Land Between the Lakes is just what its name describes: two manmade lakes encasing an oblong island of hiking trails, picnic tables and bison. The recreation area stretches from Western Kentucky south into Tennessee and boasts over 200 miles of trails and abandoned roads. With that knowledge in mind, Robert and I hit Honker Trail on a steamy Kentucky Fourth of July.
The trail skirts four and half miles around Honker Lake, running through open grasslands, dense forests and along the dam
between Honker Lake and Lake Barkley. We caught glimpses of deer and heard the rapid taps of woodpeckers. Tiny tree frogs hopped across our path at random. And in true Southern summer style, by the end of the “moderate” hike, we both had a thick coat of sweat and bug bites.
My greatest relief during the hike was the absence of the low-level whoosh of passing cars. Living in Chicago means that those everyday sounds of human existence tend to drown out the buzz and tweet of nature’s own composition. Being surrounded by Kentucky’s raw wild wasn’t nearly as centering as escaping the highway’s characteristic hum.
Hiking has that amazing ability to make you content with your own thoughts. Robert and I talked occasionally, but more often than not, we were happy to trek along in companionable silence. We were both sufficiently exhausted by the time we reached my rusty Buick again.