Whitesburg KY
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Visit brings praise for Lake Cumberland State Park

Points East


Loretta and I decided last Thursday night that we both needed some serious R&R. We also figured we could make it pour rain and bring on an early frost if we packed up and headed for a state park.

We settled on Lake Cumberland State Park because it is smack in the middle of a part of our state that is heavily dependent on an agricultural economy and probably needed wet weather significantly more than any other place that we might venture forth.

We packed half a dozen spinning reels, three cameras and a couple changes of clothing into Lo’s SUV and pulled out on Friday morning.

She was onto me to wash it before we left. The car is naturally black, but it looked more like gold because of all the dust. We live on a blacktopped road and have a paved driveway but we’re surrounded by pastures on both sides that are so dry that grazing cattle throw up contrails of dust when they walk across fields.

Every time the dogs run across the yard to bark at the mailman the dust also flies.

Washing a vehicle here is an effort in futility.

So, instead of washing, I simply wet my finger and wrote “Drought Busters, Inc.” in large letters on the rear widow and down both sides.

Sure enough, it clouded up right on cue and rained so hard between Mount Vernon and Somerset that we had to slow down to a crawl for several miles. The same thing happened on Cumberland Parkway between Somerset and Russell Springs. We even passed a wrecked truck that had jack-knifed on the wet road and we’d seen several emergency vehicles headed in both directions.

When we got to Jamestown there was no sign of my drought busters ad on the vehicle. It was shining like new and looked like it had gone through one of those high dollar car washes. The sun was back out and the temperature was over 90.

We tried trout fishing on Friday evening and Saturday morning in the raceway below Wolfe Creek Dam. Sunday morning we tried fishing in the lake but it was too hot to fish or do much of anything else outdoors. We did catch two nice trout on Saturday and intended to grill them, but the outside temperature was significantly hotter than it was on July 4.

We spent a lot of time photographing wildlife, mostly from rolled-down car windows. Wild turkeys, deer, squirrels, peregrine falcons, raccoons, chipmunks, and skunks are abundant in the park. Especially skunks. Suffice to say that the gift shop need not worry about burglars after hours. Six huge skunks wander around the back side of the lodge like they own the place. As does the biggest coon I’ve ever seen. Loretta actually thought it was a bear the first time she saw it.

Saturday morning when we got up, we went out on the balcony to take in the sunrise and something had pooped on the porch. It wasn’t me, but someone else could easily have concluded that it might have been. Loretta dead bolted and chained the door on Saturday night then propped a chair up under the doorknob. We were three stories up and I figure the coon had climbed out the limb of a huge oak just behind our room. Loretta thinks that Bigfoot climbed up the gutter downspout.

We both wound up purchasing swimwear and spent much evening time in the pool and sauna. The lodging price we’d been quoted before heading out was so reasonable that it never occurred to us that the facilities would be so nice and complete. But the big gift shop at State Dock had marked all its clothing down to clearance prices so we wound up with bargains that will come in handy when we go back in main season.

We were not able to bring any rain to the park, but we did bring them the hottest October weekend, by several degrees, that they’ve had since the park opened back in the ’60s.

Loretta and I have visited every state park with lodging facilities in the state and each has its own unique style and attraction. We drove home wondering why Lake Cumberland’s Lure Lodge is not touted as highly as several others we frequent. In just three days, despite the too-hot weather and the dismal fishing, we are ranking it number 1.


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