Over the weekend, we postponed out planned hiking adventure because I wasn't feeling too hot on Saturday. I took a 4 hour nap instead and when I woke, Manfriend and I walked up to the Arboretum, around the loop, and back, for what ended up to be a nice 5 mile walk. It was just what I needed.
Sunday we set out for new territory and chose to explore the Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve which is located not too far from the Natural Bridge area here in Kentucky ( naturepreserves.ky.gov/n
Our plan was to cover every bit of trail on the map for between 5-6 miles of hiking.
We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day! The sun was out, the temp was in the mid 70s with a slight breeze and the humidity was much better than it had been all week. It was very reminiscent of fall. We first struck out toward the Knob. The trail to and from the Knob was rated as "strenuous" and, indeed, it was pretty much straight uphill. In the pic below you can see how we just kept plodding up and up. The red arrow is pointing to Manfriend to show you perspective. Apologies for my big ol' thumb blocking the top of the pic, lol
Before you knew it, we were at the top of the Knob and the view was gorgeous! The brochure for this area says that "this is thought to be the place where Daniel Boone first looked upon the Bluegrass Region in 1769. The view from the summit of this 730-foot-high knob provides an outstanding panorama of three regions of Kentucky: the Bluegrass, the Knobs, and the Cumberland Plateau."
I was told by a man at the top that to the far left was the "Knobs", the middle was the Cumberland Plateau, and the right side was the Bluegrass. It all pretty much looked the same to me. He also pointed out where Richmond, KY was and where I live, Lexington, was off to the right. I did see some shininess of building rooftops in the far distance but there's no way I would have known what I was looking at if he hadn't told me.
Here's another pic, looking toward the Bluegrass area:
This nature preserve had gorgeous sandstone as well as shale everywhere. It was weirdly satisfying to hear and feel the *crunch crunch* of the shale beneath my feet when walking through creek bed. Here is some detail of the stone at the Knob.
Once down from the Knob, we set out on the "very strenuous" rated Sage Point Trail. The rating was accurate. My FitBit registered 126 flights of stairs climbed during this hike! Unfortunately, this trail was poorly marked and we got lost. We've become very experienced at getting lost on unmarked trails this summer! The trail dead-ended on a service road which we followed on a steep graded descent for approximately a mile until we decided to turn back and return to our last known trail marker. It was brutally steep at times but it took far less time than I had expected. I just kept thinking how miserable I would have been doing this hike 3 months ago. I was very impressed with my own fitness progress!
We finished off the hike with the Quarry trail and, after running into and dismantling quite a few spider webs, we made it back to the car very satisfied and well worn out. We did see some huge unfinished millstones but I forgot to take pics.
In the end, FitBit said we hiked 7 miles. It felt like more but, as Manfriend pointed out, we mostly hiked vertical distance, rather than horizontal.
It was a good place and one we will return to.