Intense cave systems, some great twangy tunes, and the smell of horse poo wafting over rolling hills are the few characteristics most people assosicate with Kentucky. What most don't know is that, as a world traveler, I can say that Kentucky is one of the most diverse places I've ever been. As you may have learned in the last entry, I'm currently writing from high in the mountains in Colorado, but the motherland is never far from thought (especially since I work with horses here).
Though I joked about them, the caves of Kentucky are not to be missed. Mammoth Cave, about 20 minutes from where I go to school in Western Kentucky, is the most famous one and definitely worth visiting. Thousands of people visit Mammoth each year to go on guided tours throughout the caves, but many aren't aware that the cave's national park provides some of the best camping in the state. I backpacked through the park a couple years ago in very early spring, enjoying the snow melting and the uncovering of the illustrious green river (See John Prine's Paradise)
Another Kentucky treasure is the Red River Gorge, a climbing and hiking mecca in Daniel Boone National Forest. I haven't had the pleasure of visiting but I hear that it is a hot spot for world-class climbers -- yet few Kentuckians go there themselves. Several friends have informed me that Miguel's Pizza provides a delicious end to a long day of climbing, bouldering or just enjoying the view.
Above all of these, I would have to say that my favorite Kentucky treasure is my parents' modest five acres of land. There, I am guaranteed an organic meal fresh from the garden, my laundry done fresh off the line, the buzz of my father's honey bees and a day full of rest with the people I love.