Sunny skies and warmer weather draw people to The Parklands – even me! As I make my way to the Ben Stout House in Turkey Run Park, I like to envision what life in this area must have been like in the early 1800s. Horse rides on an old dirt road, the smell of camp fire lingering in the air and the sound of cattle seems like the typical day! But times have changed this area.
Cruising on the parkway winding through Turkey Run Park, I pass bikers on the Louisville Loop, people walking their dogs, and families fishing at Boulder Pond, but there is a lot of history left behind on the land. These clues can be found on the Wild Hyacinth Trail, which is right across the street from the Stout House. This trail might not look like much in the beginning, but as you make your way into the woods, you will leave behind the stresses of life and be greeted with the sounds of spring. Close your eyes and listen to the world around you – you may notice spring peepers singing, woodpeckers tapping and the sound of flowing water in Turkey Run Creek.
On the first portion of this "more-difficult" 1.47-mile trail, you pass over waterfalls, venture through valleys and ridges, take in views of the meandering stream and explore the gravel bars for fossils.
As you approach the second portion, of the trail (after crossing the Louisville Loop) keep your eyes open for our 400-year-old Legacy Tree. Legacy trees represent an agrarian past and provide a complex structure for the forest. Legacy Trees are easily spotted by their large trunk and huge, horizontal branches. Old in age and large in structure, these trees provide shelter to various animals.
Continuing along the trail, try to spot remnants of an old 1,200-foot long stone wall following along the creek. Nearing the end of the wall is a picnic table, where you can take a minute to rest and observe your surroundings. Enjoy the wildflowers covering the forest floor, including masses of Wild hyacinth—the trail’s namesake. Watch as squirrels climb trees, birds fly above and deer camouflage perfectly among the trees. There is a rich history of life – human and natural- in these woods.
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that reminds me to slow down to appreciate spring’s wonders and always be present in the moment:
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu
Photos by David Miller
Olivia Kaiser joined The Parklands as an Interpretive Ranger in Fall 2014. In March of 2016, she was promoted to Education Specialist. She is responsible for creating and delivering interpretive programs to the public. A Kentucky native, Olivia graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in Elementary Education and a concentration in Learning and Behavior Disorders. As an amateur Herpetologist and secretary of the Kentucky Herpetological Society, Olivia enjoys educating the public about reptiles and amphibians, especially venomous snakes! In her free time, she enjoys photography and road trips.
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