From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Audubon State Park

Camping at Henderson, KY




Another pleasant outing in the faithful Coleman tent


John James Audubon, noted American ornithologist, lived at Henderson, KY, from 1810-1819. Today, the Audubon State Park preserves some of the old-growth forest where Audubon roamed along the Ohio River, observing the birds and collecting specimens to paint.

Isaac and I camped two nights at Audubon State Park, while we were sightseeing at Henderson, KY, and Evansville, IN, last week. Isaac had just three days free from both work and school. Dennis was still obligated at his job for part of that time, so Isaac and I went by ourselves.

The Audubon State Park campground is near the Ohio River, just off Highway 41 at Henderson. In fact, the traffic on the busy highway is clearly heard at the campground. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful site with tall trees and many squirrels. We were the only tent-campers there, and there were only about half a dozen RVs.

Isaac really likes camping, and Boy Scouts deserves the credit for it. I'm glad that he has a wholesome hobby that he can pursue all his life. When I camp with him, we don't rough it too much. We get a site with electricity so we can hang the "trouble light" in the tent for reading after dark.

This time, I also brought along a tiny television set, so I could see the McCain vs. Obama debate. To my surprise, half a dozen stations came in clearly with the small antenna. I watched most of the debate while reclining on my air mattress in the tent. Near the end, rain began falling, so it seemed prudent to unplug the extension cord and listen to my little radio instead.

Our campsite was under several black walnut trees. We set up the tent at the edge of the walnut area, but we still had to clear a spot by kicking dozens of black walnuts out of the way.

Whenever the squirrels ran through the treetops, the walnuts rained down. We weren't hit by any of them, but one did fall on my car's hood so hard that it made a little chip in the paint. Oh, well. That's a hazard of parking near walnut trees this time of the year.

The museum in the park has some of the Audubon sketch books, original paintings, and early prints. It's quite interesting. I didn't take any photos because there's a sign at the museum entrance that says, "No Cameras."

One interesting thing I learned at the museum was that Audubon set very high standards for himself. He went through his work every year on his birthday and destroyed everything that was not up to his current level of painting skill.

Like every other Kentucky state park I've visited, much of the infrastructure at Audubon State Park was put in place by CCC and WPA workers. The museum (photo below) was built in 1938 as a WPA project.

Next time we camp at Audubon, I want to hike some of the trails to see more of the forest. This park deserves more time than we were able to give it on this trip.

2 comments:

Beth said...

That sounds really nice, I'm putting it on my list for the next Kentucky trip.

Genevieve said...

You would enjoy it, Beth. It's only 75 miles north on the Pennyrile Parkway from Hopkinville, When you get to Madisonville, you're halfway there.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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