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Day 6 - Barren Fork Horse camp to Cumberland Falls

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sheltowee wanderer
on trail
on trail

Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 30
Location: Lexington, KY

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject: Day 6 - Barren Fork Horse camp to Cumberland Falls Reply with quote

Note to self…no more late nights with random people that I meet on the trail. I ended up oversleeping and the heat of the sun woke me. With the heat of day closing in I quickly threw some oatmeal in my stomach for breakfast, refilled my water container and got on the trail. I had a hard time finding the trail. Trying one that looked promising, I came very close to the Sheltowee, however, there was an excess of dense successional growth that blocked me and would not let me make it through. During this adventure I discovered exactly how hot it was during the day without the tree cover and almost laughed at myself in the pursuit of shade. Following the horse trail I came back to camp and asked directions from a man and his wife who were returning from an afternoon ride. The man, a professor of French and film studies at Miami University in Ohio, had a detailed map that showed all of the local horse trails as well as the Sheltowee. His map showed the fastest way down to the trail that ran along Barren Fork Creek. He said that I should have gone straight down into the valley, that housed Barren Fork Creek, after passing a sign near the highway 27 trailhead that said “no horses beyond this point” as opposed to following the trail to the right of the sign, past the prescribed burn area, which took me into the horse camp. Using the new directions I quickly found my way into the valley and out of the heat of the sun. It is amazing what a difference some trees can make. As soon as I made my way into the valley I came across a sign that warned of abandoned mine hazards. Some of the hazards included mine shafts with deadly gases, lack of oxygen, unsafe ladders, unstable explosives, and deep pools of water. I passed by many of these mines but only stopped to record a couple that was along side the trail. The draft of cold air blowing across the trail made it easy to locate many of the mine shafts.

Due to the high volume of horse traffic the trail had become worn in many places and needed repair. Local red rock was dug up in a central location along the trail to fill in the areas that needed attention where the horses had worn it away. I thought it was a good example of using resources that were locally available as opposed to importing rock elsewhere and doing more damage by trying to make the appropriate changes. I ate dinner at 18:00 before heading up and out of the valley on to Hwy 700 which. In the effort to make up some time I decided to “road walk” my way to Cumberland Falls, my destination for the day, via Highway 700 and 90 instead of taking the trail. Foot problems that started a couple days before proved to be problematic and required extra time and attention especially when traveling on hard surfaces. Along the way I noticed a house on the side of the road that told of a solider that had just come home from the war. Needing some water and knowing that I still had a walk ahead of me along a ridge top, I knocked on his door and asked for water. He took one look at me and told me to come inside and if I would like anything to eat. Having just eaten, I politely refused but thanked him for his hospitality. Looking at his gear and uniforms neatly stowed in his living room I told him it was nice to have him back from overseas. He looked at me again and realized that I too had been in the military. We both nodded in silent confirmation. He said that he was going back soon and that he was wasting his time over there and that despite what soldiers say in front of a CNN camera, most felt the same way he did. I somehow already knew this and agreed. He gave me my water container filled with ice water and wished me well. I did the same.

Upon arriving at Highway 90 some nice locals offered me a ride to the Falls and again, without much arm twisting, I accepted, knowing that it was going to save me about 3 miles of road walking and 5 blisters. The breeze in the back of the pickup felt good as well. We crossed the bridge that Dewy Stevens helped to build but I did not have a chance to record its position on the GPS. They dropped me off at the visitor center and asked me if I needed to go anywhere else for the night. I thanked them for their kindness and grabbed my gear and hide it behind a pile of garbage behind a nearby building until I knew where I was sleeping for the night. I climbed the steps and trail to Duponte lodge and used the phone at the front desk to call home to wish my dad happy Fathers Day and to give everyone an update of where I was. I really needed to check my email, my main mode of communication, to contact one of my professors at Berea, however, the dude at the front desk would not let me check my email because he thought he would get fired. I made my way back down to the falls and walked out to the close up viewing area of the falls and to my surprised I saw the moon bow for the 1st time. I was not expecting to see it for another night but due to the exceptionally clear night and brightness of the moon took a successful photograph. Steve Campbell, a resident from Mount Vernon KY, was there and was equally interested in the moon bow and photography. He gave me several suggestions on how I could capture the moon bow since it is regarded as somewhat of a challenge. Between the advice of Mr. Campbell and posted information that the park had displayed about photographing the moon bow I was successful in getting some decent pictures. Two of the best pictures had exposures settings of 8 sec and 30 sec.

Retrieving my pack, I looked for a place to camp out of the public eye and found it down in the beach area just below the falls. There were many trees to hang my hammock from and a surplus of wood to have a nice fire. If trash had any significant value when collected I would have walked away a millionaire that night. It was everywhere. Among the sand, wood, and trash I walked up on three people who were enjoying themselves. Randal Stevens, the father of Randal lee Stevens and friend, Will Douglas were fishing just below the falls and not having a problem with catching any fish. They immediately invited me over to join them and I soon found myself cooking the drum fish that they were pulling in using a method that Randall’s father had shown him. As soon as they caught a fish and made sure it was actually dead (very important) it was run through with a stick and left just above the coals until the skin and guts basically fell off. I did take some practice to get the timing down just right but it proved to be a fast meal when one perfects the technique. I ate 3 drum fish. Some lemon and beer would have been nice... 

Hope is nature's veil for hiding truth's nakedness.
--Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-1896)

The Photo Gallery - Day 6
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