On a hot, sunny day I spent a couple of wondrous hours roaming the Kentucky woods that make up the John James Audubon State Park just inside the Kentucky state line south of Indiana (and Evansville). Most of the time I wandered the trails that wind through the 335-acres nature preserve portion of the park. Audubon spent from 1810-1819 living in Henderson (the town that wraps around the park) and roaming the woods in search of birds and other wildlife to sketch and paint. One presumes he walked some of this same area, but there's nothing in the brochures that offer that fact.
On the premises is the Audubon Museum which houses one of the largest collections of his original art. Only partially because it was wonderfully air conditioned, I toured the museum and nature observatory (which was largely a round room looking out on a bunch of bird feeders). Included in the museum, and awe-inspiring, are several displayed copies of his Birds of America books, and I mean the monstrous originals, not the subsequent smaller reprints. These original tomes were issued in the most inconvenient size of about 30 x 48...and that's inches, folks. Not exactly sized for shelving on your typical bookcase. But back to the hike...after all, this is a hiking blog.
Besides lamenting that I forgot the bug spray (NEVER go in the woods without it Gary...), the park offers a chance to get away from civilization, in a hurry. Most trails I hike aren't remote enough to lose the sights and sounds of the modern world, but in this park those non-natural artifacts seemed to disappear quicker than usual. It wasn't long before I was huffing and puffing up and down the hilly trails and realizing the only sounds were my breath, the crunch of my feet, the incessant cicadas, and an assortment of bird calls. The park is known for its 20 different species of warblers and an abundance of other birds, such as great blue herons, green herons, and belted kingfishers, and mammals. Although I only saw some squirrels and tons of turtles, the park boasts frequent sightings of beaver, fox, deer, muskrat, and raccoons. I'm sure in Audubon's day there were probably black bear roaming around as well. Although the day was really hot, the trails were all shaded and survivable.
If one looks carefully, there is occasional color amongst the overpowering green and brown,
but these residents could care less about the beauty of a blue flower.
The path was rich with well-worn elevated footpaths and bridges,
but again, another oblivious turtle.
Sometimes the going was a little tough, as evidenced by this fallen tree in a most inconvenient spot. I'm sure someone heard this tree in the forest fall, despite that old saying.