Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hike 2011.081 -- Honker Lake and Honker Bay, Land Between the Lakes NRA, KY

Hiked Tuesday, November 8. In part because of their definitive nature (loop of known length) and in part because of their scenic character, I've visited Honker Lake and nearby Hematite Lake more often than any where else in Land Between the Lakes. My first visit here is written up as my Hike 2011.053. My second visit was Hike 2011.057. Both were in August.

Didn't get back to Honker again until early October, by which time the lake level had dropped significantly. I returned just under two weeks later, as Hike 2011.072. But today was the first time since the end of August that I actually hiked all the way around the loop, again. The trail map is here.

Parked in the gravel lot near where the Long Creek trail begins and ends, then walked the gravel road to the Honker Lake trailhead. Leaves blanketed the ground.

Another change I noticed was that new, white, plastic diamond-shaped blazes had been pounded into trees at regular intervals. I don't recall the blazes from previous hikes, although that's no guarantee that they weren't there. However, I'm pretty sure they're a recent change, to compensate for the trail being somewhat obstructed by leaves.

Most of the trees are now leaf-less, although there were a few places where colorful foliage stood out against otherwise downed and dead leaves. Most of the color was something narrow-leaved (not maple, oak, or sycamore). However, a few yellow leaves that looked to be maple were still about, and sumac was still somewhat common.

Trees with foliage were somewhat more common right on the peninsula between Honker Bay and Lake Barkley.

From here, I walked out towards the end of the peninsula. Wasn't sure what the rule was on going out that way since I think some areas around here are designated as a wildlife refuge. There was no signage prohibiting entry. Nonetheless, I proceeded only briefly out to see Lake Barkley. One large grey heron had to fly away from me a few times. Felt bad about that, which is part of the reason why I didn't want to go too far into that area. I was actually hoping to spot some eagles, again, but did not see any.

Returned to the dam between Honker Lake and Honker Bay, then crossed over and returned towards near the nature station. I took the formal trail that heads up to the parking lot in front of the nature station (closed Mondays and Tuesdays during this season--it'll close completely in late December, I think), walked across the lot, and continued on the trail on the other side.

The actual Honker Lake trail is supposed to be 4.3 miles. Add about 1/5 of a mile to get from the trail to my car and back, and at least one mile for my extension along the peninsula, and I figure at least 5.5 miles for the day.

Didn't take too many pictures today, in part, because my new SD card is defective. It wouldn't format, so all I had was the camera's internal memory. I reduced the picture size from 12 megapixels to 8 megapixels, which let me take about 20 pictures, which was just enough for the day.

Mid-70s even after I got back to the car (4:30pm CST). Would have had maybe 20-30 minutes more of hiking time if I needed it. Tomorrow's going to be in the mid-50s as a high (probably around midnight tonight), with the temperatures dropping all day, winding up in the mid-40s by tomorrow night. Not sure, but this could be my last shorts-and-t-shirt hike for a while.


  1. Wow, it's certainly fall there! Enjoy!

  2. Yep, late fall, already. The good news is, it's almost term break, so I'll be able to come home in a few weeks.