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Day trip: Westfork to Gibson to Greenbriar to Independence Ridge Rd
Pictures along a scenic route from KY 704 near Bakerton to Breeding, with natural beauty to match any place in the world
Click on headline for story with album of pictures along the way
By Linda Waggener
This is report of a short mid-August day trip with a gigantic hill that can be enjoyed in less than half a day, depending on how many stops you have for photos and scenic views. Westfork Road off Highway 704 in Cumberland County, is a left hand turn if you are traveling north from Burkesville to Columbia.
Amid Jewel Weed, butterflies, Black-Eyed Susans and Joe Pye weed beginning to bloom we were met with a sign that read: Creek Gravel Extraction Site Number 8, Cumberland County Fiscal Court. 270-864-3444. We didn't stop but decided Adair County has an abundance of creek gravel and needs one of those sites and signs.
I asked my day trip partner Ed, "Is this a dead end Road?" I didn't know for sure if it was a through road.
Ed, who has a great sense of geography said, "No, no this road comes out at Breeding."
It was a very small road, so I was not sure it really would come out at Breeding, KY, but we continued.
He said we'd driven this road in years past but we'd come down the big hill and that in general things are not as exciting going up a big hill as they are coming down a big hill.
Hmm. I tried to remember what it was like coming down but felt called to go up the big hill and see if I would agree.
There was no big hill for several miles as we passed by beautiful well kept farmland where a farmer traveled one of the fields on a John Deere tractor, past an old homestead with only a chimney left standing. We we're searching especially for Ed's favorite flower, wild Ironweed.
We passed by a smaller road we didn't take because it had a sign that named something-road, however it was clear that it only went to a home. I feel that's deceptive because if it's named something-road it seems public and one could feel welcome to take it. If it says drive, then of course it's easier to know it's a private home, and not assume an invitation to drive there.
We passed a beautiful new log home and more farmland of still relatively rolling to level land, no big hill. We're making up to 20 miles an hour. We passed a unique corn crib with a star decorating it in a field where white face cattle grazed peacefully.
Looking around us in the Little Creek bed that had no name sign, we knew we we're not back in Adair County yet because the bridge has no signature red paint on the entrance nor exit.
Then there was the big hill rising to meet us. It looked as we were on a roller coaster preparing to go straight up into the sky.
Before we started up, we listened to the sounds of fall peepers and saw masses of black-eyed Susans, little orange Jewel Weed flowers, and native wild Sumac trees everywhere. Ed remembered that Janice Holt Giles referred in her books to Spanish Nettle, and varieties of plants with small yellow flowers may qualify as that. Research will have to be done.
We passed a field of totally golden Goldenrod as we began to climb and saw deep ravines off to the right side of the road as we traveled upwards. We topped the big hill at last and started leveling off.
Climbing the hill had seemed totally dramatic to me, surely as much as the trip down was. It was then we were met by a large pickup truck with a sign on the front that read "wide load". That usually indicates a mobile home or truck bed filled with wide industrial equipment to follow and this road didn't really look wide enough for two SUVs to pass comfortably, let alone something like that Thankfully, nothing followed so the driver may have been on the way home down the big hill.
We passed West Fork School Road that meandered beside a creek to several homes at the edge of the treeline, this time the name was with two words 'West Fork' as opposed to the single name of the road when we first entered it.
Not far past that we stopped at the side of the road to take a picture of what might proove to be Spanish Nettle and a huge horsefly zoomed in and banged itself against the windshield. It caused quite a stir before it decided on its own to exit the vehicle. In addition to getting the picture of a little yellow flower, we discovered red berries on a bush or tree with shiny green leaves that we weren't familiar with. The berries looked almost like Holly, but the leaves did not. It was hard to tell if it was a bush or a tree, the limbs were small but with the vegetation all around it we couldn't guess how tall it was. That will be for later discovery.
On down the road we saw a crop of milkweed with black butterflies enjoying a meal, possibly a family of Viceroy butterflies.
We encountered so much Beauty along the little trip that Ed decided John Muir would have done well to leave his path and travel this one.
Amazingly, we look up and discovered yet another, even bigger hill in front of us. We bumped over a change in the blacktop on the ascent and wondered if that could indicate the Adair/Cumberland line. The road seemed to narrow as we headed up and up into even deeper wooded acres.
At the top of that even bigger hill, we came to the next intersection, arriving at a street sign that told us we'd been traveling on Gibson Road. That meant we'd left Cumberland County and Westfork Road and entered Adair County where Westfork had changed to Gibson Road. Gibson Road connected us to Greenbriar Road where we traveled a short distance to Independence Ridge Road which, with a left turn, led us past the Fudge Cemetery and to Breeding, exactly has Ed predicted.
We indeed found Ironweed and when the time is right, I will need to go back the way we came and see if I agree that it's more exciting to go down a big hill than up.
This story was posted on 2017-08-14 20:48:09
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