Hidden Corners of History: Carter Caves

Jarrod E. Stephens

The Ashland Beacon


   There are times whenever we need to get away from the daily tasks and take on some adventure. Unfortunately, we are now entering the time of year where the weather may dampen the opportunity for outdoor adventures. It’s no secret that we live in one of the most beautiful regions whenever it comes to diverse landscapes and natural beauty. 

   Thanks to the foresight and generosity of some lawmakers and landowners, an underground world of exploration exists that rarely is affected by our outdoor weather. Hidden away in Carter County is a gem of a place where in spite of cooling weather and sometimes sour conditions you can enjoy mild temperatures and relatively dry conditions year-round.

   Carter Caves State Resort Park is home to an amazing series of underground caves that any explorer from beginner to expert can appreciate. Some caves don’t offer wintertime tours but were important in our local history. One cave in particular has quite an historical significance. The Saltpeter Cave is said to have been used to mine saltpeter which is an ingredient used in gunpowder. Some say that the saltpeter was actually mined and used to produce gunpowder for the War of 1812. This cave is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

   Another cave that offers limited tours is the Bat Cave. The Bat Cave is considered a wild cave tour because is has not been modernized with pathways or lighting. As its name suggests, it is home to many bats. That’s the primary reason for limiting the cave tours from Memorial to Labor Day. Many bats hibernate in the cave and limiting the tours keeps them from being disturbed during hibernation.

   While the temperatures will cool some during the winter months, the temperature inside the caves will generally stay in the 50s. Guided tours of X-Cave and Cascade cave are given year-round. Cascade Cave offers the longest scenic cave tour in the park. Inside you’ll get to see a 30-foot waterfall and an enormous room called the Dance Hall. Other notable features are the Cathedral, North cave, and Lake Room’s reflecting pool. 

   X-Cave is also open year-round and is so named because of the crossing of the caverns in the middle of the cave and it forms an X. The Great Chandelier can be seen and is the largest collection of stalactites in the park. Some other features are formations known as Headache Rock, the Pipe Organ and Giant Turkey. 

   Nearly a decade ago a sad chapter for the caves had begun to be written. A disease that is known as white-nose syndrome began infecting the hibernating bats in the caves. The disease is fatal for up to 70-100% of bat populations when it is introduced. White-nose syndrome is carried and spread by visitors who wear contaminated clothing into the cave. Extensive measures for monitoring the bats and providing decontamination of clothing and shoes for visitors have been put into place to protect the fragile bat population.  

   If you don’t care to brave the fall and winter elements or if you catch a relatively nice day, then you can also take advantage of their many trails that will offer you a unique experience. The park has five natural bridges and several miles of walking trails. The trails will give you a glimpse of the area’s unique geology and you’ll maybe realize for the first time what an amazing place Carter Caves really is.

   Don’t let the late fall and coming winter days keep you from embarking on a journey. Take the short drive to Carter Caves State Resort Park and experience its rich history and see for yourself why so many visitors come back. 

Low-Dose CT Scans Detect Lung Cancer Early


   Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. Like all cancers, it is most treatable when discovered early. King’s Daughters is pleased to offer an imaging study called low-dose CT scan, allowing providers to detect lung abnormalities, including lung cancer, earlier and more effectively than ever before. 

   The scan can find signs of lung cancer before a patient is even experiencing symptoms and has shown to decrease mortality from lung cancer by 20%.

   “If we do a low-dose CT and we find a nodule that’s pea sized, you actually wouldn’t have any symptoms. And that’s the whole goal of doing low-dose screening, is to detect lung cancer as early as possible so we can begin treatment,” said King’s Daughters Oncologist/Hematologist Galena Salem, M.D. “Early detection can save your life.”

   Low-dose CT is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. To be eligible, patients must:


•Be between 50 and 77 years old

•Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer

•Be a current smoker (or quit in last 15 years)

•Have a tobacco use history of at least 20 pack-years (One pack-year equals smoking 20 cigarettes/day for a year)


   King's Daughters provides the testing in Ashland, Grayson, Prestonsburg and Portsmouth. To discuss eligibility, please call 606.408.8999 or visit bit.ly/KDLowDoseCT.


Preventing Lung Cancer

   The best way to prevent lung cancer is to not smoke. No matter your age or how long you’ve been smoking, quitting improves your health both immediately and over the long term. 

   Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal and the temperature of your hands and feet return to normal. Within 24 hours, your chance of a heart attack decreases. After three months, your circulation improves, walking becomes easier, and, your lung function increases up to 30 percent. 

   After one year, your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker. After five years, the lung cancer death rate for the average former smoker decreases by almost half; the stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker; and the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker. 

   Quitting smoking isn’t easy. Successful quitting is a matter of planning and commitment, not luck. It all starts with day one.

   “Unfortunately, not that many people can quit cold turkey,” said Dr. Salem. “So what I always tell my patients is ‘every cigarette matters.’ Have a goal, set a date and go toward that goal.”

   King’s Daughters offers tobacco cessation classes and one-on-one counseling to community members. For more information, contact tobacco treatment specialist Deidre Justice, RN, at deidre.justice@kdmc.kdhs.us or 606.408.6400.

The Boys of Fall: November 15

James Collier

The Ashland Beacon



   Two things have been consistent in the last two meetings between Ashland and Belfry. 

   Sloppy playing conditions and Ashland winning. 

   Both were in effect Friday night after Ashland marched up and down the rain-soaked Putnam Stadium en route to a 48-7 thrashing over Belfry in the second round of the Class 3A Playoffs. LaBryant Strader accounted for four touchdowns and Braxton Jennings added three in the Tomcats largest margin of victory ever over the Pirates. 

   Jennings first score of the night came only 29 seconds into the contest on a 1-yard plunge. Jennings second came with 41 seconds to play in the frame on a 37-yard pass from Strader and a 13-0 lead after one. 

   Brandon Houston scampered 44 yards late in the second stanza for a 21-0 lead. Strader pushed the Ashland lead to 28 just over one minute later. Belfry’s lone score came as the clock showed zeros to end the half. Jennings third score of the night came with 34 seconds to play in the third. Strader’s final TD of the night came on another 1-yard plunge into the endzone. Tay Thomas closed the scoring with a 3-yard run late in the quarter. 

   Strader threw for 142 yards while rushing for another 54. Jennings led the Tomcats with 65 yards on 11 carries. Terrell Jordan hauled in one pass for 71 yards. Houston had 65 yards on three grabs. Ashland’s defense created six turnovers in the game, five fumbles all of which were recovered by the Tomcats and an interception. 

   Ashland travels to Bell County Friday night in the regional championship round of the playoffs. 



   The only thing that slowed Raceland down Friday night was themselves. 

   The Rams scored on their first offensive snap—a 47-yard run by Noah Wallace—only to have the play negated due to a holding penalty. The infraction, however, only delayed the inevitable, another Rams blowout win as they put the running clock in motion only four seconds into the second quarter for a 43-6 victory over Paris in the second round of the Class A Playoffs. 

   Raceland’s four first quarter touchdowns all started in Paris territory as the Rams defense limited the Greyhounds to negative three yards in the first half. Logan Lundy threw his first of four TDs to open the scoring for the Rams, finding Mason Lykins for a 22-yard score. Landyn Newman slipped into the endzone from 10 yards out and a 14-0 lead. Jules Farrow navigated his way 16 yards to paydirt three minutes later for 22 unanswered by the Rams. 

   After the Rams defense forced another three-and-out by Paris, Elias Jackson blocked his first of two punts on the night, both of which were recovered by the Rams. The first blocked kick handed the Rams the ball on the Greyhounds six and they needed only one play to add to the lead after Noah Wallace darted through the line for the score. 

   Lundy’s third TD of the night found Parker Fannin from 12 yards out to start the running clock. Lundy and Lykins hooked up with 5:35 to play in the half and a 43-0 edge at the break. 

   Lundy threw for 83 yards while surpassing 2,000 yards on the year. Lundy is the first Rams quarterback to throw for over 2,000 yards since Nathaniel Davidson tossed for 3,013 in 2016. Lykins caught a pair of passes for 42 yards. Wallace ran for 48 yards. 

   Raceland welcomes Hazard Friday night in the regional championship round of the playoffs and the first meeting between the programs since 1990. 



   It was tabbed the rematch when Greenup County visited Lawrence County Friday night in the second round of the Class A Playoffs. 

   Greenup County knocked off Lawrence County in week three with a goal line stand for the victory. Friday night was anything but as the Musketeers dominated the Bulldogs for a 28-7 win on a sloppy field in Louisa. Ike Henderson and Tyson Sammons rushed for a pair of touchdowns each to lead the Musketeers to their first 8-win season since 1998. 

   Henderson’s first score of the night came midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 lead after one. Sammons scampered seven yards to the house with 6:13 to play in the half for a 14-0 lead. Lawrence County pulled to within seven after a TD before the half, but the Musketeers were too strong down the stretch. 

   After a scoreless third, Greenup County cashed in with a pair of Sammons and Henderson scoring runs in the matter of 14 seconds. After the Musketeers orchestrated a 16-play drive that consumed nearly the entirety of the fourth quarter clock, they forced the second Bulldogs fumble of the night on the ensuing kickoff that led to the final points in the affair. 

   Sammons led the Musketeers with 117 yards on 21 totes. Henderson added 73 rushing yards. Sammons completed all seven of his passes. Henderson hauled in one pass for 36 yards. Carson Wireman had three grabs for 28. 

   Greenup County travels to Mason County Friday night in the regional championship round of the playoffs. 



   Boyle County literally hit the ground running in the Rebels visit to Boyd County Friday night in the second round of the Class 4A Playoffs. 

   Montavin Quisenberry marched 151 yards on only eight carries to lead the visitors to a 43-21 win over the Lions. Quinsenberry visited the endzone four times in the affair, three rushing touchdowns and a 98-yard kickoff return midway through the second. Boyle County secured a 14-0 lead after one which increased to 43-7 at the half after four scores in the second stanza. Quisenberry scored thrice in the frame with runs of 11 and 14 yards bookending his kickoff return. 

   Boyd County’s lone score of the half came on a Blake Waulk fumble recovery scoop and score with 7:16 to play in the half. Cayden Bulter hauled in a Rhett Holbrook pass in the third quarter and Josh Thornton caught a 19-yard TD from Holbrook in the fourth. Holbrook threw for 172 yards in the losing effort. Malachi Wheeler led the Lions with 66 yards on 13 totes. 

   Boyd County closes the season 8-4 and its first winning season since posting a 7-5 mark in 2008. 

Tomcat Wrestling Craft and Vendor Fair This Weekend

Grace Phillips

The Ashland Beacon


   According to the words of a very familiar Christmas song, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”  That will definitely be the case this Saturday, November 19 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. when the Ashland High School Gymnasium will become a winter wonderland of all things Christmas for your shopping pleasure.

   “This is the second year for the event.  Last year we used the lobby area for our show but we have added more vendors this year and have moved into the gym to allow more room.” Event coordinator, Lory Scarberry continued, “we have such great variety of vendors for all your Christmas needs.  There will be Christmas door hangers & wreaths, candles, t-shirts, soaps, cups, wax tarts, badge reels, jewelry and this is just the small list of items available.”

   The craft show proceeds will be used for the Ashland Tomcat wrestling program.  Scarberry explained that the vendors all pay a fee to the program for their booth, allowing the public free admission to the event.  However, donations to the wrestling program will be gladly accepted.    “Our vendors are wonderful about supporting our program, we just want to encourage everyone to come out and support them throughout the day.”  There will be several raffles of items throughout the day that were donated by the vendors also. 

   Ghostly Gourmet will be hosting the kitchen for the event. Bobby and Mary Legge offer a great variety of food at these events, very reasonably priced. Once you have tried their menu items it is certain you will follow where they will be setup and selling if only to have lunch with them.   A dining area will be in the lobby so you can sit and enjoy your food before going back to more shopping.  

   Santa will make a special appearance from the North Pole from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.  Parents may take photos with Santa on your personal devices for free.  Cogan Photography will be setup next to Santa and doing Christmas Minis during the event.  Minis will be digital images with prices ranging from $10 - $25.    You can choose to include Santa in your mini session also if desired.

   Vendor space is still available if you would like to join the event.  Please contact Lory Scarberry at 606.615.3743 for information.  Don’t miss this unique shopping experience and the opportunity to shop small, shop local, and support the Ashland Wrestling Team.


Sasha Bush

The Greater Ashland Beacon

             It is said that there is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others. It's also said that there is nothing purer than the heart of a child. Two local young ladies have proven both statements to be true. Jaidyn and Aryanna Gulley have been fundraising for their 2023 basketball travel/club expenses for quite some time now. So far, the girls have managed to raise a total of $350 toward their $5000 goal. Both girls play for the well-renowned team, the West Virginia Thunder. Anyone who has children involved with any type of travel ball is all too familiar with the expenses that come along with being on a travel ball team/club.

            Recently, the Gulley girls have been going around the local elementary schools in hopes of encouraging other young girls to sign up for the Ashland Youth Basketball League (AYBL). The AYBL is something both girls hold very near and dear to their hearts. When the girls learned that the number of participants was very low for the AYBL, they became very concerned and even more so when they learned that not a single participant that had signed up was from Crabbe Elementary School. Shannon Rae Gulley, the girl’s mother, shared with the Beacon that, “the girls were upset about this and decided that other girls from their elementary school should have the opportunity to play. So, our girls decided to take $300 of the $350 that they had raised for their travel ball expenses and donated it so that at least five girls from their elementary school could have an opportunity to play basketball.”

            Jaidyn Gulley shared, “Crabbe is very special to us, and we hope that lots of young Crabbe ballers showcase their talent during the AYBL. We love Crabbe! Crabbe and the teachers that were there were very instrumental to us. We still consider them family to this day. So many people have helped us along the way that we just felt it was the right thing to do. Giving back and giving a chance to someone who maybe didn't have it. We know what it is like to not always be able to do something because our parents weren't always able to afford it; so, if that was the reason someone wasn't playing, we wanted to step in and help.”

             Aryanna Gulley, Jaidyn’s sister, also commented, “I agree with everything Jaidyn said. Crabbe is very special to us. Jaidyn and I both played basketball for Crabbe during the Ashland Youth Basketball League. Crabbe was always considered the underdog, I think. But we played hard, and I am pretty sure we went to the championship that year. Basketball is such a great sport and Crabbe is a great school. Some of my closest friends today were a result of Crabbe and the Ashland Youth Basketball League and it’s because of them that I fell in love with the game. I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not been a part of that. I am grateful for the opportunity. We know there is talent there and we hope to see it this season and for many years to come.”

            Both Jaidyn and Aryanna have big dreams of continuing to contribute to this cause every year and hope to eventually reach a point where they can pay for every Crabbe Elementary School girl that wants to play for the AYBL. Shannon Ranae Gulley, the girl’s mother stated, “for the girls to make an effort all on their own to help someone else and follow through by showing such a caring gesture is simply wonderful. Their selflessness is very admirable. I honestly couldn’t be prouder. Our girls are very special.” Jaidyn stated, “it feels good knowing that we could help. I hope they find happiness in the game!” Aryanna added, “It’s nice to be able to be helpful!” Aryanna also shared her motto with us…the hashtag #WeOverMe! What a statement from such a young soul. We should all be so wise as to live by young Aryanna’s motto.