Springtime and Camping: A February 3rd Daydream

Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most beloved groundhog, saw his shadow yesterday morning, predicting six more weeks of winter.  While not surprised to hear the news, I was a little saddened because I have been day-dreaming about camping season since early December.  We are lucky to live in Kentucky where we have some amazing state and national parks, many of which I have enjoyed over the past few years.

One of my most memorable experiences was at Natural Bridge State Park; it will always have a place in my heart because my fiancé proposed to me at Lover’s Leap.  It was a beautiful, sunny day with just a few clouds in the sky, and we happened to be alone at just the right moment.  My fiancé says that I floated down the mountain that day.

With camping and hiking at the back of my mind, I wanted to share some fun finds from our Photograph Collection to get you in the mood for spring.

Natural Bridge Postcard, 1937. [PKY-126]

Natural Bridge Postcard, 1937. [PKY-126]

 Mammoth Cave is also on the top of my list.  How cool is it that we have the longest cave system in the world right here in Kentucky?!  This is a must see, as it really makes you realize how amazing Mother Nature is.

Entrance to Mammoth Cave, KY. [MAC-38]

Entrance to Mammoth Cave, KY. [MAC-38]

 One of my favorite Mammoth Cave images is from a Filson staff outing, September 1932.

Filson staff at the entrance to Mammoth Cave, KY.  Shown left to right: R. C. B. Thruston, Katherine G. Healy, Miss Ludie Kinkead, Miss Margaret Schafer, Mr. Otto A. Rothert, and Miss Evelyn R. Dale,  September 1932. [FCE-6]

Filson staff at the entrance to Mammoth Cave, KY. Shown left to right: R. C. B. Thruston, Katherine G. Healy, Miss Ludie Kinkead, Miss Margaret Schafer, Mr. Otto A. Rothert, and Miss Evelyn R. Dale, September 1932. [FCE-6]

 I highly recommend taking a Ranger-led tour while you are there.  Tours have been offered since the beginning of the 19th century.  Here are several agents, and guides from 1896.

Agents and Guides for Mammoth Cave,  KY,    October 1896. [MAC-73]

Agents and Guides for Mammoth Cave, KY, October 1896. [MAC-73]

 Camping also includes spending time with friends and family, hiking, and don’t forget camp food—my favorite being s’mores!

Tintype of possibly the Stone family on a camping trip or outing, ca. 1900. [TIN-059]

Tintype of possibly the Stone family on a camping trip or outing, ca. 1900. [TIN-059]

Hikers at the Daniel Boone National Forest Trail, ca. 1970s. [009PC19]

Hikers at the Daniel Boone National Forest Trail, ca. 1970s. [009PC19]

 While spring is not quite here yet, I hope these images help you get into the spirit of planning your next outdoor adventures!

Kentucky family camping, 1968. [SPR/CP-2]

Kentucky family camping, 1968. [SPR/CP-2]

 To learn more about Kentucky’s parks check out our 8th Annual Henry D. Ormsby III Seminar Series.  The 2015 Ormsby Series focuses on the significance of parks throughout history by looking at national parks, state parks, and Louisville's very significant Olmsted park system. It will conclude with a look into the future of parks, using The Parklands of Floyds Fork, one of the largest new public parks systems in the country.  We hope to see you there!  For more information about the series visit our website: http://filsonhistorical.org/event/the-henry-d-ormsby-seminar-series/

Heather Potter

Heather Potter is the Curator of Photographs and Prints at The Filson Historical Society.

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