Rémy doesn't look happy about the feathers in his cap.

Rémy doesn’t look happy about the feathers in his cap.

Not that Winter doesn’t have her moments, and there are times when she can be quite beautiful. But, when it’s her sister, Spring’s, time, she should step back gracefully and allow her her allotted time in the sun. Summer will be knocking at her door soon enough.

But obviously we didn’t mourn Winter’s disappearance to her satisfaction because after several days of warmth, she has decided to reappear. Okay, enough anthropomorphizing of the seasons. The real question is: Has this winter not been brutal enough?

I was supposed to be in a tent tonight at Paris Landing State Park–my nicely ventilated summer tent. But, a number of factors sent me scurrying southward, the most important of which was the fact that it is supposed to plummet to 27 degrees tonight (and that’s without the winds off Kentucky Lake. Then I discovered the bathhouse I was camped next to was closed, which meant a good walk downhill to get to the next one. And, bizarrely, there wasn’t a single other camper in the campground, not even in an RV. That kind of spooked me.

In addition, it was just a weird day all around. Early morning found me at Big Cypress Tree State Park. A tiny little place in the middle of nowhere and not a soul in sight. Everything was closed–park office, restrooms–all still battened down for winter. But, their .3-mile self-guided and ADA-approved nature trail was open, so I walked it. Obviously that didn’t take long.

At Big Cypress Tree

At Big Cypress Tree

So, off to Paris Landing where–their information office is closed on weekends. Because nobody goes to state parks with marinas, restaurants, an inn and conference center, etc., etc., on the weekend. Okay, I thought, I’ll try the inn. Surely they’d have literature about the park they are located in. Nope. So, I drove around until I found the trailhead for their two trails (right next to the security building though no one was there, either). And now Paris Landing gets my unofficial vote for the most poorly marked trails in the state.

Kentucky Lake from the Raptor Trail (maybe)

Kentucky Lake from the Raptor Trail (maybe)

The .6-mile Whitetail Loop was easy to figure out because of its tree identification signs. The 3-mile Raptor Trail, on the other hand, was nearly impossible to follow and I lost the trail completely once I arrived at the lake. I’m not even positive I was supposed to arrive at the lake. Maybe I was supposed to cut through the cabin area to begin with. But, it was pretty down by the lake and, more importantly, I found evidence for why the trail is called the Raptor Trail. At one point while searching for signs of a trail or the yellow blazes that marked it, I happened on lots of feathers. No sign of the bird, itself, but enough feathers to indicate the poor little bird had been scooped up by a raptor. I brought a few of its feathers back with me–a small tribute to its sacrifice.

So, now I am less than 10 miles from tomorrow’s park. It’s supposed to be a bit warmer, and I’ve already checked out the park: the woman at the office was very nice and helpful, they have an excellent trail map and I already have 1-, 3-, and 5-mile hikes planned, and my campsite looks just fine and it should be warm enough (that means above freezing for me) to camp. As I’ve noted previously, I really don’t like the cold.