Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bill Ramey was There!

I am really going to miss Bill Ramey.  It seems that Elkhorn City is losing some of its great ones.  It is impossible to cover impact that Bill had on our community. So I will hit just a few high spots.
Founders Day EC

Founders Day EC

Rodney Ruth, another great, and Bill’s best friend, spoke of Bill at the funeral. Rodney’s basic point was that Bill was “there” for Elkhorn City.  Bill loved Elkhorn City and was always at every event helping promote Elkhorn City.
However, when Rodney said Bill was there, his definition of “there” was more than most people know.  Bill was there at the planning. Bill was there at preparation of the event.  Bill was at the Event.  Bill was there after the event, either helping collect the garbage, taking down the tents, and just making sure everything was back the way it should be.  Yes, Bill was there when the idea came up, when the grunt work was needed, and he was there long after the politicians and elected leaders went home early.
Bill was also the founding father of the Elkhorn City Area Heritage Council, Inc., The Heritage Council started after a conversation in which Bill told me that he wanted a historical society in Elkhorn City.  So I did what I could and with the help of numerous other great people we started and we have not stopped.
Bill loved the Elkhorn City Cemetary and along with Nina Aragon was the reason the Cemetary was inventoried and placed on the list of Kentucky Historical Landmarks.  He is also the person who pushed and helped us get the William Ramey historical marker at the Caboose and all the other historical markers that followed.  Bill, along with Rodney was also the heart of the Elkhorn City Park Board.
Yes,  I have to agree with Rodney … Bill was there, and being there is what really matters! In Fact, he will always be there.   We need more Bill Rameys!
PS … I picture Bill in heaven digging up St Peter’s yuka plants while George Anderson, St. Peters head lawn man mows St. Peter’s lawn … and Bill drink a cold Pepsi for me.

Lessons learned form West, Texas and Boston

This is a guest post by James Lauren aka James Allen-Polley.  It is a facebook status update that I thought when straight to some big issues facing us all.  Here is James.


“I have refrained from political posts for a while. West, TX changes that for me. West is why we have the EPA. West is why you should be scared shirtless of Rand Paul, Ron Paul, and other proponents of corporate deregulation.

35 people are dead as a result of corporate negligence and deceit. Many more are injured. First responders will be covered in chemical burns, and 10 first responders are already included in that death toll. 

My heart goes out to Boston, but Boston is an act of madness, we cannot prevent the events precipitating the decision to Bomb a marathon.

What we can do is start having man hunts for people who profit off risking the lives of their workers, and start charging the responsible parties with manslaughter. The truest punishment for these people is not a fine, but to have to admit and explain to the world that they are responsible for the deaths of dozens, injuries to hundreds, and for hitting a community to its core.

Then again, nothing changed and no one cared after Upper Big Branch took 30 lives, nothing why should anything change now?”

High Adventure on the Great Eastern Trail: Elkhorn City sees first Great Eastern Trail thru Hikers

This is a guest post by James “Fred” Stapleton about the Great Eastern Trail thru  Hikers that made it to Elkhorn City yesterday.  The Great Eastern Trail is going to be a great thing for Elkhorn … heres Fred!


Another historic day has come and gone in Elkhorn City, KY. The world renowned “Hillbilly Bart and Someday Jo Show” arrived safe and sound at the northern terminus of the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail section of the Great Eastern Trail on March 11, 2013. I must say this show was spectacular! Definitely the best show in town, any town!
In case you are wondering what the “Hillbilly Bart and Someday Jo Show” is all about. It’s all about the Great Eastern Trail (GET) and its first two thru-hikers, Joanna Swanson a.k.a. “Someday” from Minnesota and Bart Houck a.k.a. “Hillbilly Bart” from West Virginia.
Like truck drivers, long- distance hikers have a “trail handle”. Unlike truck drivers, long-distance hikers are on a much slower pace and they carry their cargo (25-45 lbs) on their backs. Bart and Jo began their epic journey in January on the southern end of the trail in Alabama and expect to be in New York’s Finger Lakes region sometime in May or June at the northern end.
The Great Eastern Trail (GET) is America’s newest long-distance hiking trail which is 1800 miles long and crosses nine states. Originally called the Western Appalachian Alternative, it was conceived by Earl Shaffer, the first Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. The Great Eastern Trail (GET) provides a premier hiking experience on a series of existing trails that are being linked to each other into a long-distance footpath in the Appalachian Mountains stretching from Alabama to the Finger Lakes Trail in New York.
Kentucky’s newest state park, the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail is now officially part of the GET system and this is good news for Pike County. The Pine Mountain/Russell Fork River Corridor of Pike County Kentucky is quickly becoming an international destination for high-end eco-tourism activities. Undoubtedly, areas of Pike County such as Elkhorn City are poised to reap the benefits of this potential adventure recreation industry.
For example, in 1972 the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) established an outdoor recreation company located at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and the Nantahala River in rural Swain County, North Carolina, that has proven to be a shining success story. Originally a roadside inn, the company has evolved into one of the largest recreation companies in the nation and one of western Carolina’s largest employers. In 2010, NOC contributed $85,386,489 to the local economy while providing a total of 1,061 jobs. Another successful eco-tourism example is nearby Damascus, Virginia where 20,000 people hike into town for the annual “Trail Days” celebration.
I certainly think good things are on the horizon for communities that invest in eco-tourism but not all the benefits will be from financial gain, as I was privileged to witness Monday evening when I met “Hillbilly Bart” and “Someday” at the Pine Mountain Trailhead in Elkhorn City. This marked the beginning of “The Hillbilly Bart and Someday Jo Show” and I was fortunate enough to have the honor of rendezvousing with them at the Pine Mountain Trailhead and even more fortunate when they agreed to use my garage apartment, for a night of well deserved rest off the trail. “Someday” and “Hillbilly” were glad to get a solid roof over their heads (instead of nylon) and a hot shower. As for me, I was proud as a peacock to share my humble home with these celebrities. It was great to share their experiences over dinner at the Rusty Fork Café and again over my own, world famous oatmeal the following morning.
I’m not sure who receives the most enjoyment on this type of journey… the backpackers or local folks like myself, whom they meet along the way. When I met “Sometime” and “Hillbilly Bart” Monday evening I essentially became part of their journey. I became a team member and began to feel their excitement, their anticipation of what lies ahead, the dread of an approaching storm and the joy of finding out they have reached a safe campsite for the night.
This experience has made me think of the true advantages of living in a “trail town” or a “river town”. Throughout the ages humans have followed trails and rivers to advance trade… and trade advances prosperity and culture. So, just living near a river or a trail exposes us to new people, with new ideas that will enhance our knowledge and quality of life through diversity.
This exchange of humanity is equally experienced by our visitors hiking the trail as well. This is described by Debra Smith in her book, ”Great Stories of Hiking the Appalachian Trail”. She says “It might even be called a journey in human relationships and fantastic hospitality, with walking secondary. Folks we met along the way boosted our morale. Their faith in us, that we would achieve our goal and their help in making it possible could not have been greater. In this day of hate and violence it is refreshing to meet human beings who exemplify love for their fellowman.”
As Jo and Bart are approaching mile 700 on their 1,800 mile (4-5 month) trek from Alabama to New York on the newly developed Great Eastern Trail, I have no doubt they will arrive in New York with smiling faces, a few blisters and a pocket-full of Smarties. I’ve learned that Smarties and Moon Pies are like some-kind-of redneck Power Bar for thru-hikers. I would have never known!
If these folks stop in your town don’t miss the show. It’s certainly worth the price of admission…just for the nutritional info alone. Seriously, if you are fortunate enough to encounter these adventurers on their journey, offer your assistance and what you will receive in return will stick with you forever.
In conclusion, I am happy to report that I returned “Hillbilly Bart” and “Someday” to the trailhead where I found them this morning and they are now on their merry way to Matewan, West Virginia with great enthusiasm and spirit, along with “Hillbilly’s” bum ankle and “Someday’s” blistered foot. My advice…don’t bet against these guys. Personally, I’m betting the bank that the famous “Hillbilly Bart and Someday Jo Show” will be playing at a campsite somewhere in New York soon!!!
To join in the fun and follow the adventures of “Hillbilly Bart” and “Someday” on their way to New York visit their website at Go, Go, Go Bart and Jo.


Submitted by James Stapleton
The author is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail and currently living the dream in Elkhorn City, Kentucky.

You can find out more about the Great Eastern Trail Here

Follow Bart and Jo progress at

Rafts in the Russell Fork Gorge



The Lower Falls or El Horrendo Russell Fork River Elkhorn City, Kentucky