I could not have my art colony along US 68 without there being a US 68; and that highway would not exist if the Native Americans and Pioneers had not traveled along this route. These paths used by humans would not have existed if the bison and mastodons before them had not worn a way from the Ohio River to the salt licks at Blue Licks and on to Lexington. At Blue Licks State Resort Park in Kentucky, you can walk along a buffalo trace and imagine what the world might have been like a thousand years ago. This is one of my favorite things to do and Blue Licks is one of my favorite places in the whole world.
Along the trail there is a sign with a map of buffalo traces that go from the Ohio River at Maysville and Covington/Cincinnati in toward the Inner Bluegrass/Lexington. The trace from Maysville to Lexington is quite similar to the current highway today. Change is much more rapid these days with projects altering the route every few years. I consider my art colony perimeters to be from roughly Maysville to Lexington, but US 68 actually goes all the way to the western tip of Kentucky and north up to Findlay, Ohio (which is where my father spent significant years.)
This time of year is very beautiful at Blue Licks, the wildflowers are popping out. I have seen White Trout Lily and Rue Anemone thus far. Later in April, the wild phlox will appear, and they are stunning (I made the the painting on the left to celebrate this spring tide wonder.)
I have walked at Blue Licks during every season of the year and in every month. A couple of springs ago we went to England to walk along some of our favorite paths and I was quite excited to come home and realize that I have this place of wonderful and subtle beauty that I can be part of whenever I like. This was a stunning discovery for me. I even saw "twin scenes" with the Folly at Lyme Park matching up with the silos on the farm across the Licking River from Blue Licks. The main difference seems to be that the parks in England and filled up with people enjoying a day outside. I wish more people would indulge in this simple pleasure; particularly since some of our parks are vulnerable to the budget cuts. Still, nothing lasts forever; for example, along one path you pass the site of a spring which provided a special tonic which launched a spa and hotel with 300 rooms! I walked by this spot the other day and you could almost imagine the spring as water was trickling out of the ground. But the hotel with 300 rooms was a bit harder to imagine. And, of course, there are no more mastodons or bison about either.
I hope you enjoy your special landscape this Spring; while it lasts!