Tag Archives: Carter Cave

A Deer Between Two Fears

Smokey Valley Lake in Carter Cave Park, Olive Hill KY
Smokey Valley Lake in Carter Cave Park, Olive Hill KY

On our way home from Carter Caves in Kentucky, my Honey and I both had moments of fear. Each of us had a moment  that the other took care of. My date did not know I protected her from one of her fears and she did not know that she took care of one of mine. In between these rescues we had our favorite fawn sighting.

I kept her from seeing a snake—before going home we stopped to kayak and swim in Smokey Valley Lake. It’s a little 45 acre lake in Carter Cave Park. Just as I was about to help my Honey in the kayak, I spotted a water snake. He was dashing about in a decent sized puddle beside the lake. After her reaction to the falling branch I shared in Happy Hiccups With My Honey, I didn’t think it prudent to let her actually see a snake. So I suggested she get in from the other side of the kayak (with her back to the snake). I kept my eye on the varmint while she took the front seat, shoved off from shore and climbed in my seat behind her…melt down avoided.

Ready to climb in Sunny Delight
Ready to climb in Sunny Delight

Then we found a fawn—We got a rare moment as we were exploring the lake. One of us spotted what looked like a deer in the grass about a football field away. We stopped talking and my Dear put down her oar. I quietly turned the kayak without a splash and inched toward the fawn. For about 20 minutes we crept closer and enjoyed this unusual site. About two yards up on the shore in tall grass we could finally see two ears and a dear little deer face. It was a fawn nestled down where he thought no one could see him. He was out of sight unless you were in a boat. The fawn stayed still until we got within 15 feet of the shore. I guess he finally decided that orange thing out in the water (our two seater kayak named Sunny Delight) might be sneaking up on him. He jumped up and ran for safety.Fawn nesting older

And wore life jackets like diapers—There is something about being out in deep lake water that just gives me the creeps…don’t know why. I didn’t want her to see me struggle and I sure didn’t want to miss time swimming together…so I just jumped in and pretended I wasn’t concerned. What was so cool was that she taught me a trick from her many summers on the lake in Kansas when she was a child. If you flip your life jacket upside down and put your legs through the arm holes you can sit in it. Do this at your own risk, of course, since life jackets are not made to wear like a diaper—but I loved it. We bobbed around in the water and talked for a hour or so. Then we did our best version of a seal flopping up on an iceberg to get out of deep water back in the Kayak.

Kayaking in Smokey Valley Lake Kentucky
Kayaking in Smokey Valley Lake Kentucky

I took her home and put these wonderful memories in the pocket of my mind. So glad to bring them out now and share them here.

Pondering Your Path

Have you found out later that someone rescued you from a fear? I’d love to hear your story.

Happy Hiccups With My Honey

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In yesterday’s blog I shared about our Carter Cave family outing. During those few days there were some other moments worth highlighting.

The first hiccup was when she thought we were being attacked by a bear—We arrived a little ahead of my sister and family and spent some time down by a nearby creek. It was a special romantic time of tender closeness that dating couples try to find. Our bliss was disturbed by a crashing sound in the tree branches about 40 yards away. Wow, my outdoor loving companion thought it was a bear or a mountain lion and had a meltdown. Had she not been so obviously stricken with fear, it would have been funny. I did my best to calm her with the facts about the sounds she heard. Since she is an intelligent thinking woman and she was beginning to trust me already, she latched on to my words as tightly as she had to my ribs. She relaxed as she choose to believe that the wind had worked loose a branch and this chunk of wood made a path for itself as it fell to the ground.

The second hiccup started when I parked in a handicap parking spot—I was so star struck with her by my side that I did not notice the big blue handicap symbol that I parked over top of. Later on in our dating, I got her lost in the woods because of this same power of distraction. I left my truck all night in that spot and should have gotten a ticket. The next morning I pulled out to move to another spot and went the wrong way into a dead end. She was so pleased to have this effect on me that she was amused. On our last day, my level of distraction was even higher. It was 11:00am, an hour past check out, and I had done nothing to even prepare to leave. I might still be standing there if my lovely guest had not asked if I would load her things from her room into the truck. Startled back to reality, I ran to the front desk and asked for leniency. Thankfully the front desk folks were sympathetic and didn’t charge me more money.

Pondering Your Path

Sometimes hiccups aren’t really hiccups—they are just memories that you will cherish along the way. Can you remember a time when you behaved so silly because you had stars in your eyes?

Carter Cave Kentucky

During the third week of July we went to Carter Cave Kentucky to hike and hear bluegrass music. This is another great way to combine interests. We both love live music and hiking. We also threw in a little cave tour just because.

In a cave opening on Horn Hollow trail
In a cave opening on Horn Hollow trail

The park is pretty big so for reference for directions, the resort is 30 miles west of Ashland KY. We went North on I-65 out of Nashville TN, then East on the Bluegrass Parkway. Then we wiggled around the west and north edges of Lexington to get on I-64 East. We took exit 161 for US 60 east. We stayed on that for 1.5 miles and turned left on KY 182 north. After that we just followed the signs to get the Lodge. The latitude and longitude according to the website is N 38.36902 W -83.12372. I did not mark this one myself so I can’t validate the accuracy. It took us about 5 hours with a couple of little stops.

Curious formations in a rock wall along Horn Hollow Trail
Curious formations in a rock wall along Horn Hollow Trail

This trip was actually my sister’s fun idea—she and her family were going on this adventure and they invited us to meet up with them. It was probably a sneaky way for my sister to gently interrogate my sweetheart if the truth were told. My Honey accepted the invitation when I told her that I had planned to rent her a separate room since we weren’t married yet.

We arrived in Olive Hill Kentucky, introduced my Honey to my bother and his wife and enjoyed dinner at the Smokey Valley Truck Stop. They can find the most unique yummy places to eat.

Then we went to a blue grass concert in a cave.

Band stand inside a cave!
Band stand inside a cave!

It was so cool! A bring your own chair event but be careful. Don’t unfold your chair under a steady drip from a stalactite.  The acoustics were great and the husband and wife band were truly gifted.

The trail we choose was the Horn Hollow trail. It was a two mile loop with some cave entrances featured along the way. It is scenic, hilly and takes you from the ridge to the bottom of Horn Hollow.

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Here are two links to help you get more information if you would like to  go do this too.

http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/carter-caves/trails.aspx

http://parks.ky.gov/!userfiles/aParkBrochures/Maps/CarterCaves.pdf

this cave is about the size of a 1.5 man tent and dry
this cave is about the size of a 1.5 man tent and dry

You may notice that the trail description says it’s 1.5 miles and the map says it’s 2.0 miles. This is something to watch out for and very common. A hiking venue website will sometimes have conflicting information about trails. Then when you get to the trail, you may find a different distance altogether and confusing unmarked trail crossings. I think this happens over time as trail maintenance workers make adjustments for the changes in the forest. Hikers often create unmarked trails that after a while start to look like the main trail too.

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This trail was a good choice for the mix of adults and children from the toddler my sister had in a carrier on her back to the “old man” of the group…me. We had a blast soaking in the sun, enjoying the shade and exploring the cave features.

Pondering Your Path

Would visiting a park be a good way to combine interests and get in some hiking? What park would satisfy the vacationing desires of a group of your family or friends?

Oh, by the way…my newly found hiker honey passed the sister scrutiny!