Friday, March 11, 2011

Mysterious Fernbank World

Dear George,

Kids in our family were lucky to grow up in Water Wonderland. Though nobody stuck around, nowadays most of our family members are located near other significant bodies of water, e.g., Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean, Lake Placid, the Jersey Shore, the mighty Mississippi, the Gulf of Mexico. We Cincinnatians, by comparison, are relatively landlocked. However, we are situated on the Ohio River, the third longest in the Midwest (1290 miles), and Cincinnati has been shaped by its being a river town.

My most frequent and pleasant experiences of the Ohio come from hiking at Fernbank Park about twelve miles west of the city. Fernbank is a 65-acre park which extends about a mile and a quarter along the Ohio River at the village of Sayler Park. It’s the site of the former Fernbank Dam and Lock, built in 1911. Fernbank was the largest movable wicket dam in the world and allowed for control of the Ohio’s water depth to sustain barge traffic. Dismantled in 1963, you can still see some remnants of the lock along the shore.

The western side of Fernbank Park is a relatively open space with massive hardwood trees and a long walking path which sports an endless parade of dog owners and their pets. The eastern half offers a hiking trail through a thick woods. The woods are strange and eerie. They’re made up of trees and shrubs that I never seen elsewhere and that must thrive only on a river’s spongy shoreline. They remind me of the frightening forest scenes in Disney’s classic movie Snow White, where the gnarled, distorted branches seem to come alive and grab at you. They’re also sort of picturesque. Here are some photos from Fernbank in early March, starting with more open vistas of the Ohio River and the Kentucky hills on the opposite side, then moving into the mysterious forest. The river had nearly reached flood stage when these pics were taken.



G-Mail Comments

-Vicki L (3-11): Hi David... What a lovely river! Your father would be so proud of your exquisite photography -- you have quite an eye. Love, Vicki

-Donna D (3-11): David these are beautiful they make fernbank look so mysterious!! Donna

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