Thursday, November 3, 2011

Road Trip 2011 Part 2: The Charleston Adventures

Over Fall Break we packed up, together with our good friends and neighbors, and headed for the Charleston beach.  The first leg of the trip went so smoothly that we were actually in danger of arriving far too early!  Since we had some extra time to spare we decided to visit the swamp.

Specifically Four Holes Swamp in the Francis Beidler Forest, just an hour or so west of the city.

While planning the vacation I had come across the following video and fell in love with the beauty of the place.

Reality being, well, reality, we visited at the dry time of year so much of the video's marshland was just dry, leaf covered ground.

For a nominal fee that goes toward preservation, we wandered along the boardwalk, nature guide in hand, trying to spot some interesting wildlife.

Much of the ground was covered by palmetto plants.

One eerie, out-of-this-world find was the cypress knees sticking out of the swampy areas.

Tall virgin growth cypress and tupelo trees towered above us, creating a dense shade (which really messed with my camera settings).

From quite a distance we spotted this alligator resting along the banks of the lake.

Surprisingly, we noticed few mosquitoes - something we had assumed would be present in blood-sucking droves.  Apparently the mixture of salt and water.....or marsh-i-ness....created a habitat unfit for the pests.

We did see quite a few of these little guys!

The Francis Beidler Forest was a great "pit stop" to visit and stretch our legs during the long drive!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Raven's Run

If you live in the Lexington area and have never been to Raven's Run, you need to go.  Now.

Earl and I spent an afternoon hiking there many years ago and always planned to go back, but didn't take the time until last month.

An easy hike through the forest (or grasslands, if you wish) leads to a beautiful over look of the Kentucky River Palisades.

As Libby is pointing out, the trails close at 4:00pm.  There is a gate leading to the nature sanctuary that is closed and locked around sunset, so make sure you get out before then!

Danger signs are always a great thing to see on a family hike with a precocious preschooler. =)

Libby was quite frustrated that I had a hand on her at all times while we sat on the overhang.  These rocks had a small ledge underneath, and then a dropoff to the river about 50 feet below. 

The view of the palisades is spectacular! 

On the hike back to the Nature Centerwe opted for the shorter, flatter route through the grasslands.  By this time we were kicking ourselves for not bringing a bottle of water for the kids.  Surprisingly, they both made it with relatively littlecomplaining or whining.

Although strolling through a sea of goldenrod in the height of fall allergy season was its own form of torture, we couldn't resist taking the time to snap some pictures of its beauty.