Rural Kentucky

It’s a long way to Harlan
and a long way to Hazard
Just to get a little brew
just to get a little brew

Merle Travis

With the temperatures rising into the nineties, we abandoned Lexington for the higher elevations and tree covered landscapes of the Daniel Boone National Forest. We reached Slade near midday, unfortunately finding equally warm thermometer readings.

The Kentucky Reptile Zoo lies just off of exit 33 of the Mountain Parkway. Their primary mission provides venom for anti venom and for medical research. A secondary mission focuses on the conservation of the species and public education. The facility houses thousands of snakes and other reptiles, although only a hundred or so are on display to the public. They assign a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide to each small group of visitors. Below are a few of the residents.


The little girl studied the black mamba, while Elliot was not certain he should be in here.


A few other residents with legs including one non reptile.


Once a day, the zoo allows you to watch the extraction of venom process. A glass wall separates you from the extractions. Jim Harrison, the zoo’s director, performed his first extraction at age 17, which was 43 years ago. Today he worked the cobras. These are spitting cobras, so face shields must be worn. Due to the reflection of the glass, these photos did not turn out well.


Just two miles down the road Natural Bridge State Park, welcomed us. A picnic lunch where Elliot decided not only does he like raw mushrooms, but also extra spicy beef jerky.


The ski lift ride takes you up to see the Natural Bridge.  You can hike back down.


Due to the heat, instead of hiking back down, we opted to return by again using the chair lift.


Despite the Dukes of Hazard cast members attending celebrations in Hazard, Kentucky, the television show referred to a fictional Hazard County in Georgia. Nonetheless we remained alert for any Daisy Duke sightings.

The grandfish had time for a quick dip before dinner. No water snakes invaded the pool.

At the Big Blue Smokehouse, we managed to get a little brew, but we will not make it to Harlan.


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