Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fall on Pine Mountain

Last weekend we took off for the mountains, specifically, Pine Mountain State Park. Pine Mountain itself is about 125 miles long, from Jellico, TN to Elkhorn City, KY, and runs along the Virginia border. Unlike much of Eastern Kentucky, it has NO coal, and has been spared the terrible destruction of coal mining over the centuries.  Kentucky Natural Lands Trust  has been working since 1995 to preserve this wilderness area via purchase or conservation easements, and now protects over 25,000 acres. Pine Mountain State Park brags that it is the first state park in Kentucky. The dining room overlooks the mountains and valleys, and in the morning, the valley is often filled with fog in an ocean of fluffy white clouds.
 Fall is my favorite time of year, when the October blue sky fills all the spaces between the trees...
... and the sun shines down through the leaves shine with gold and red.
We particularly like the lichens growing conveniently at eye level. In the spring and summer, I want to know all about the wildflowers and ferns. But when we walk along giant boulders, I want to study lichens. We found some British Soldiers too, but they were too small to photograph well.
One trail led back to Honeymoon Falls, which had water in it despite the dry weather.
Bittersweet berries were glowing orange on their bushes. Apparently these are the non-native variety. The native Bittersweet only has berries on the tips of the branch.

Clear Creek trail was built on the old rail road bed, when the rails were removed. I enjoyed a trail that only had a 6 foot change in elevation!

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