Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Location: Lexington, KY
|Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 10:21 pm Post subject: Day 8 - Moon bow trail to Holly Bay campground
|Fog had settled in during the night and left the river looking surreal and peaceful with wisps of mist curling of the waters surface. The previous night had been a restful one leaving me energized for the day ahead. I had a good start on the day and had enough time to enjoy a relaxed breakfast of oatmeal and granola bars and of course my morning tea. To my left I saw a small campsite that was slowly stirring with life. Several kids and a couple of adults were milling around making their own beginning of a good day.
The morning had a very calm and cool feeling to it that almost seemed to suspend time. It was going to be a good day. Breakfast was finished and I continued on the moon bow trail portion of the Sheltowee Trace towards the Mouth of the Laurel River. The Moon bow trail followed the Cumberland River, keeping it on the left within sight and hearing. I watched as the sun slowly burned through the fog that hung loosely above the river allowing rays of sun to filter into the morning forest. I passed by Bark Camp Creek shelter and Star shelter. They offered shelter to groups who were passing through the area. While this very convenient I have never seen anyone actually use these shelters. Tents and in my case hammocks seem to be more popular. Just a little further down the trial I crossed Bark Camp Creek with out the aid of a bridge. It had torn away in a flood a couple years ago and a large rope had been installed in its stead which was also missing. A little extra care was all was needed to cross. About 10 minutes after crossing Bark Camp Creek I walked up on a doe and its fawn. There was a moment of mutual surprise and in that time I somehow managed to draw my camera and take a couple of shots. At one point they actually seemed to relax and accept my presence, however, a second later the doe was gone and the fawn in hot pursuit following the distress sounds it mother was making. I was able to capture this scene as well. It took about another hour before I arrived at trail head of moon bow trail. As I walked from the trail head and down Bee Creek road to the Mouth of the Laurel boat ramp, where the trail picked up once more, I saw more wildlife. There was a black snake warming its self in the sun. It took off as soon as I got close to it.
Continuing past the boat ramp and on my way towards laurel lake dam, I noticed that it was getting around lunchtime so I traversed the hill I was on down to the head waters of the dam. This was just above the area where boats werenít allowed to pass and the shallow, more rapid water began. I went for a VERY cold swim. The water that came from the bottom of Laurel Lake and through the dam had to be at least 40 degree F. The rocks on the bottom of the river were very slick with algae growth and did not allow for easy movement. After eating lunch on a big rock, I took an afternoon nap until the sun woke me. Taking advantage of the sun exposed rock; I had dried all my cloths in the sun while I was sleeping.
It was time to press forward to Holly Bay Marina and nearby campground. The trail rose quickly out of the valley and onto a ridge top which lead me straight to Laurel Lake and its dam. As I crossed, I looked down and to the left and saw the damís hydro-electric power plant. The trail continued down the road and just past the dam and entered the woods at the Laurel River Dam sign. Following the shore of the lake, it traveled in and out of coves and crossed over several access points to the lake until it reached Holly Bay Marina, a floating dock, restaurant, and store. It is a good stopping place for recharging batteries, making a phone call and picking up supplies. I did all three. Something interesting that I noticed was that all of the beef Jerky that was for sale was wrapped up in clear plastic with a sign indicated that it was not for sale due to the recent mad cow disease scare.
I was supposed to meet a friend that had a house boat there but I was a couple of days early and had to leave a note letting them know that I had been in the area and had passed. The campground itself was just a couple of miles from the marina and its facilities. Any hiker that chooses to stop by would be rewarded with hot showers. I found empty spot and claimed it in the name of Jim for the night. I did not feel like walking all the way to the front to pay for the night and would be out early the next morning. I used two metal poles, included in the site, used for hanging gear to string up my hammock. I walked the short distance to the shower house and scrubbed the dirt of the day off as well as some overly ripe clothes. Once I back to my site I fixed up a hot meal, eating an additional portion of food to kill pack weight, and hung my cloths out to dry. All around me could hear the sounds of families doing family things and wondered if they realized that there was a freeloading camper next to them.
The Photo Gallery - Day 8