much I want to experience and a post card or TV documentary just can't replace being there.

As we entered the park we were greeted by this really cool rock formation.  It almost looked like it had been placed there on purpose to welcome us.

This rock formation is some 15 feet tall and what's really interesting is there's a tree growing right out of the top of it.  You can see the bottom of the tree at the top of the picture above, and if you go around to the back you get a really good view of the roots.

Isn't it amazing what nature does to adapt?  The trunk of the tree is probably 18" or so in diameter and the tree itself is at least 30 feet tall.  Probably more but that's my guess. Way cool!

After stopping at welcome center we walked the trail to the natural bridge, admiring the fauna along the way.  There's something about the GREEN of spring that's so vibrant!  I feel so alive when surrounded by all this color and beauty!

Here's a rock formation we saw along the trail...

I see a face in the lower section... do you?  And here's the tunnel leading under the natural bridge.

Not sure why my camera tinted it all green.  It didn't look green at all to my eyes.  The hike was very nice, and afterward we stopped at the creek to meditate and reflect.  Since it's my birthday I'm reflecting on how the last year went and thinking ahead to what I want for next year.  I have the big picture and now it's time to get down to the details.  All in all I spent about an hour sitting by the creek contemplating and allowing myself to melt into oneness with nature.  Very peaceful and enlightening too.  Can't wait to do a lot more of that in the near future!

Then we decided to tour one of the caves.  Not all of the caves are open right now due to an epidemic of White-Nose Syndrome, a fungus which is killing bats.  Bats are one of my favorite animals so I'm sad that so many are dying from this very nasty syndrome.

I didn't get a lot of good cave pictures but here are a couple.  This formation is called "cave jellyfish," which seems fitting.

Then there was this (rather blurry) picture of a hole in the ceiling of the cave.  Nothing special really except the shadows and rocks make it look like there's a ghoul smiling at us.  How cool is that!

As we were getting ready to leave someone noticed a "strange spider" hanging from a rusty metal gate latch.  Upon closer investigation we realized it was either new species all-together with 16 legs or, more likely, one spider eating another.  The white spider on the bottom was alive, though barely and the one on top was, we think, making a meal of it.   There ya go National Geographic.

After we were done we headed home, and got back into Cincinnati around 9pm.  Once again my heart felt heavy as we hit the I275 belt.  I can't wait for the day when I can spend an afternoon at a beautiful park like this, then hunker down for the night and continue exploring America the next morning.  Soon.... very soon :)

1 comment:

  1. GREAT pictures! I love the ghoul smile. Too funny! Also, that trunk root looks like a giant lizard morphed into a tree! LOL. Thanks for sharing.


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