London, Kentucky (Let’s eat and hike!)


Our first hike at Cumberland Falls State Park. This should have been a clue to what eastern Kentucky is made of!

As said in our last post, we came to this area for a few reasons. We are continuing our trek back to Virginia through Kentucky, to spend about 5 weeks with our grandsons. Both were born in August, so we plan to do a lot of celebrating as the oldest one turns three and our baby turns one.

You can read all you want about an area, but until you are actually there  start walking around, you never know what you will like, what you will discover or how the weather will affect your plans! We really had no expectations, just that it sounded like Kentucky was a beautiful state and we planned to find that out – and we can confirm, it is full of beauty! But we’ve had so many unexpected surprises along the way. Most good, but eastern Kentucky hiking is not for the faint of heart!

On our second day here, July 7, 2016, we headed to south for 15 miles on I-75 to Corbin, Kentucky for two reasons. Well, three. First, I learned about Corbin from my step-dad. This was his home! I loved him dearly, he was an RV traveler at heart (and did so for decades) and our biggest cheerleader when we decided to try it.  He tried so hard to get us here every August for his annual family reunion. We just could never work it out, so here we are, eight months after he passed from this life into heaven. Read on for the other two reasons….

I remember the picture of my mom and Cliff standing here, too. Yep, mom was here!

I remember the picture of my mom and Cliff standing here, too. Yep, mom was here!

My first “real” job at age 16 was at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). Oh, I have such great memories of how wonderful our manager was, how he pushed us for excellence in our customer service and how we had to keep the restaurant area, bathrooms and the kitchen CLEAN! Sparkly clean was his standard. Bill’s memories of KFC was that it was a drive through only. Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed the museum part of the Original KFC Restaurant here and the food is still finger-licking good! Although I only eat the grilled chicken now, I’d sure love to each a few pieces of extra crispy! And the coleslaw is the best! My step-dad loved biscuits and honey, so as I doused mine in honey, I had to smile as I thought of the great times we had.

Colonel Harland Sanders was a man of excellence. His life history is fascinating and full of surprises. You’ll have to visit the museum to learn more. But here are a few interesting tidbits, first quoting a bit from Bio.com:

Colonel Harland Sanders was born on September 9, 1890, in Henryville, Indiana. At the age of 40, Sanders was running a popular Kentucky service station that also served food—so popular, in fact, that the governor of Kentucky designated him a Kentucky colonel. Eventually, Sanders focused on franchising his fried chicken business around the country, collecting a payment for each chicken sold. The company went on to become the world’s largest fast-food chicken chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sanders died in Louisville, Kentucky, on December 16, 1980.”

What was not said what that he was born poor and then his dad passed away when he was six. He became the man of the household, helping his mom by cooking. His mom remarried when he was 13 and his step-dad didn’t particularly like her children. Harland didn’t particularly like school by now so he dropped out and moved out of the house. He then learned how to make a living and supported himself. Thus his cooking skills and work ethic were combined by the age of 16 when he lied about his age and joined the army. The commander soon learned the truth, after Harland was transported to Cuba in a ship – and was seasick the whole way. He was discharged and returned to the US. His next profession was that of a salesman of which he was very good. But that didn’t last long nor did his next job. He finally found his niche when he bought a gas station in Corbin. And for some reason, he began inviting customers in to dine with him and his wife. And now you know enough to want to know the rest of the story! You’ll just have to come visit the restaurant and museum – or search for more on google….Personally, I liked the museum better!

As you can tell from our picture, it was a rainy morning, but by the time we had eaten lunch, the sun was shining!  So off we were to the beautiful Cumberland Falls State Resort Park – to burn off those extra calories we consumed. Now I have seen a lot of family pictures at the falls and none looked like what we saw. So I guess the storms had stirred the river up and it was not as sparkly as I had envisioned. But before we saw the Falls, Bill said let’s get our hike in while the sun is shining. Little did we know what we were in for….I guess we didn’t read enough about hiking in Eastern Kentucky. We do know we plan to hit about 4 or 5 of the top places to hike according to “Only in Your State.”  So how hard could it be?

When we hike, we use maps and I always use some sort of tracker, the past few years, Map my Walk app. I’ve used it to keep track of my mileage. But for this trip, I’ve added the All Trails app to my phone and have been using it as well as it shows elevation. A must in these mountains.  Bill has always had a GREAT sense of direction, in fact, our daughter and I say he has his own internal GPS. But on some hikes, we’ve needed it to help get us back on track. Using one of the great maps we got at the Tourism Center, we planned a six + mile hike with the picturesque Dog Slaughter Falls as our reward. Oh, and we do try to read some sort of reviews about the hike.

We even highlighted the route, which went to Dog Slaughter Falls.

We even highlighted the route, which went to Dog Slaughter Falls. We parked in the parking area and headed north…or so we thought.

Bill leads the hikes, so he gets the cobwebs and if he has the camera, gets some interesting pictures. Is that a butterfly in there? 😀

And turnabout is fair play, I usually get pictures of him after we’ve been through some challenging areas. I’m just taking a break to catch my breath….

If Bill looks a bit uncertain, hot and sweaty, it's because he is all of these!

If Bill looks a bit uncertain, hot and sweaty, it’s because he is all of these! Look at our obstacles!

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And look at these obstacles! At least the trail is well-marked. Although we are looking for Dog Slaughter Falls. We still haven’t seen any signs pointing we were on the right trail.

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While it’s not easy to read this sign, we do know it doesn’t show Dog Slaughter Falls, our goal….

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Oh, could this be Dog Slaughter Falls? At least it is a bit cool down here….But we haven’t gone three miles, which was our estimate to reach them.

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So on we go. Many parts of the trail were nice, although roots and rocks are somewhat hidden. You have to watch your steps. And I’m watching our miles as we hike on.

End of the trail for us

Here we are at three miles. Bill climbs over this tree but the other tree made it very challenging. I didn’t want to risk ripping my capri’s! End of the trail for us, so back we hiked.

We met two young men on the trail. They said they had gone over four miles and were on the “loop.” We didn’t see any loop hiking in this area. If there had been a loop, that is always our preference. But let’s just say this was a fabulous hike, many challenges. It was very humid so I’m not sure how much was sweat and how much just moisture, but we were both pretty drenched by the time we got back. The elevation wasn’t as steep as we thought….only about 450′ in three miles. If you want to see more photos from this trail, go here.

I didn't turn this on for the first half mile, but my other app said we went over six miles.

If you lay this over the paper map, it looks like we were on the right trail, but we weren’t. What did we do wrong???  One goes north and the other goes south….I didn’t turn this tracker on for the first half mile, but my other app said we went over six miles. And had I had it on when we started, it would have shown a little more elevation. But our bodies sure felt it!

Here we are, smiling after a great hike. Photo taken by a SeaBee. He's stationed in Virginia Beach so we reminisced about our old home town!

We are wet with sweat, but smiling after a great hike. Photo taken by a SeaBee. He’s stationed in Virginia Beach so we reminisced about our old home town!

And of course, we then found the place where my family always took their pictures when in Corbin and at the falls.

Cumberland Falls!

Cumberland Falls! I cropped out an area we could have stood, but no one was there to take our picture. They are most noted for the moon bow. Of course, we weren’t there when we could have seen it.

Trail sign

Oh look here!!! After we took pictures of Cumberland Falls, walked around a bit more, we found the sign we had been looking for! Not only the sign to Dog Slaughter Falls, but a choice of loops!

Oh well, we are learning how to hike in Kentucky. Granted, it is July, so it should be hot. But we are also in State and National FORESTS, so that means shade, right?  I really hoped to finish our write-up about our time in London with this post, but I do have two more hikes to go and then church on Sunday.

It was an amazing church service, which focused on the aftermath of the horrendous Dallas massacre of five Police Officers (they are memorialized here) and the wounding of seven more. We don’t want to be preachy, but it seems everyone has an opinion and so many are responding negatively.  It affects each of us and we’re still reeling from the massacre in Orlando, and all the seemingly senseless shootings of young, black men. I’m a former law enforcement officer, so I know what police are faced with….we are trained not to shoot unless our life or the life of someone else is in danger of being shot….We can’t Monday morning quarterback these shootings. It takes an unbiased review by the proper officials, not tried in the media. As it turns out, some alleged facts were not so factual. But regardless, the loss of any human life is to be mourned by society.

Anyway, we really try to avoid the news, but we do care about what is happening in this great country of ours. We really care about our grandsons futures, for our daughter and her husband, for our many nieces, nephews and our grand nieces and nephews. We have so many. What happens in this country happens to every one of us. So at least once a week, we do take time out of our adventures and try to really focus on what life is really all about.  So with that, here is just one scripture I stand on:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

 

10 thoughts on “London, Kentucky (Let’s eat and hike!)

  1. Lovely! Thank you for that virtual vacation, I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We’ve passed the Corbin, KY exit a few times towing our fifth wheel and always wanted to check out the museum and restaurant but were hesitant to try it with the fifth wheel. I enjoyed your pictures from your hike at Cumberland Falls. I have to say you are brave to do these hikes this time of year. I like to wait for cooler weather when the snakes and chiggers aren’t likely to be around! I’m enjoying your tour through Kentucky. Do you have plans to visit the Kentucky Horse Park? If not, I would highly recommend it. Great campground there, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If it isn’t busy, you could fit in….or leave it at the Flying J and drive over. We didn’t get to check out the Flying J, though. We went at lunch time and the parking lot was nearly full. There is a really nice state park nearby. The hiking was great! We didn’t see any snakes….and the bugs were non-existent as well! Now humidity was another thing. Glad we don’t mind it….

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  3. It is so easy to get off trail even with maps. It seems everywhere we hike there are so many “social” trails that have been created that following THE trail is tough. Looks like a nice challenging hike even if you didn’t find the falls. A reason to return:) You reminded me why I don’t hike in the east…humidity! I so don’t enjoy the humidity and the insect it brings.

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    • We really like trails with blazes! We’ve never seen so many “social” trails as in this area, Red River Gorge and a few in Natural Bridge State Park.
      At least we found a nice little waterfall, although small, it was refreshingly cool there! Yes, we always miss something so we know we’d have something to see if we return. 😉

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  4. Bob Betty Wise

    Enjoying your “hike” thru Kentucky. Seeing trails (marked) make me think of the pioneers – no marked trails, no map, no insect repellent(!), carrying everything they owned w/them!!! Can more easily visualize what they faced by seeing the forest as you are showing it. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting. Trust me, we’ve said it more often than not, how’d they do it??? And when we think of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars…. So hard to fathom.

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  5. Great post and good pics, especially the one of the both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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