no, but we can look busy!
We also passed through a lot of dry counties, easily identified by the "last chance for liquor!" stores lining the county border. (These stores usually also sold guns and ammo - neat!)
Southern Kentucky - and most of the south, for that matter - was as foreign to us as anywhere else we'd been on this trip. Everyone was nice, and things were sort of familiar, but we definitely didn't feel at home...
... despite Portland-esque senses of humor ...
... and this pleasant break from the Jesus warnings
And then we got to Daniel Boone National Forest.
a brief but amazing stay
Had we known about this scenic area of southern Kentucky ahead of time, we probably would have planned to spend a LOT more time there.
but probably not during a terrible thunderstorm
(our campsite was dead center of this for a bit)
There are a few camping options in the area where we stopped for the night. Some are more resort-like and family-oriented, others are geared toward fishing enthusiasts. We fit neither of those categories so we chose a quiet, empty state park.
Grove Campground near Cumberland Falls
(site A15 was A-OK)
(site A15 was A-OK)
We waited out the rain and then set up the tent, we waited out the rain some more and reheated leftovers, and then I think it rained some more... Isn't spring camping fun?!
it's no strawberry ale, but it'll do
The weather was more cooperative the next morning so we stopped by Cumberland Falls - at 125 feet wide, it's considered the "Niagara of the south." We knew nothing about it beforehand. We just saw it on the map and decided to check it out. Sometimes that's the best way to travel.
hard to grasp the magnitude with nothing for perspective
but it's LOUD
but it's LOUD
Cumberland Falls is surrounded by resorts and hotels for people who try to see the moonbow on clear nights when the moon is full. Our timing and the weather were both a bit off for that, so we'll call it our reason to return to Cumberland Falls someday.
not a moonbow
We also stopped by the Natural Arch Scenic Area.
All we really did was walk about a mile out to the Natural Arch but in talking with some locals who were hiking around the area, it sounds like there are miles and miles of scenic trails and interesting rock formations all over southern Kentucky. If you find yourself in the National Forest, the ranger stations are apparently really helpful - stop by and see what they recommend. (If you've been, leave a comment with what you recommend!)
Speaking of scenic, the road to Mammoth Caves was not too shabby either.
driving between a rock and a hard place
Before Mammoth Cave we stopped in Glasgow (a "moist" town - a new-to-us term meaning that they serve wine and beer in restaurants but you can't buy it in stores) to inquire about distillery tours. Sadly, we were too far into the Bible belt for any of that debauchery but the nice lady at the visitor center did suggest we check out their free South Central Kentucky Cultural Center. We took a quick look; many of the artifacts would be more meaningful to locals but it was still interesting.
a replica of the olde tyme "general store" -
We may not have toured the distilleries, but no Kentucky visit would be complete without a couple of wild turkeys, right?
Our next Kentucky visit will definitely feature a Bourbon Trail tour and a quest to figure out why Louisville thinks it's so weird. For now, though, we'll hold onto our fond memories of the unexpected natural beauty of this unassuming southern state.