Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hike 2011.071 -- North-South Trail, Land Between the Lakes NRA, KY (Part 9)

Hiked Tuesday, October 11. Hiked 9 miles roundtrip today, if the signs on the trail can be trusted. Best estimate is there are less than 12 miles of the North-South trail left for me to walk -- One long day if I had a car shuttle, or two pretty short days if I keep doing there-and-back hikes.

The starting point today was near Duncan Lake, although I never saw the lake. From the Trace, I turned left on LBL Road #132. That's just a little bit north of the where the second road from the Nature Station enters from the right. The hiking map for the North-South trail seemed to indicate that Road #132 would be directly across the Trace from Road #133, but that was NOT the case. Also, the trail map makes it appear that the connector trail from the Nature Station runs along Road #132, but that is also not the case. Instead, I saw a stake marking that trail right across from the Trace from where #133 enters.

Once on 132, I drove about 1.6 miles, staying on the "main" road at each fork. The road is gravel but easily passable for passenger cars. At 1.6 miles, I saw a wide road spur head off to the left, to a gate. I drove that way and was rewarded by the sight of white North-South trail blazes on either side of the road, right at the gate. The trail on the left headed south. There was a barricade across that trail, with a "Bridge Out" sign on the barricade. However, given the lateness of the season and lowness of the water, I doubt that a missing bridge would be a serious factor. In fact, after I got back from my walk to the north, I walked a brief distance south on this trail, and saw no immediate difficulties. Don't know if there's another bridge missing further down where crossing the water might be an actual issue, but I suspect not.

Nonetheless, my hike this day was to go north from here, with the goal of reaching Road #114, where I had completed my last hike on the North-South trail. Mileage indicators on signs I saw later in the day gave a distance from here of just about 4.5 miles one way, or 9 miles for a roundtrip.

Somewhat unusually, there were no green mileage signs where I started the trail, nor any for about 3 miles. There was a map displayed at the Road #309 crossing (probably less than 1/2 mile from my starting point), but no mileage indicators there. Fortunately, on most (but not all) road crossings, there was a stake labeling the road number, so it was pretty easy to determine my position and confirm my direction of travel.

Still some moths and butterflies drinking from the flowers, but fewer monarchs. I only saw one today, and none the past hike.

Leaves have been changing and falling for weeks, although I am pretty sure we have not yet achieved "peak" color. Many trees are only partially changed, with a few branches of colorful (red or yellow) leaves, but most branches still green. Other trees have already dropped their foliage. Not sure what peak will look like, but I'm thinking we're probably 1-2 weeks from that.

Given this sign at the south end of my hike (when I went a brief distance south of my road trailhead), I know there are only about 12 miles more of hiking I need to take to finish my journey across the entirety of the North-South trail.

Although only going 9 miles, it seemed like I was out there a long time. Didn't confirm my departure time, but did not get back to my car until after 6pm. Long before then, I had some pretty long shadows and a low, red-shifted sun, which I used to advantage on some of my flower pics.

Earlier, I came across this very well-constructed bridge. It's one of several of the same design I have observed along the North-South trail, so it looks like they're planning on building more permanent crossings along the way.


  1. I have since learned via a Facebook page post that the "moth" is actually a "common buckeye butterfly."

  2. Nice to see the leaves changing colors out there.

  3. Still kinda spotty, though I'm not sure what "peak" looks like around here.