By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
When the night is right, and so are the conditions, the mists from the 125-foot-wide curtain of water known as Cumberland Falls makes a moonbow. It may be visible after dark this Saturday through Halloween night, depending on the weather.
That’s another reason why hikers might want to stick around at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park after the 22nd Annual Moonbow Trail Trek this Saturday.
Steve Gilbert has been to quite of few of the hikes, and notes there’s quite a few reasons why the event brings back quite a few folks over the years.
“It’s beautiful scenery, of course. It’s also fun, it’s challenging, a lot of people like to collect the T-shirts from previous hikes, and most of all, it’s safer because of our trail sweeps,” said Gilbert, a naturalist at the park, located near Corbin.
According to Gilbert, the people who serve as trail sweeps primarily serve a two-fold purpose to ensure safety.
“The trail sweeps follow behind after the last hiker has passed, so they know there’s nobody left behind, or who has turned back or gone the other way. And if anybody needs first aid, the trail sweeps can provide it on the spot, or contact emergency medical personnel by phone.”
Gilbert pointed out that while check-in stations will be staffed throughout the hike, this Saturday’s Moonbow Trail Trek is not recommended for children under 10 or solo hikers.
Cost for the hike is $15 per person, and includes a T-shirt. Because of its popularity, availability is limited, and those who wish to participate need to preregister by Thursday. Participation is limited to the first 100 people who register.
If you’re one of those first 100 who register, you’ll have a choice of two trails for Saturday’s event.
One is a four-and-a-half-mile hike on the Blue Bend Trail, which is for those hikers who are less experienced. That hike leaves between 10 and 11 a.m.
The other hike is seven miles, and combines parts of two trails — the Moonbow Trail and the Cumberland River Trail — and is a challenging course for the more experienced and most adventurous hikers. Hikers for the longer trail leave between 8:30 and 10 a.m.
Gilbert said this year’s trails will be a little different from previous years due to some maintenance issues at the park.
What they will see during the daylight hours will be the falls, called by many as the “Niagara of the South,” along with tower cliffs, house-sized rock formations, cascading streams and other natural formations.
“If you’re participating, you should bring a day pack, hiking boots, extra socks, flashlight, batteries, a first-aid kit, warm jacket and enough food and water to last six to eight hours,” said Gilbert.
He reminded those who want to take in both the hike and the moonbow sighting this Saturday that the park features a restaurant, lodge, cottages and a campground.
To register for the Moonbow Trail Trek, or if you need more information, you can email naturalist Bret Smitley at BretA.Smitley@ky.gov, or call 606-528-4121 or 800-325-0063.
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
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