George Barnett’s Polaroid photographs recount tales as timeless and storied as the woods themselves. Throughout the years of captured memories, Filson has become his weathered travel partner; a central subject in his work as well as his means of toting cameras and equipment. Here, follow George as he travels down the Bourbon Trail in his own Kentucky backyard.
I decided to embark on this project after debating & putting it on the "to-do" list for years. But finally, myself & a good friend packed up one early weekday morning & headed for the Bourbon trail.
We decided to keep the schedule free & very open due to the fact that it's such a long route with too many possible outcomes. We started in Bardstown, KY (Heaven Hill) where the field's open up to miles of open road's & "Rick Houses." As I was reading about the distillery process the night before at home, I was referencing facts about the rick houses & how they store & age the bourbon.
Bourbon starts clear but ages red from the charred barrels & bourbon was made proficiently from our excess corn farming & sweet mineral-enriched water from our limestone creeks. As we reached Clermont, KY (Jim Beam) we found ourselves looking for something to make this trip memorable. So within 20 minutes of being in Clermont, we reached a small Butcher town where we jumped some barb wire to meet what we considered "The Mystery" at the end of this decimated forgotten trail.
With nothing more than our packs on our back, we went completely off the grid into this wild area, no more than 6-minutes into the hike we came upon a handmade ladder made of heavy tree limbs & waxed burnt rope to hold it all together. Without hesitation, I begin to climb the ladder that reaches 16 feet up into the eggshell winter sky having no clue what was waiting for me at the top piece of land the ladder was hugging onto. Eventually we both were standing on the higher elevation of brush to find another mile of land to cover, with minds full of optimism we continue on to meet with one of Kentucky's most beautiful scenic mountain ranges.
Visually realizing all of the streams & rivers below in my sights help make the Bourbon my state is so well-known for was a reassurance that this trip would be in fact memorable. I'm genuinely proud to be from this land I'm standing on, I'm home.