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SUMMER FUN: Don’t forget about the Giants (and more) at Bernheim Forest

by Nettie Farris | Those of you familiar with Charlestown State Park will love Bernheim Forest this summer. The Giants are here.

Meet Nis, youngest son, discovering his refection:    

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His sister, Elena, arranging stones in the shape of a feather:  

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And Mama Loumaria, resting:

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All easily accessible from the Visitor’s Center, a stunning work of architecture that is entirely solar-powered and blends seamlessly into the natural environment. The Giant Trolls, who arrived at Bernheim in mid-March 2019 to celebrate the private forest’s 90th anniversary, will be on view for approximately 3 years. They are part of a larger project by Danish artist Thomas Danbo, using recycled materials. Our local sculptures were made partially from bourbon barrels and scrap wood from Louisville Slugger. These are friendly trolls, with personality created from rich detail such as the bracelet on the left wrist of Elena. Father Troll, Isak Heartstone, lives in Colorado and has proven so popular with visitors that he is currently in the process of relocating in order to avoid disturbing his neighbors.

While at Bernheim, don’t neglect to stop by the Edible Garden, the Children’s Play Garden, the Canopy Walk, the Fire Tower, and the forest’s numerous trails. On my recent visit to observe the Giants, I hiked Elm Lick Trail, a 5-mile hike noted as “difficult.”  Fortunately, I had my hiking pole, which was very useful on this rainy day, as the trail was muddy with deep water puddles.

I have hiked the Millennium Trail on multiple occasions.  This 13.75 mile trail is the longest at Bernheim, and requires 6-7 hours. The Millennium Trail, and others, is well-marked. Trail maps are available at the Visitors Center, open 9:00-5:00 weekdays, and 9:00-6:00 weekends. Isaac’s Café is open 11:00-4:00 daily. Entrance fee is a recommended $10 donation per car. Located in Clermont, Kentucky, the forest is easily found off Interstate 65, south of Louisville. Plan your visit today.

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