“We need the tonic of wilderness...We can never have enough of nature.”
-Henry David Thoreau, American essayist and practical philosopher
If you enjoy the great outdoors, love nature, and need the tonic Henry David Thoreau spoke of, contact the Appalachian Lost and Found Trail Guide business located in Matewan, West Virginia. “We offer a glimpse into the Kentucky Outlaw Trail system, which in and of itself is simply a well travelled group of interconnected mountain roads, reclaimed surface mines, gas roads, railway, etc,” says Herbie Dotson, who works at the trail guide business. “It is not an official trail, just paths that our locals use and ways that we are familiar with.”
An Unconventional Tour
The tours got started simply from a love of the outdoors, according to Herbie. “We love to get out and enjoy the outdoors. We’re familiar with the area and its backroads...and felt as though starting a tour guide service would be a natural fit,” he says. From there, they began figuring out the best trails to use, and how to share the word.
Tours typically run 4-6 hours, and the path tends to change based on the wants of the group taking the tour. “Some folks prefer nature, some prefer history, some want to see the horses, and others just want to ride,” Herbie says, though the horses are a favorite. “They certainly appeal to everyone. Being among them seems to stir joy in people and this experience never gets old.” It’s important to Herbie that the tours be “more about the experience” than any set destination.”
Someday, they’d like to offer a small fleet of tours. Herbie says, “We want to grow to the point that we can create jobs.” Until then, they are excited to offer their monthly tours.
All photos provided by Appalachian Lost & Found Trail Guide