Kentucky Tour

In September 2003 we took off for a "date week" in the Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky. We highly recommend the tour if you enjoy hiking, waterfalls, sandstone arches, and caves.
We started the tour at Corbin, KY, home of Kentucy Fried Chicken. Dinner with the Colonel tasted just like KFC anywhere. The museum was a blast, complete with the original kitchen and a reconstructed hotel room. And, no, he wouldn't share the secret recipe despite Ann's charms. But he did turn very pale! (Our KFC Photos)
Our first adventure was in Cumberland Falls State Park. The river was high because of heavy summer rains, so the falls were even more beautiful than usual for the summer. We missed the moonbows by a week, but we did see rainbows. As we were leaving the park, a terrible storm front moved into the area. Hiding from it in the gift shop was fun, but expensive. Unfortunately, we still got drenched when we gave up and ran for the car. (Our Cumberland Falls Photos)
The next day we hid from the rain underground in Mammoth Cave National Park. Luckily the mammoth wasn't there, but there was plenty of room for him in some of the cave's rooms. The formations were gorgeous, though other-worldly. (Our Mammoth Cave Photos) We headed back to Sommerset, KY, so that we could dine in a restaurant that was touted in Southern Living magazine. After a long search we finally found it only to discover that it wasn't open during the week. Not ones to be easily discouraged, we found a movie. The $2 tickets for Open Range sounded like a bargain until we realized that the screen was only slightly larger than some large-screen televisions. We enjoyed the movie, the popcorn, and laughing at our crazy evening adventure.
On Ann's birthday we visited the Big South Fork National Park. We hiked into Charit Creek Lodge, dropped off our packs, and hiked off to explore the impressive Twin Arches. The arches were formed by headward erosion along a narrow ridge. They are considered to be the largest arches in the Big South Fork and quite possibly in the Eastern United States. The evenings' accomodations at the lodge were similar to that at its sister lodge, LeConte. They do trump LeConte with hot showers, but cannot top the mile-high views and sunsets over the Smokies. We caught Mars shining brightly in the darkness of the hollow before we retired to read by kerosene lamp. (Our Charit Creek Photos)
South Arch
Atop the Arches
Needle Arch
Slave Falls
The next day we hiked to Needle Arch and Slave Falls. Both were beautiful. Needle Arch is a thin, delicate arch that was left standing alone when the back of the rockshelter of which it was once a part eroded. Slave Falls flowed with its spring volume because of the heavy summer rains. It has a colorful history as a refuge for runaway slaves. The rugged terrain made it safely inaccessible and the rock outcroppings provided shelter. (Our Needle Arch and Slave Falls Photos)