By: Ken Brooks, Preserve Volunteer Monitor
Exercising and enjoying the outdoors often takes a back seat during the cold, winter months. Yet, during this time of the year nature reveals that it is alive and well, and awaiting your arrival.
The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky’s Garrard County nature preserves are open for hiking from dawn until dusk – even during these winter days. The nature preserves — Dupree and Sally Brown/Crutcher/Wallace — each offer a number of well-marked hiking trails. Dupree even includes a trail designed to be easy to hike – especially well-suited to young kids and families.
Hiking in the winter has lots of advantages:
- Fewer Visitors – These preserves have visitors daily but the number of hikers is much less during the winter months, especially as compared to spring and fall.
- Lack of Leaves – Without leaves on the deciduous trees, it is much easier to see – especially the geologic features such as the area’s many sink holes, rock outcroppings and cliffs.
- Snow and Ice – While these weather conditions often make the trails more slippery and require caution, they also create spectacular scenery. The ice formations along the creeks at the Sally Brown/Crutcher/Wallace Preserve are especially noteworthy. Additionally, the animal prints in the snow at both sites will surprise you. Clearly there are lots of permanent residents that stay out of sight when you visit – deer, raccoon, coyote, fox, rabbit and turkey prints are usually visible along the hiking trails after a fresh snow fall.
- No Bugs – Kentucky in the summertime is buggy. In the winter, the nature preserves are bug free!
Take advantage of hiking in the preserves in early 2014.
Both the Dupree and Sally Brown/Crutcher/Wallace nature preserves can be reached by exiting west on Rt. 1845/Rogers Road from US 27 in Northern Garrard County. At the end of 1845, follow signs to Dupree to the right and signs to Sally Brown/Crutcher/Wallace to the left. Check out the the Conservancy’s website for more informationat: nature.org/Kentucky.
Join Us! Keep in touch with The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky at nature.org/Kentucky or on Facebook to learn about future events like the upcoming wild flower walk at the Sally Brown/Crutcher/Wallace Preserve taking place Sunday, April 6th from 1:30 PM until 4:00 PM. Typically about 30 different wild flowers will be visible along the trails at this time of year.