The kids and I were looking for an adventure last weekend and boy, did we find one! Just outside of Louisville, KY in Clermont, is the Bernheim Forest. Now, I have to admit that I’m not much of a nature seeker but the recent installation of a few of Thomas Dambo’s giants scattered throughout the forest really had us intrigued! So, we grabbed our bug spray and our spray bottle fans and headed out for and encounter with nature…and giants!
It was about a 45 minute drive as we took the scenic route instead of the interstate. From our house, it was actually a straight shot, literally one left turn and then one right turn into the forest. There is a guard shack as you enter and the cost is $10 donation per car load. The attendant was very friendly and gave us simple instructions on how to find the giants. As you leave the shack and head into the forest to find parking, be sure to look to the right because you can see the first giant, Little Nis from the road. At this point we were getting really excited!
We parked the car and got all sprayed down with bug repellant (misquitos nearby just tested positive for West Nile) and headed to the path. The path is marked with golden giant footprints so you don’t get lost. There are lakes with lots of geese and turtles as well as machines you can put quarters in to get food for the turtles. Most of the greenery is marked to identify exactly what they are and there are many pretty flowers as well.
It wasn’t long before we happened upon our first giant, Little Nis. One of two, soon to be three children of Mama Loumari and Isak Heartstone, he stands with his hands and feet at the edge of the lake, almost as if he is about to wade in.
After our visit with Little Nis, we continued on our walk (I won’t call it a hike since I foolishly wore flip flops) following the giant golden footprints and the arrows until we came upon Mama Loumari. The mama giant is having a baby and so she just laid there taking it easy in the meantime. The area where she was had some sort of alter, it seemed. I couldn’t quite figure that out from the story. It was all really creative wood sculpture though! I was totally amused by the pregnant giant. I’m hoping it’s foreshadowing of additional giants in the near future!
Lastly, we encountered Little Elina, alone by the lake playing with a rock. I think she was our favorite giant…mostly because she appeared to have her hair in locs (aka dreadlocks), which is how Clark and Anya wear their hair! She also wore lots of hair accessories. There are quite a few big stones around Little Elina so that you can sit for a bit and take a break before you head back on your way.
All in all, it’s about a mile hike all the way out to the third giant and a mile back to the visitors center, where we started. There is also parking along the way between the giants, if you’re not much up for a hike. Be sure to wear mosquito spray as there are a couple of swamps along the way with still water, a haven for mosquitos.
We ended our Bernheim Forest visit with a drive up to the Canopy Tree Walk. It’s about a mile or so drive up from the Visitors’ Center into the forest. This is a boardwalk that extends into the forest canopy where you get to hang out in the treetops suspended 75 feet above the forest floor. By the time we arrived the ranger was just about to close the path for the evening and so we had the canopy to ourselves! It was a nice way to quietly end the adventure and just connect with the nature around us.
Have you had the opportunity to see any of Thomas Dambo’s Giant Trolls? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,