Kentucky and The Land Between The Lakes (LBL)

I’ve been visiting my son in Kentucky this Christmas break.  I flew into Nashville via Denver from Seattle last Sunday and we’ve been spending time together for the past few days.  It’s been quite some time since I last saw him and I’m glad I came.

Exit sign to Fort Campbell

Exit sign to Fort Campbell not to far from Gracie

It was sunny, bright, and blue skies when I arrived on Sunday afternoon and the drive from Nashville to Gracie, the small town where he lives was uneventful.  I don’t often have the opportunity to view the scenery when on the road as I’m usually driving.  This time, however, I was the passenger and I took every opportunity I could to look at the scenery as we were driving along the freeway

Rolling countryside near Ft. Cambell, KY

Rolling countryside near Ft. Cambell, KY

What struck me first was how flat Kentucky is…everywhere I looked it was either flat or gently rolling terrain – so different from western Washington where we’ve lived for the past 26 years with the Cascade mountain range and Mt. Rainier in our “backyard’.  And, before western Washington, we spent three years at the foot of the Alps when we lived in Bad Toelz, Germany.  Spending a week in an area that’s relatively flat was a rather interesting experience.

Barn near Gracie, KY

Barn near Gracie, KY

Farming is the major industry in the area around Gracie and it seems on every farm there’s multiple barns of all sizes, shapes and degrees of usability.  The other thing that I noticed is the sheer number of graveyards in the area.  The interesting thing is their locations: They can be on farms, in the woods, in the nearby national park, towns, by primary and secondary roads, they’re simply everywhere.  Some of the grave yards have only two or three graves, others much larger, most had simple headstones, others a mixture of simple to ornate headstones

Today my son and I drove out the Land Between The Lakes (LBL) National Park about 25

LBL Information Sign

LBL Information Sign

miles from Gracie.  The LBL has an interesting history and the national park is the result of the area being dams being built and much of the area being intentionally flooded.  The national park in unique in some ways as there’s shooting ranges within the park as well as a buffalo and elk preserve.  Within the park are a number of lakes, developed hiking trails, camp sites, and areas where you can drive on many different, semi-developed roads that lead to the lakes.

Hematite Trail Entrance

Hematite Trail Entrance

We walked around the Hematite lake – about three miles in different types of terrain.  The trails were pretty well developed and on the western side of the lake, the park department has constructed a long walkway of “plastic” board due to keep people from walking on the vegetation. As we walked along the lake perimeter, we saw many ducks and Canada geese on the lake.  There were also eagles flying overhead and everywhere I looked I saw bright red Cardinals flitting from tree to tree all around us.

After we walked around the lake our next stop was the buffalo and elk preserve.  This is a vehicle only preserve as the buffalo can be but a few feet from your car or truck as you slowly go down the circular road.  This area has a five dollar entrance fee and if you’re in the area, it well worth your time to go through the preserve.  All-in-all, it was a good day to be outside, even if it was cloudy and cold with snow on the ground.

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