Saturday, June 17, 2017

Tennessee and Alabama, Notable Places

I have been slacking as usual;) Must wrap up our past couple of weeks though as I am flying out to see grandchildren for about a month!

Just outside of Paris, Tennessee we visited Fort Donelson NB.  A former battlefield of the Civil War, it is now a beautiful parklike area on the Cumberland River.  A pair of eagles has a nest in the park to which they make annual returns and we were fortunate enough to see a parent and the 2 juveniles they produced this year!

Fort Donelson National Battlefield

The fall of Fort Donelson
in February 1862 was
the North's first major
victory of the
Civil War
the Cumberland River

Fort Donelson's
You can see the bald eagles white head against the tree trunk on the very left and the 2 juveniles on the far right

Good IPAs
at a nearby brewery

Of course, Paris must have an Eiffel Tower!

A must see area in Alabama!  We spoke with
a visitor to the preserve who lives in
Alabama and he said "Who knew there
was something this beautiful in Alabama!"

A short but very steep trail down to
Little River.

 After the hike we did the 11 mile scenic drive and stopped at all the points along the way:

Grace's High Falls

Crow Point Overlook

Canyon View Overlook

Mushroom Rock

Little River Falls

Little River Falls up canyon near the bridge

Little River Falls

 DeSoto State Park is located in the boundaries of Little River National Preserve.
Lower DeSoto Falls

Upper DeSoto Falls

 Last week, we stayed just outside of Chattanooga, TN.  Our first and only real hike there was on top of Raccoon Mountain.  The mosquitoes were/are horrific and after that first hike we confined our walking to the campground area.  Too bad because it is beautiful.

reservoir on raccoon mtn
I will have to finish Chattanooga after my trip to see grandchildren!!!  Back in about a month!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace and Mammoth Cave, KY

As we were in Kentucky and near Abe Lincoln's birthplace, we had to check it out.  There is no actual cabin or exact spot of the cabin where he was born at Sinking Spring Farm but the farm his family owned has a beautiful monument dedicated to Lincoln's birthplace and inside the monument is an original cabin that was, at first, thought to be Lincoln's but later proved to have been built later.

After visiting the Lincoln Birthplace NHP, we drove 10 miles to see where Lincoln actually remembered growing up and that was on their Knob Hill farm:

Lincoln family bible

Inside the monument is an actual cabin probably just like Lincoln's that was in the area of the farm only built sometime later

Sinking Spring, how the Lincoln family got their water and the farm its name

In the nearby town of
Hodgenville had a town square with
a statue of Lincoln as in Washington DC and one of him as a child
facing each other

maybe my best pic
of a bluebird!
Our last big adventure in Kentucky was Mammoth Cave National Park.  Pretty cool because for starters we had to cross the Green River by ferry just to get to Mammoth Cave!

There are many tours offered in this cave as it is the largest cave system in the world.  At this time over 400 miles have been surveyed and geologists believe there could be 600 miles of undiscovered passageways!  We decided on the longest tour, a 4 hour tour.  We walked 4 miles under ground!  Wow! Most of it was like walking through a man made tunnel, it was crazy!

we could see a quarter of a mile straight down this passage!

the cathedral room

In the parking lot at Mammoth Cave;)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Carter Caves State Park, KY

Carter Caves State Park was just a few miles from our campground in Grayson, Ky.  We visited the park 3 times while we were there as it was so close and had so much to offer.  Very scenic trails with natural arches, bridges and caves!  I highly recommend a stop here for anyone visiting this part of Kentucky!

I took several hundred pics in this park and could easily have taken more;)  So tough to just put a few on the blog!

Smoky Bridge, note waterfall on left and Mike and other hikers on right near the natural bridge

Raven Bridge

this turtle was not shy!

Fern Bridge

view from other side of Fern Bridge

the opening to Natural Bridge, note the "sky light" hole

walking under Natural Bridge, 

Mike heading out of Natural Bridge

heading through a bit of a rock labyrinth to Shangra La Arch
Shangra La Arch, you can see just a bit of light through the arch

going through the arch there is a ladder to climb to the top

Mike heading back under Shangra La Arch
There are 3 different cave tours at the park.  We choose to do the Cascade Cave tour the largest of the caves with an underground river:
heading in to tour Cascade Cave

bat colony of 20 or so
a nice size river flows through this cave

Cascade Bridge

Mike could not make it through the pass between Cascade Bridge and the cliff wall;)

Box Canyon Trail

US Army Corp of Engineers Park, Iowa City, IA

Mike and I love it when we can find a COE park because they are always on water and our last stop at Coralville Lake was no exception.  A bi...