Not all state nature preserves are created equal. Some are as small as a few dozen acres from a private donor, while others span thousands of acres! While this doesn't deter me from attempting to visit and document them all, I like to think of larger preserves like headliners at a concert. Today's SNP is one of the bigger protected lands on the list and easily a favorite of the Ohio Uninterrupted series.
Lake Katharine is located in the Southeastern Ohio region, encompassing just over 2000 acres of protected land in Jackson county. There are six miles of trails to hike, and a great variety of natural features to explore on an extended visit. If you have the chance, wake up extra early to hit the Pine Ridge Trail and catch the lake during sunrise (see above). Beyond the lake, the trail winds through heavily wooded patches and around three ravines on the preserve (see below). For the nature photographers, this place has it all!
Just thinking about how I felt hiking and shooting that morning brings a smile to my face. The feeling and light I was chasing can be best described by the Japanese word, "Komorebi". Before I knew it, four hours had evaporated, and I left Lake Katharine exhausted and excited. Places like this are what energize me to keep pushing forward this project. If you're an Ohio native, please consider checking out the rest of this series, getting out there yourself to explore, or even donating your time or money to preserve these lands for the future. If you're located elsewhere, head out to your nearest public preserve. You might be pleasantly surprised with what you find.