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McCreary County Bucket List

bucketBucket list:  A list of things you want to (or should) experience before you die.

There are bucket lists for life, bucket lists of things to experience in the U.S.A., and bucket lists of things to experience in Kentucky.

So, why not a bucket list for McCreary County?

Surprisingly enough, it’s not difficult to come up with a bucket list of “must do” experiences in McCreary County that are totally unique, exciting, or just give one an inner sense of satisfaction from enjoying a simple pleasure.

Check out my bucket list of “twenty-five plus one” McCreary County experiences and see how many you can accomplish!

1. Take a walk on the “wild side” in the Beaver Creek Wilderness area-one of only two federally designated wilderness areas in the state of Kentucky.
2. Visit Bobby Duncan’s store in Strunk.  If you can’t find what you are looking for at Bobby’s, you probably don’t need it!
3. Before visiting Yahoo Falls, explore the legend of Princess Cornblossom. Is she fact or fiction? When at the falls, stand at its base and feel the cool spray of water from waterfall as it comes tumbling over a rock shelter that is 113 feet high.  Depending on your reference point, Yahoo Waterfall is either the highest or second highest waterfall in Kentucky. Princess Cornblossom supposely roamed the area. Visit Yahoo Falls in the spring and breathe in the beauty of rhododendron and mountain ivy.  Explore McCreary County’s many other waterfalls.
4. Tube down the Cumberland River.
5. Experience white water rafting (class 4) at Devil’s Jump on the Big South Fork River.  If that’s too much excitement, just paddle along the Big South Fork, home to many endangered species of tiny fish.  Some of the Big South Fork’s tiny darters can be found nowhere else in the world.
6. Look for McCreary County’s many federally or state listed endangered/threatened species of plants and wildlife.
7. Drive by the boyhood home of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Wilburn K. Ross.  Continue your drive and explore nearby Split Bow Arch.  Explore the many remaining naturally formed arches throughout McCreary County.
8. Sit on a front porch at night and listen to the symphony of frogs, crickets, and whip-o-wills.  Summer lightning bugs provide special lighting effects.
9. Ride the Big South Fork Railway train or drive to historic coal-mining camps such as Barthell or Blue Heron-where coal was once king.
10. In January, bundle up and enjoy a thermos of hot chocolate as you travel by boat on the Big South Fork or the Cumberland River.  Spot bald eagles along the way.
11. Fish for trout and/or wet your toes in the cool waters of Rock Creek-a Kentucky Wild River and one of the premiere trout streams in Kentucky.
12. Fish or hunt.    Walleye, sturgeon, bass, catfish, drum, muskie, bluegill, and other varieties make McCreary County fishing more fun!  Hunters can choose their season with bear, deer, turkey, grouse, and more.
13. Visit Cumberland Falls, known as the “Niagara of the South” and one of the few places in the world where you can see a rare moonbow during the full moon.
14. On the McCreary County side of the river, hike one of Kentucky’s most popular hiking trails-Trail # 9- to Eagle Waterfall.  Trail # 9 and surrounding area make up the Cumberland Falls State Park Nature Preserve, home to numerous rare species of plants and animals.
15. Gather ‘round and sit a while with some of our friendly locals at one of their “gathering spots.” Share their stories, music, whittling, and companionship. Don’t forget to visit The Uptown Opry on Main Street in Whitley City for country music at its best.
16. Own a McCreary County hand-made craft or own/read a book written by a local McCreary County author.  Take your pick of crafts from quilts, pottery, woodworking, photography, and more.  Interesting local books and talented local authors are numerous-with Samuel D. Perry’s “Grandpa Wouldn’t Lie” being a personal favorite!
17. Hike a portion of the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail.  The trail begins in northern Rowan County, Kentucky and ends at Leatherwood Ford in Tennessee.   Fifty-four miles of the three hundred and fifteen mile trail are located in McCreary County.  Take a side excursion from the trail and view Princess and Lick Creek Waterfalls.
18. Visit a McCreary County beekeeper and walk away with some sweet, sweet McCreary County honey.
19. Try your luck at geocaching in McCreary County.  You never know what you might find or where you’ll end up!  More than thirty “official” caches are located in McCreary County.
20. Whether by foot, bike, horse, car, or canoe, explore McCreary County’s vast expanse of Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.  Camp at a local campsite and sit around the campfire at night.  Ghost stories, s’mores, and hotdogs roasted over the fire make it extra nice.  Make tracks in the winter by taking a snow walk and looking for animal tracks.  Find the “Big Dipper” in our clear, star-filled sky.
21. Walk the swinging bridge at Ritner.
22. Walk the Barren Fork Interpretive Trail.  It is handicap accessible and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
23. Stop at one of the many local convenience stores and get an extra thick bologna sandwich (made to order) to munch on during your McCreary County fishing trip.  While you’re at it, try some pickled bologna and crackers, too.
24. Spot a black bear, coyote, or bobcat.
25. Explore the legend of John Swift’s lost silver mine.  Begin learning about the legend at the local public library and the McCreary County Museum. Then visit Fiddler’s Rock, one of the local landmarks supposedly leading to the Swift’s lost silver.
26. In October, take a scenic drive “on the back roads” to Peter’s Mountain and enjoy the autumn trees decked out in their finest reds, oranges, and yellows.

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