Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Location: Lexington, KY
|Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 10:36 pm Post subject: Day 10 - 7 miles South of Highway 80 to Interstate – 75.
|Got off to a good start on the day, however, when I climbed out of the valley and onto gravel road, I meet up with a
Timber Rattlesnake. The morning was surprisingly cool and it was sunning itself in a sunny spot. It did not make any attempt to come towards me; however, it did assume a defensive position. I did not choose to move any closer to it than the zoom on my camera would allow. I got two good shots and left him be. I continued down the trail just a bit and came up on the Johnny Mac cemetery. There were several graves that were recognized only by the sunken ground and header and footer. Others were well recognizable, yet had been disturbed. The main headstone indicated that almost all of them had been born and died in the 1800’s. I followed and unimproved road and crossed a stream where I stopped for a water re-supply. The dirt road I used while climbing out the valley was severely eroded dumping tons of silk into the stream below, choking aquatic life and damaging the ecosystem there. On the ridge above the valley I passed several ATV puddles that had oil slick on them and in between ATV use and being open to rain were rutted out. I went into another valley and crossed a swinging bridge that crossed Sinking Creek and passed by an old campsite of mine that I used in past hiking trips.
Coming out of that valley I entered an area that had been cleared. The heat of sun was very obvious at that point and the few trees that were there did nothing to spare me from the sun. I passed by a SUV of sorts that had been torched and left, spilling its toxic contents onto the ground. Just across the trail from it was another pile of trash long forgotten? Out of sight out of mind right?
A couple hundred feet from the paved road that took me to Pine Creek Church I happened upon an interesting photo opportunity. I mostly dried puddle that I had just stepped through had captured more than just me and my trekking pole. In it were the prints of a turkey, deer, and a raccoon. It reinforced my perspective that we are living on the same earth. Those reading this are encouraged to come to their own conclusions as to what this means…
Pine Creek church, with out electricity or running water, sits on a small hill just off the side of the road that is acting as the Sheltowee at the moment. I took advantage of the covered picnic area in the heat of the day to eat lunch and use the hot pavement to dry out all of my socks at once. This drops a little bit of pack weight but every little amount counts when you’re carrying your life around on your back.
I crossed Pine creek, got some more water and then continued on to Cross hwy 80, a 3 minute glimpse of the real world before disappearing back into the woods. If needed I could have probably caught a ride into London. It is good to know your resources on the trail if you need them.
About 2 more miles down the trail I Crossed hawk creek using its Swinging Bridge and began my entrance into what I call “ATV hell” country. This very sad part of the trail (or lack there of) has been extremely exploited and demonstrates what happens when human recreation goes unchecked. Severe erosion was everywhere and was damaging the Rockcastle River watershed despite the sign at the entrance of this area that is easily seen from entrance from I-75, the destination I was going to for the day. The sign forbids vehicles to enter the area but I don’t think that anyone is paying attention to it. I was sure to document this area with many photographs to show exactly what is going on right underneath our noses. In some place the top soil had been cut 6-7 feet in the earth
Beer cans were strung everywhere giving a clue to the state of mind to the recreates that frequented the area. There were no trail markers to be seen in this maze of improvised ATV trails and I only got out by heavily relying on the downloaded track information that was on my GPS. Having gone through it previously also helped. About a mile from my destination I meet a guy that was riding his ATV. He asked me if I was lost and I told him that I was on the Sheltowee trace and was just passing through, heading towards the interstate. He looked at funny and pointed a wavering hand toward the direction I was already going and said goodbye after taking a drink of his beer and seating it back into its official beer holder. A little bit later, chasing the last rays of light, as usual, I made to I-75. I was early. A couple day to be exact and I called my father to come and get me out of ATV hell country. I am not even sure where I would have chosen to stay that night if I had camped. It was not exactly a place that you pick to “reconnect with nature” and the scenery was that of a war zone. I would have stayed in the military and gone overseas if I wanted to see that. While I was waiting for my ride at the 49er fuel center. (Exit 49 on I-75.) The employees inside were a little more than curious to why I was carrying a huge backpack and why I was so dirty. When they heard about where I came from they immediately offered me food from their grill and asked to have a seat and enjoy a good hamburger and french-fries. I had just finished them when my dad arrived. I was sleeping in a bed that night but I couldn’t help but wonder how a whippoorwill could sing to me if I was in air conditioned room.
The Photo Gallery - Day 10
Last edited by sheltowee wanderer on Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:51 pm; edited 1 time in total