Olive Hill, Kentucky – Winter has formally arrived, so what higher time for a bit kayaking, mountaineering, tenting or spelunking?
Considered one of Kentucky’s nice state parks, Carter Caves State Resort Park (parks.kygov/olive-hill/parks/resort/carter-caves-state-resort-park), will host a Winter Journey Weekend (www.winteradventureweekend.com) Jan 26-29.
Carter Caves, simply 130 miles south of Columbus, options 2,000 acres of wooded hills crisscrossed by greater than 30 miles of trails and studded with greater than a dozen caves.
And in the course of the annual Winter Journey Weekend, the park can also be the location of greater than 200 “area journeys” providing a formidable array of actions from cave tenting to meditative mountaineering; winter tree identification to winter stargazing; cast-iron cooking to creating string from supplies present in nature. (No, really.)
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Lots of the area journeys are free, others require a price of from $5 to $15, or $30 for the “Mock In a single day Expedition,” a fake, multi-day descent deep into the earth with very actual wild cave spelunking throughout an in a single day go to to the Cascade cave system.
Caves are the guts of the park, and caving expeditions are an enormous a part of the Winter Journey Weekend.
Along with the in a single day expedition, guests can discover a variety of less-visited “wild” caves requiring quite a lot of expertise ranges and dedication.
The occasion affords a uncommon likelihood to expertise Tar Kiln, a really massive cave system with an entrance on non-public property that’s solely open to most people throughout Winter Journey Weekend.
One other cave on non-public property, Wilburn Cave, famous for its many required crawls and dearth of headspace, will even host a tour in the course of the weekend.
And a number of other totally different excursions of the park’s unlighted Bat Cave can be supplied, from newbie to “excessive.”
The park will provide normal lighted excursions of its Cascade Cave and X Cave in the course of the weekend. However even these caves, acquainted to many previous guests, may also be seen in a brand new mild – or extra precisely, a brand new “darkish” – all through the weekend.
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Excursions can be supplied with the lights turned off and the way in which lit solely by guests’ flashlights, or, on a Historical past of Mine Lighting tour, carbide miners’ lights.
A Cascade Gone Wild tour will even lead cavers off the common lighted vacationer paths into wild sections of the huge cave system.
Winter Journey Weekend additionally has loads of above-ground actions to select from.
Carter Caves is a well-liked website for mountaineering and rappelling, and occasions for freshmen and extra skilled climbers can be supplied.
Paddlers can select from two totally different floats down wintery Tygarts Creek Gorge: A six-mile, bring-your-own kayak float; and a special six-mile journey with canoes supplied.
For these thinking about much less bodily strenuous actions, occasions embody an out of doors cast-iron cooking class utilizing Kentucky sport meats; starting archery and tomahawk throwing and conventional weaving.
Guests can discover a full checklist of the occasions on-line, with full descriptions, occasions, price, recommended tools and a rating of issue from 1 to 4.
Though advance registration is required for most of the occasions, there’s additionally a sequence of “drop-in” field-trips together with a Scorching Chocolate 5K Enjoyable Run or Stroll, instructional courses, rope-climbing contests and a visit via the Kenny McCoy Corrugated Cave , an excessive cardboard maze that simulates actual cave circumstances.
For these seeking to keep in a single day, the park’s 28-room lodge and two campgrounds can be open in the course of the occasion.
Organized youth teams of eight or extra can camp in the course of the weekend totally free, with prior registration and approval.
Lodging can also be obtainable within the close by cities of Olive Hill and Grayson.
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Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be served at Tierney’s Cavern Restaurant within the park lodge.
Occasion admission is $25 or $20 for kids ages 6 to 14. Register at www.winteradventureweekend.com.
For extra details about the Carter Caves area and surrounding space, go to the Kentucky Wildlands regional tourism affiliation at https://www.explorekywildlands.com/.
Steve Stephens is a contract journey author and photographer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.