By ADAM FALLUJI – STAFF WRITER
This past winter seemed as though it would never end.
One of Danville’s worst winters in recent history, there were a number of times where it appeared as though the weather was finally picking up, only to drop right back down within 24 hours.
Although Kentucky’s weather is notoriously temperamental, it seems as though we can at last safely say it’s time for spring (maybe).
After months of gray skies, frozen trees, and hiding away in cozy dorm rooms, it may seem like Kentucky’s outdoors doesn’t have much to offer.
But Kentucky’s countryside is home to dozens of nature trails and nature preserves, many not too far from campus, that are gorgeous in the sunlight.
Kentucky’s nature preserves are served by dedicated staff and volunteers, and most have trails open to the public, so long as they don’t disrupt the environment or violate any restrictions.
The Raven Run Nature Sanctuary trail has over ten miles worth of trails. Set within the 734 acre nature sanctuary dedicated to protecting 200 species of birds and nearly 400 species of plants (including 40 species of trees), the trails are moderate and well-marked, making it a popular casual hiking place. Raven Run is 45 minutes away from campus.
Red River Gorge has dozens of hiking trails of varying difficulties, as outlined in the Bluegrass Group Sierra Club’s book Hiking the Red. In addition to walking the trails, Red River Gorge is great for biking. You can also enjoy a night out in nature by picnicking or camping out.
The Gorge is a popular site for hunting and fishing, and has numerous waterways for boating and swimming.
A National Natural Landmark and National Archeological District, the Red River Gorge includes numerous natural bridges, rock shelters, and waterfalls.
The Gorge is furthermore ranked as one of the world’s top rock climbing locations due to its sandstone cliffs.
Crawling through its caves and bird watching are other popular attractions at the Gorge.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is also a site for over 40 miles of hiking and biking trails. A beautiful country landscape with waterfalls and wildflowers, Shaker Village is America’s largest restored Shaker community, and only 20 minutes away from campus.
The Kentucky River Palisades’ trails are within the 900 acres of land in the Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve. A number of trails show off the Preserve’s 220 foot limestone cliffs.
In addition to numerous nature preserves, Kentucky is known as a stage of Civil War conflict for the battle of Perryville. The battle’s history is commemorated at the Perryville Battlefield State Historical Site, which often holds informational hikes. Perryville was the most destructive battle in the state, resulting in 7,600 casualties. The site is 17 minutes away.
We live in an increasingly urban world. In a small town like Danville, we aren’t as detached from nature as those living in bigger cities, but there’s nothing quite like being surrounded by a (mostly) untouched environment.
Remember to take a breath of life from the increasing piles of work in these last few months of school and get some sunshine.