Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 14

The hiKe
Hike

Dewey Lake comes into view along the Jenny Wiley Trail.

Jenny Wiley: Toughest Trail
Section in Kentucky's State Parks?
This nine-mile hike includes a section about half that long that offers a serious
aerobic challenge.
Text and photos by Leonard Adkins
The roar of outboard motors bouncing off the surrounding
mountains was evidence that recent heavy rains changing Dewey Lake from its usual greenish-blue to chocolate milk's light brown had not deterred scores of boaters. Yet, several hundred feet above them, I was all alone
on the trails of Jenny Wiley State Park.
Although the 1,100-acre lake is a primary draw, the
rest of the park's 2,871 acres contains more than 10
miles of trail. The nine-mile route I've chosen begins
with a cardiovascular workout on the Jenny Wiley Trail,
followed by another 4.5 miles over terrain of moderate
difficulty. (One of your shuttled cars will be parked in
the middle of the hike if you choose to do this outing
on two separate occasions.)
The Jenny Wiley Trail was created by volunteers in
the 1970s to trace the route a pioneer woman took to
escape her Native American captors in the 1700s. At one
time, this National Recreation Trail stretched for nearly
200 miles across public and private lands in eastern
Kentucky. There is a wide range of opinion as to what
led to its demise. Some say it was the lack of sustained
volunteer efforts, others blame apprehensive property
14 BlueRidgeCountry.com

owners, while a third opinion points the finger at state
government. Whatever the reason, this 4.5-mile stretch
is basically all that remains.
And what a rugged trail it is. The steeply-constructed
stairway ascending from the trailhead establishes the
grade found throughout. In addition, the narrowness
of the pathway, not much wider than the width of a
shoe, makes it clear that this is not a heavily-used track.
Roots, rocks, and an eroded treadway had me keeping
eyes groundward, even when the trail wound beside interesting sandstone rock formations on the ridgeline. I
later found a YouTube video in which a state employee remarked that the Jenny Wiley Trail was the most
strenuous in the entire park system. Yet, it's evidently
maintained on a regular basis; I didn't encounter any
blowdowns or overgrowing vegetation.
There are, of course, always rewards for such efforts,
such as a wide sweeping view from a under a powerline of the small town of Auxier sitting beside gracefully
curving Levisa Fork and a side trail leading to an open
view of the lake, bordered by the Appalachian Mountains' westernmost ridgelines. Spring flowers, including


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016

Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 22
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 29
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 32
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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