Winter arrived early to Kentucky this year bringing considerable snow and unseasonably cold temperatures. Treacherous road conditions have also been commonplace in the early going, and there’s likely more of the same to come before the daffodils nod on fresh spring breezes. But, outdoor adventure can still be yours, even in the dead of the wintry off-season. Such an opportunity is fast approaching with Pine Mountain State Resort Park’s Winter Photo Weekend, set to occur on January 28-30, 2011.
Making good photographs in winter is a unique challenge. The vibrant green of spring is vanquished and the azure blue of autumn skies is obscured by thick cloud cover. Yes, it’s gray and white and winter all around, but there’s much more out there to engage the adventurous than first meets the eye, you just have to possess the will to find it… and take pictures of it!
The adventure lies in the pursuit of finding the right shot to satisfy the prescribed photo competition categories. In the doing, participants explore mountain landscapes, both on foot and by car, searching for just the right shot, trusting that they’ll know it when they see it. It’s truly an outdoor adventure that engages the senses. And, it’s fun!
The weekend is basically a quest that leads you on a discovery trek to out-of-the-way places where raw nature resides. Woodlands, waters, weather, and wildlife are all part of the experience and it all takes place at one of the park systems finest natural resorts. The evenings feature spectacular picture shows offered by a guest professional, and the wonderful dining and cozy accommodations on hand at the rustic lodge round out the experience.
The park’s weekend event plan generally focuses on nature and offers up four competition categories. There’s only a single class of competition, so everyone shoots the same categories and the best shots emerge as winners in the finale show. Participants always enjoy the relaxed atmosphere that permeates the mountaintop resort in winter. Even though the photo competition is timed, the event is hassle-free, and devoid of the pressure that so often accompanies similar events. The emphasis is on interfacing with nature, finding the best locations, and taking your best shots. Some say the event is a terrific alternative to being cooped up at home watching the snow fly, and many feel the event’s simplicity may be the best thing about it.
If you’re looking to get out in the frosty air to stretch mind and body, check out the Winter Photo Weekend under “Events” on the park’s website:
Don’t worry about the snow, the park has its own snow plow/salt truck and life goes on, regardless of the weather and conditions. Besides, you just might be lucky enough to actually be on hand when the snow comes. Ample snowfall not only enhances the picture-taking prospects, but the brooding evergreens covered in snow on the vaulted slopes and craggy cliffs of Pine Mountain are a truly splendorous sight!
For more information, contact the park’s Guest Services Desk at (800) 325-1712 or (606) 337-3066.
I love to strap on my winter boots and venture into the snow covered hills. Winter brings the rugged starkness of the Appalachian chain. When the leaves are down, the crags and cliffs take over the landscape.
These shots came are from hikes starting at the Pine Mountain Trailhead in Elkhorn City hiking up the Pine Mountain Trail through the Breaks Park and around the northernmost area of the Pine ridge, a 6 mile loop. The old mountain road that makes the trail was once the main line from Elkhorn City to Bartlick and Haysi in Virginia, so the grade isn’t too steep over the mountain.
This isn’t an easy hike in snow, but doable and completely worth the effort. Lush rhododendron line the trail, clear incredible vistas wait at the top. Signs of wildlife are everywhere in the contrasting snow. Natural shelters and signs of early settlers reveal themselves for the curious. Don’t forget the camera!
To find this hike, follow HWY 80 into Elkhorn City and follow the signs to the Pine Mountain Trailhead. It is easy access to one of Kentucky’s most incredible natural wonderlands.
Every season in Kentucky yields a reward for the outdoor adventurer. You just have to bundle up a little more this time of year to get outside. But worth the effort as you won’t have to deal with the insects or constant cobwebs on the trails! This time of year provides a chance to see things in the woods that you normally wouldn’t see with the leaves covering up everything. A good chance to see rock formations and outcroppings, hidden arches and sinkholes, and an increased flow to area waterfalls. You might even see some Bald Eagles hanging around pretty soon as they frequent the areas of LBL and Dale Hollow Lake. As for me, a time for checking my summer hiking equipment, reflection on the over 40 hikes and adventures this year, and time spent with family and friends this holiday season. Take a walk to nearby pines this month and think of the season. Merry Christmas!
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