“When you’re Hot, you’re Hot…” -Jerry ReedKentucky sure knows how to put on a summer. I’m staring at a shallow falls on the Cumberland River and realizing that I’ve probably got more water pouring off of my forehead at the moment. Three days shy of the Fourth of July, and I’m honestly wondering how it could get much hotter than the popular cliché. I’ll find out mid-week. It’s day one of the 2012 Unbridled Adventure Tour presented by the Kentucky State Parks and Department of Adventure Tourism, powered by Ale-8-One (he he).
A week ago we had been blessed with 75 degrees and a light wind from a cold front. Now a high pressure system decided to stall out over the east coast, churning triple digit temperatures and an interesting twist to the week ahead for this Outdoorsman. At least seven parks on the docket, plus a couple of side trips here and there that will promise to be a hot time indeed. And I’m bringing Mom along for the tour this year, so I can’t even swear to mock the heat for the entire seven days (It’s hotter than heck out here!).We would begin the trip early via highway 90 off the usual four lane route southeast of Glasgow. Kentucky 90 gets good around Marrowbone, and a must drive in the fall as it gives several views of rolling hillside and not much else to distract. Plus, you’ve got to see Burkesville at least once in your life. Driving over the Cumberland River even there, I realized just how vast that waterway is. We continued onward towards Suzie, Monticello, and Burnside, where the first stop of the tour took place. More like a drive-through. General Burnside Island is a popular golfing and boating park just south of Somerset on US 27. Named after the Union Army general who stationed troops there during the Civil War. For the life of me though, I’m still puzzled about the Island part, even after a lengthy consult of google maps. Evidently there is a causeway. It does offer great views of Lake Cumberland, however, and multiple camping spots to boot. I will mention that the heat was such that the pool was completely dry! Honest to goodness. It was my first steps out of the car, and already I could tell it would be a hot one! Leaving Burnside and farther south on 27 we stopped at Natural Arch in the Daniel Boone National Forest, a formation that easily rivals Natural Bridge at the state park up north. In fact, only 30 or so feet separate the two in length, the state park version being the longer and more popular of the two. A five mile trail takes you from the overlook area to the base of the arch and around, but on this day we’d settle for a few pictures from above and head on down the road, air-conditioner full bore.
After a brief stop in Stearns at the Big South Fork Railway Museum, we trekked back up 27 and onward to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Catfish and hushpuppies in the dining room overlooking the Cumberland, and then a short hike on trail number 6 from the lodge to the base of the hillside, partaking in the usual awe-inspiring views the Cumberland Falls always promises. Mom’s first time at the falls. My seventh trip. Lucky Seven. And when you’re hot, you’re hot.Cumberland Falls State Resort Park offers plenty for the weekend stay, including horseback riding, a (full) swimming pool, multiple hiking trails (#9 is a must…) and even one of the state’s only whitewater rafting opportunities through Sheltowee Trace Outfitters. If I could only visit a hand-full of the 50 plus state parks in Kentucky, I’d put Cumberland Falls on that list.
Back in the room and sweat soaked, worn out not from the hike but from the heat, I took a look out of my window, which ironically featured a view of the Dupont Lodge air conditioning unit.
I thanked my God. More from the tour tomorrow. We’re just gettin’ started…
THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF TRAVEL
Capital Plaza Tower 22nd Floor, 500 Mero Street, Frankfort, KY 40601