Sunday, November 15, 2015


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Destination: Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky

We crossed over the bridge into Ashland, Kentucky.
New favorite store: Rural Mart. They give you free popcorn and coffee at the door, and you can bring your dogs! 
We were STARVING when we got into Kentucky so took a chance on this rickety looking pizza shack. Turns out it was the famous local eatery, Miguel's Pizza. Miguel also runs a camp for climbers located directly behind the restaurant. Very college-y hippy ultra-climber scene. The place was packed inside and out and the pizza was delicious! You can order by 2, 4, or 8 slices and choose from a huge list of toppings like pesto, corn, cilantro, garlic, you name it. We loved it so much we went back later in the week. The Ale 8 in the photo is a local lightly flavored ginger/lime soda, not actually an ale. The park happens to be in a dry county.
Our campground in the valley
Cue breathtaking scenery: 

 If pictures could describe my affection for a lake, I would say that these do perfectly. It's name is Mill Creek Lake. It sat just above our campground, and it's deepest point was 75 feet.  I was told by the nice woman who owns Ledford's Bait Shop that the lake is only 60 years old, and that on a sunny day you could still see the wreckage of some of the houses that were once there below. Still so far this is one of my favorite lakes I have come across since we have been on this trip, and my love for it ran so deep that I was up at 5 am every morning to spend the day with it. Some days when it was getting close for Hana to be done working it was still hard to tear myself away. All day long I would listen to the water flowing down the spillway into Mill Creek Lake while working both of my fishing poles. I caught my first trout in this lake, and there were nineteen more to follow, along with 2 bass, a gobi, and a crawdad. I probably lost just as many as I brought in. There was even a time I had a fish on both poles at the same time. I also found that the bites slowed down tremendously after 9 am.I also had been asked for the first time for my fishing license in all the times I have fished with or without one. Fortunately the warden, who talked a bit tough at first had a soft heart and let me go, sparing me a 250 dollar fine and possibly the confiscation of my equipment. 

  I had seen a couple other photographers set up their equipment, but didn't capture quite a morning like this one. Even though it was dark, I knew to bring my camera with me, and when I was finished shooting a few of these pictures I had to run back to one of my poles that had a fish on it. This lake brought my heart as much excitement as it did peace, and if our campground would have stayed open later I would have begged Hana for another week. Nevertheless, I got to know parts of the lake well, but still had more to explore. On one hike I also discovered a small 19th century cemetery with stones placed in no particular order covered by tall grass and weeds. 

  The area of the Natural Bridge State park had a lot to offer for hardcore hikers and rock climbers, but after I hiked a couple of miles up some steep mountains through the Daniel Boone Forest my knees let me know that I was not going to burn off all the trout I would be frying up and grilling all week. While there was one point I would have felt sad that I would not be able to see all that I could see, I found my heart saying "now you can go back to the lake to fish." While it is called Mill Creek Lake, I will always also remember it as Lake Jumpin Bobbers.

We climbed that mountain

End of week three and I'm so exhausted this evening I can barely focus on writing anything. I guess the constant activity has finally caught up with both of us and we feel drained! One of the biggest issues for me has been the cold, since I apparently have the internal thermometer of a lizard. I got myself an electric blanket, though, so I'm feeling a little toastier on those chilly nights. The campground was packed on Saturday night as temperatures fell into the 20s. The bath house water line actually burst (!) leaving some without toilets & showers. I don't know how people tent camp in this weather, but many of them do it! 

Comments are appreciated, as always! See you in Tennessee..