Once a year, Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park rangers treat visitors to a unique glimpse of the park's past with a hike to an abandoned camp. The camp, originally run by the Boy Scouts, is usually closed to the public. On Saturday, I joined 11 other hikers eager to explore these ruins for themselves.
Following an old road on the 5-mile trek, we had a great mix of level stretches and steep hills. About half-way through our hike, we arrived and found the camp's cafeteria and three cabins still overlooking Kentucky Lake. Despite the dilapidation, it was easy to see how beautiful and peaceful a stay at the camp must have been.
From left to right: First row - 1) The cafeteria on the ridge 2) The inside of the cafeteria Second row - 3) Two of the cabins where campers stayed 4) The inside of one of the cabins 5) A third cabin overlooking Kentucky Lake
After we left the camp, we hiked through an area damaged by the March 2020 tornado. Even though it's been almost a year, this stretch of trail looked like it had just been hit by the storm.
We stopped for a break at the site of an old homestead. The foundation of the house was surrounded by a bright green carpet of moss that almost glowed in the winter landscape.
The day was a great opportunity to see areas of the park that aren't usually available to the public and to appreciate nature for both its beauty and destructive power.