Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kentucky Borderline Weekend!

Trailing Arbutus growing along the Yahoo Falls trail.


Kentucky Borderline Weekend

Dana & Kenny Koogler 

Sat. April 6 & Sun. April 7, 2013





   We had planned to meet up with our friends Shannon & Ronnie for a days ride.
They suggested a place that was familiar to them, but new to us.  We met them in Winfield, Tennessee. Winfield is in north east Tennessee and lies sixteen miles from the Tennessee/Kentucky border.   We also met Tiffany and Eric for riding.  They were new to us too, but we all hit it off just fine! 

      Capuchin Creek turned out to be beautiful and tremendously fun!  Saw quite a few others out enjoying the pretty day and four-wheeling.   Our friends showed us all around the area.  The trail goes past some pretty cascades, aquamarine streams, through many crossings.  We saw beautiful forests and some early Spring wildflowers on the first part of the trip down near the bottom of the mountain.

      



One of many crossings of Capuchin Creek.


Eric and Tiffany on the grizzly.


Capuchin Creek looking downstream from one of the bridges.


Upper Jellico United Baptist Church of Christ.  I am not sure what that means.
Tiffany says her cousin was shot while attending this church!   Through the window while sitting in a pew no less!


Trout lilies along the trail


      The loop we rode headed ever up the mountain to the top.  Lots of strip mining and oil and gas wells in this part of the country.    Ronnie had told us the terrain would drastically change from the bottom of the mountain to the top and he was not kidding.
One odd thing that happened on the ride up was this:

    We were sitting there allowing for a bathroom break.   Another rider.. a man walked up and was asking how to get to a bar he called Bears or something.   Bairds?  Shannon tried to tell him where it was and he wanted to argue that her response was wrong.  What?
My feeling was why ask if you already know, dude?  Eric tried to tell him to wait a moment that Tiffany would be back and she knew where it was.  He must not have been too concerned about finding it and left. He was going to keep his own counsel at that point.   We later talked about it and said he'd be mighty thirsty by the time he got there if he was going the route he said!

     We went past a place they call Hole in the Earth.  It is a rough spot that was strip mined. Now folks use it as hill climbs. Apparently lots of folks have gotten hurt or killed there.   We just stopped long enough to check out the view and moved on.  It was very dusty up top of the mountain and not very pretty.  
      

View from the top of Chitwood Mountain. Ronnie says its prettier when the leaves are on the trees and I'm sure that's true.

      We finished up our loop. The men washed the four-wheelers off.  We parted company with Tiffany and Eric in Winfield and followed Shannon & Ronnie back to Whitley City, Kentucky.

       We got to see where our friends live. It is a beautiful area and I could be quite happy there!  We got to meet one of their lovely daughters and their little grandson, Bransen!
We were grubby dirty so we all decided to get cleaned up and go get some dinner.
Kenny was not satisfied with the accommodations in Whitley City and  opted to go to Corbin to pick a motel.  We were winging it this trip having no reservations or solid plan.
We got there and found that our timing could not have been worse! All the snow birds were flying back north for the Spring.  Spring Break was ending and gaggles of college students and family groups were traveling I-75 North.  Corbin was a Boom Town for the night!  The hotel employees were in a foul mood because they were so covered up busy.
Soon Kenny was in a bad mood himself and I knew to just hush up.  I was in Yessir, yessir, three bags full" mode.  We found a room at a reasonable price and got the LAST room available at this hotel.  Whew!

      A quick shower and text message and phone call to Shannon and we were feeling better about life.   It all worked out ok.  We met our friends and had a leisurely delicious supper at Applebees.   A few drinks to relax with and some funny, interesting conversation.    It was great to spend some time with this excellent couple.  It was good to get to know them a little more.

    Ronnie and Shannon were nice enough to have allowed us to park our RZR at their house so we could get out the next day to hike without concern over it being unattended.
Big Thanks!

            We slept well for the night and the next day we ate breakfast and hit the trails.
We have done very little exploring in Kentucky and were really looking forward to it.  Shannon & Ronnie would liked to have hiked also, but had family commitments to keep.
We stopped by Cumberland Falls Resort Park and viewed the main falls first. It was very powerful and pretty.



Cumberland Falls, Whitley City, Kentucky.

    Next we found some info on Eagle Falls and hiked down to that. It was a 2.5 mile round trip hike and not very hard. 

Eagle Falls is gorgeous and is about 70 feet high! Despite all the people visiting Cumberland Falls we only saw two people at this falls! It is only about 1000 ft below Cumberland Falls, but you have to hike the trail on the bluff to reach it.

     We moved on next to see Natural Arch.  It was a very easy hike and so pretty!


Natural Arch viewed from the overlook.

    We went to find Yahoo Falls next.   We hiked to see the falls and the one overlook, but we saved the Yahoo Arch for next time.    Yahoo Falls Scenic Area was lovely!  I would like to do some more exploring here.  The wildflower display was very plush!



Yahoo Falls is 113 ft high. The flow today was excellent. It dries up to a trickle in Summer.

   We enjoyed our brief hiking adventures and hated to leave.  We still had to go back by the house and get the RZR hooked up before we headed home.   We stopped by and did that and visited briefly with Ronnie.  We said we'd plan to hike Princess Falls, Lick Creek Falls, Yamacraw Bridge, and Yahoo Arch next time. They are lucky to live in such a pretty area with so much to do as far as outdoor activities!  We are lucky to have met them!

    We made the drive home and felt very happy and blessed. We managed to fit a good bit into the weekend!

Here is a video of Rhonda Vincent & The Rage singing "Kentucky Borderline".  A favorite tune of mine.  We have only just begun exploring that area and I look forward to getting to know more about our friends and that region! 

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