Welcome autumn


Judith Victoria Hensley - Plain Thoughts



It’s hard for me to believe September is already here! I love fall and knowing that it is right around the corner has cheered me up considerably the last few days. The change in temperatures has been most welcome.

I should be released to drive again after my doctor’s appointment this week and I’ve already got my camera batteries charged up and ready for the beginning of the leaf changes. I can’t wait to be back on top of a mountain somewhere with the cool breezes blowing down from the north and the scent of fall all around.

I always think of crisp apples, sweatshirts and trying to pack every day full of beauty before winter sets in. There are always festivals to check out and special events to plan for in autumn. It doesn’t take a lot of money to have a spectacular fall outing. Pack a picnic lunch, fill the car with family and/or friends and head out into the natural beauty we call home for a delightful day.

Pine Mountain Settlement School has a fall schedule full of great events. I’ve missed the entire summer and can’t wait to be involved in some of the events they have planned for fall. Among those things listed on the website are a Sorghum Stir-Off Festival on Sept. 16 and 17; a Digital Photography Workshop, Oct. 6-9; a Dry Stone Wall Workshop Oct. 7-9; Fall Color Weekend, Oct. 21-23; Woodland Medicinal Production, Oct. 22; a Grant Writing and Resource Development Workshop, Nov. 4-6; a Veteran’s Day Dinner on Nov. 11; and a Bee and Honey Festival on Nov. 12.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park offers tours of Gap Cave, and the shuttle runs from the visitor’s center to Hensley Settlement on specific days of the week through Oct. 31. Reservations need to be made for either of these in advance. The first Thursday of each month offers a Cumberland Mountain Photography Club meeting at the center.

There is a tour of Little Shepherd Trail scheduled for Oct. 22 in Harlan County. That event looks like it should be lots of fun. Details are posted on Facebook.

Our own Harlan County Black Mountain Thunder Zip Line, which is two miles long, should be an incredible experience of zipping through a colorful canopy in fall. It has been proclaimed a Kentucky’s newest, highest and fastest zip line. Check in is at the Evarts Trailhead Office and General Store if anyone is interested!

Any day with the changing leaves is a good day to tour Harlan, Bell, Whitley or McCreary counties. The region of southeastern Kentucky, northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia is spectacular in the fall. There is nothing better in my book than turning up a back road with friends and camera and following it into parts unknown. The road will always lead us to a path that brings us home eventually.

The Cumberland Mountain Fall Festival in Middlesboro will be held Oct. 12-13. For those who love golf, the Fall Golf Scramble at Wasioto Winds in Bell County will be held on Oct. 14.

Why fight all of the traffic in the Smokies when we have so much to offer right here in southeastern Kentucky? I love visiting the Smokies, but I think we have an amazing treasure of natural beauty and outdoor opportunities close at hand without the traffic!

Fall also brings relatives home to visit family, church homecomings, class reunions and a variety of festivals. There are plenty of autumn events to look forward to in these mountains.

Personally, I never feel closer to God than at the top of a mountain alone with my thoughts and prayers and an expansive view of the beauty of God’s handiwork stretching out before me. Autumn is always a time of renewal and faith for me. This year I am expecting wonderful things to unfold in the fall.

Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.

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Judith Victoria Hensley

Plain Thoughts

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