TRAIL NOTES: Short and Sweet, A Trip Around the Fitness Circle
I have never written a blog and, given my age, I am only vaguely familiar with the definition. Therefore, I felt the need to consult Webster. According to The Merriam-Webster dictionary, a blog is defined as: a Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences. Therefore, I shall begin about my personal opinions, activities and experiences in The Parklands.
Highlighting the Fitness Circle: Pope Lick Park
The Fitness Circle is a 7/10 mile paved trail located in Pope Lick Park, which is one of the four parks that make up The Parklands of Floyds Fork. The Fitness Circle encircles the John Floyd Fields and Community Building. When I began this particular experience in early spring, the only thing emerging in and around the fields at this time were young promising soccer stars.
The trail begins just beyond the Community Building and restrooms; it is an asphalt track so there’s never any fear of having to tromp through the mud. As we made our way along the track, we noticed a well-equipped playground just off the track and to the right. Not having the joy of young children, as mine have all surpassed that age, my eyes were set on the immense Box Elder tree, standing to the left of the playground. I suppose with its bare branches, and its attractive branching system it reminded me of my own childhood with tire swings and tree climbing.
Sorry, no tire swings present (but playground swings nearby!)
Moving ahead, and to our right, was a lonely Witch Hazel Tree. The tree still appeared dormant with remnants of last year’s seed pods still visible. Just to the left and right of the Witch Hazel stood twin Sycamore trees. Eventually these trees will mimic the Sycamore trees found on The Valley of the Giants Trail which is located in Beckley Creek Park.
Just off the Fitness Circle and to the left, is an access to the Louisville Loop as well as the sign denoting the location of the Prairie Preserve Trail and the Big Beech Woods Trail. Approaching the 2/10 mile marker is a bench for sitting, but my eyes looked just past this mile marker and at the second bend, where another impressive tree stood tall. This tree is an Elm, evidence of the pasture land that once dominated these fields. To the right of the track is the entrance and sign denoting the Prairie Preserve Trail. An interesting trail in itself, we were tempted to head that way, but kept on the Fitness Circle. Check out our trail page for more information on where that trail takes you.
Pressing on, and right, after the 3/10 mile marker is another bench. From this bench the soccer fields are still within view. This makes it convenient for parents who like to exercise while their child is at soccer practice. It also makes it convenient for those who just want to enjoy a rest along the trail.
Approaching the third bend and at the 4/10 mile marker The Parklands Administration Building can be seen through the trees to the left upon the hill (if you know what you’re looking for). Originally known as The Retreat House, or King House, it is now the home to many of the key management team members of the park. Continuing along the trail, to our left we could hear the bellowing of a bullfrog. The bullfrog had made his home in a small wetland area. Hearing his call insures warmer weather will not be far off! During the colder months of the year, bullfrogs will become inactive. Bullfrogs will bury themselves in mud at the bottom of lakes, ponds or rivers during this time, to emerge again in the spring when the temperatures begin to rise.
Approaching the 5/10 mile marker we rounded the final bend of the track. Just beyond this mile marker is another bench, the parking lot to our left. Separating the parking lot and the trail to our left was a row of Winterberry, to our right was a line up Shingle Oak trees. The Winterberry was still heavily loaded with bright red berries which would soon become dinner for many of the wildlife found in this area.
As we completed the trail, I was able to appreciate the simplicity in one of the smaller treks in The Parklands. Although, not usually thought of for its natural diversity, I was amazed by the diverse amount of plant and animal life that was present in such a dense area. It is a great place to walk a dog or to watch friendly competition on the fields. Arrive early and you may even enjoy the beauty of the wildlife venturing out from the nearby woods.
About the Author
Karen has worked at the Parklands of Floyds Fork in many capacities. Originally hired as an Attendant in 2013, she has also worked in the PNC Achievement Center at the front desk and The Gheens Foundation Lodge as an Event Concierge. As of September 1, 2014 she has taken on the position as Head Zone Gardener. Karen is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor degree in Technical Horticulture and a minor in Floriculture. For the past fifteen years she has been actively involved in providing a hands-on atmosphere for her husband and three children. During this time she maintained a successful, profitable small business as a lawn maintenance contractor as well as a private residential gardener. Along with a passion to make a difference, Karen shares the same enthusiasm as her colleagues, as they continue to contribute to the growth and progress of The Parklands of Floyds Fork. When not at the Parklands, Karen enjoys spending time with her family, pets and just being in the outdoors.