Lilley Cornett Woods
Lilley Cornett Woods is a state-held forest managed by EKU (Eastern Kentucky Univ.). it's an interesting set-up in that the only way to tour the forest via a guide from EKU, b/c it's one of the largest 'Old Growth' forests left in KY. in old growth, we're talking various Oaks, Beeches, Hickories, and Hemlocks that were seedlings when the 'white man' first arrived on these shores- 500 yrs old or more. they're damn tall. the canopy in such an old forest seems to reach up so much higher than in the local park. many of the trees had minimal-to-non-existent branches or foliage until they reached 40 or 50 feet up. there are very, very few 'old growth' forests left in KY b/c the timber/lumber industry has had such a strong presence there. the extraction industries, King Coal and Lumber, has taken a heavy toll on this area, using the resources but returning little to nothing in infrastructure. nothing like the sweet cycle of poverty. this forest was land donated from some cantankerous coal miner, Mr. Lilley Cornett, who refused to sell the timber rights. our hike in Lilley Cornett took about 2 hours, slowly taking in a rather pristine landscape. our guide- who's name we managed to not get- informed us of the trees, wildflowers (or actually their plants b/c it's not wildflower season) ferns and flora along the way. i've added in this one pic showing the "trail", which is to say it's pretty hard to discern and that's the way they and we both like it. there's also a longer hike, but we chose the shorter due to the boys. it was a great choice b/c they were a little bored; the pace was slow and steady and too informative for their preferences. it was great though. on the way out we saw a doe and 2 fawns grazing the low pastures near the entrance. there is nothing magnificent in this Preserve other than its unmanaged appeal. a delightful morning spent.
This is my shot looking back down the 'trail' that we just crossed. though this pic isn't all that small, the trail is almost indistinguishable from the florest floor in this image. that's one reason for the guide, but much more that's the reason for the 'Woods', as closertonature Preserve instead of a as a rec park. great stuff!
the boys were bored to tears with tree and plant names, but loved this Red Spotted Newt we found on the log.
the wife, guide, and i also got a good giggle out of this most-interesting fungus, the Elegant Stinkhorn. "my what a big mushroom you are". the 'Elegant' Stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans) should NOT be confused with the more graphic 'Common' Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus), a natural image much more dareisay salacious than any flower Georgia O'Keefe came up with.
for me, this is a new wildflower, the Rattlesnake Plantain. this is apparently a common woodland wildflower, and moreso an orchid. very pretty.