Boy Wonder and I went to the grocery a few weeks ago and as is custom at this particular offbeat market, the associate asked us if we had any fun plans for the day. I told him we’d probably go for a hike later, he inquired where, and I told him we’d been frequenting The Parklands lately. He told us about the great trails at Jefferson Memorial Forest and when he was finished, Boy Wonder decided it was his turn to share his knowledge about his trail travels.
“Have you ever been to The Valley of the Giants?” Boy Wonder asked in earnest.
“What is it?” the associate responded, not used to Boy Wonder’s rapid speech and assumption that everyone has been to every place he has been.
“Well you know, you go over the bridge and you walk on the Louisville Loop then go over the other bridge and then you have to walk through the soybean field and it’s right there.” (It’s important to note that Boy Wonder did use his hands to accompany his directions).
So there you go folks, in case you were wondering, you can reach The Valley of the Giants over the bridge, around the loop, over the second bridge, and through the soybean fields. I couldn’t have explained any better.
The conversation ended in a high-five between Boy Wonder and the associate for their shared enthusiasm for Louisville hiking.
And so this past weekend Boy Wonder, Molly Bassett Hound and I decided to visit The Valley of the Giants at Beckley Creek Park a second time. Some things had changed since our first visit. The once green fields of soybeans had now turned brown and I imagine would soon be ready for harvesting. After all my time living in Kentucky and driving by soy fields, this was the first time I had ever been close to the plant and felt its fuzz and realized that the beans actually grow in pods (I’m not sure how I thought the beans grew or if I even knew there were actual beans- I guess I always knew the plant from far away as green and leafy).
After the walk among the soy, the trail enters the woods and travels alongside the creek. This landscape had changed pretty drastically since our last visit as well as the flooded creek left its remnants in every direction. The thick brush now lay on its side, with clumps of plant and tree debris at rest beside still-standing trees and thick shrubbery where the rushing flood waters could push them no further. It seemed some of the less mature trees would now be nourishment on the wood floor as they had been completely uprooted, with others leaning at 45 degree angles, their root systems in full display.
And then there were the giants. I imagine with the root systems of these towering sycamores, the flood water was more of a tickling stream, maybe a cool, refreshing dip, as they stood their place in the forest knowing that this is where they would continue to rule as long as the world existed. Seeing the vulnerability of the smaller trees gave more power to the giant sycamores’ presence. Boy Wonder put his hands on the trunk of one of the trees and looked up in awe. I looked up in awe too.
The final thrill came at the end of the trail in the form of an old corn crib. Boy Wonder took no pause to climb inside and explore. After a few minutes of sizing the place up, he said from the back corner, “Well, yep. I think this would be a pretty good home.”
Then, “I have an idea! We won’t move in here but maybe we can just gather some of our goods and stuff and we can store them here!”
Fine by me. A home with giants as our neighbors and soybean fields as our front yard. When can we move in?
Rebecca Hall is a Louisville native whose love for hiking has deepened as she’s gotten older. She works at a local engineering firm and spends her time away from the office exploring with her 7-year-old son, Ryder (affectionately referred to as Boy Wonder in her blog), and their dog, Molly Bassett Hound. This is an account of their adventures enjoying the many amenities The Parklands has to offer.
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