A Day on the Kentucky River …. Part 2.

The bluegrass is tall here in Kentucky, and I should probably cut it today… but it will still be there tomorrow.  Besides, paddling is always more fun than riding a lawn-mower for 3 hours!  
It’s a near perfect day to paddle on the Kentucky River, it’s about 75 degrees, sunny with a light breeze.  I put-in my kayak again at the Bill Fint boat ramp in Tyrone, Kentucky.  Today being Memorial Day means more boaters on the river.   I need to wait for a few minutes while a good old boy and his girlfriend back their trailer down the boat ramp to load their bass boat.  The young lady comments that she didn’t see my fishing pole?  I say, “today is not a “fishing day” for me,” 
“I’m going paddling for a few hours.”  Two teenage boys are sitting comfortably in a pair of lawn-chairs under the shade of a big sycamore tree, they ask if my kayak is inflatable?  “Well yes it is…” I respond.  They then ask, “what do you do if it gets a hole?”  Before I respond, I look to see if they have a BB-gun among their belongings? … haha … that would be funny bad for me… 
I respond, “well if it gets a hole, I will probably get wet?”  Was that a trick question?  The boys laugh as they show me a stringer of catfish from the days catch!  “Good job boys, almost enough for supper.”  
Today I’m going up-river toward the McCoun’s Ferry boat ramp.  Probably about 15 miles away.  This time I am going against the lazy current of the Kentucky River.  The River is moving slowly but it still makes paddling an inflatable kayak a bit more work when going against the current!  The trees are all  green now, hardly a bare branch in sight.  The high banks on either side of the Kentucky are like mighty walls of green stones stretching as far as I can see.  The peace and tranquility of an afternoon paddle are only briefly interrupted by the roar of a fishing boat as it races by… One boat with a family of four, pause about 100 yards away while the Captain adjusts the motor.  The little boy in the nose of the boat yells to his father, “Daddy, make big waves for that man in the canoe…”  Gee, thanks kid, how kind of you…. As Dad races away, the little tike laughs as the waves rock my little vessel!  In an inflatable kayak, one’s butt always gets wet, with or without waves from a passing speedboat!  The turtles are basking in the afternoon sun on just about every log on the river.  There are literally hundreds and hundreds of them.  As I approach the logs, most catapult themselves into the water and quickly submerge into the muddy depths of the lazy river.  Some turtles are small, no bigger than my fist but others are the size of large dinner plates!  The large ones sound like big rocks when they hit the water.  I manage to sneak-up on a pair, getting within about 10 feet and snap a few pictures before they dive off their sunny perch!  The river gives away its age by the carved Kentucky River stone lining the banks.  After about 3 hours of work, I decide it’s time to take a break on a small rock island!  The banks of the Kentucky River are famous for mud.  Thick, quicksand-like mud!  I have stepped onto the banks before and quickly sank up to my knees in thick, black, stinky mud!  I think snowshoes might work to help keep me from sinking.  Unfortunately I don’t own a pair!  Seriously, the Kentucky River mud is really thick!  I recommend a good strong pair of sandals with straps on the heel and over the toes for all kayakers taking to the Kentucky.  Normal sneakers will stick to the bottom and you will soon donate them to the catfish-god!   After a water and energy bar break, it’s back on the river…. more turtles, more passing boaters and lots of lazy flowing water!   I arrive at McCoun’s Ferry after about 4 hours of paddling and take a look at my GPS map.  I need to call my ride and tell them it’s “pick-up time.”  I decide that my buddy might not know how to get to the pick-up spot?  The roads along the Kentucky River are often poorly marked on maps.  And every outdoorsman knows that the link-up is a tricky operation!  It’s still early enough in the day to find a better pick-up spot! I remember one about 2 miles back down river that’s much more well know.  So I decide to head back down river to my new pick-up point along Gilbert’s Creek Road!  I call and inform my ride of the change of plans.  The only problem is that the new pick-up spot doesn’t have a concrete boat ramp.  It has those steep, high, walls of Kentucky River mud I must climb.  I carefully pick my takeout spot on my GPS.  I don’t want to have to walk too far through the Kentucky River Jungle to meet my ride on the road.  Today the gods were smiling on me and the minute I step out of the thick underbrush… my ride rolls up…. perfect timing!      

Above and below, the uniformly carved river stone lines the banks of the Kentucky River.

Above, two large turtles bask in the afternoon sun on the Kentucky River.

Below, a homemade double decker pontoon boat sits docked along the Kentucky River.

Above, my small rock island break spot on the Kentucky River.  Best thing about this spot…. there was no MUD!

Below, more Kentucky River stone!

Above and Below, my pick-up point near Gilbert’s Creek Road.  As you can see the bank was pretty steep, fortunately I have an inflatable Kayak!

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New Adventure Vehicle for 2013…..

I recently purchased a 2013 Toyota Tacoma TX pickup truck.  This week I added an ARE top to it and will make a few more modifications to the vehicle over the coming months in order to make her a No-Frills Adventure Vehicle.  I still have “Bertha” the Ford F350 – Bigfoot Camper Truck and have no plan to send her out to pasture…. but the addition of the Tacoma will allow me to go to more remote locations for future adventures, possibly overseas to Europe and Africa in 2014.  I plan to stay as “spartan” as possible with the Tacoma.  I really just want a vehicle that can go off-road, provide protection from the wind, rain and the occasional bear while allowing me to add a kayak or two to the roof!  As you know I like to give all vehicles a name…. I have not completely decided on a name yet but maybe the “WwAVe” will work for the Tacoma?  The “WaAVE” stands for
World Wide Adventure Vehicle…..
I’d love to hear from readers concerning recommended Mods!
Thanks!

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A Day on the Kentucky River

After a few days of projects on the lil-farm this week,  I decided it was time for a little adventure on the water.  I dusted off the kayak and set-out to do some paddling.  Since it’s Kentucky Derby weekend, what better place to paddle than on the Kentucky River!  I launched my kayak from the Bill Fint Boat Ramp in Tyrone, Kentucky, just a few miles from Downtown Lawrenceburg, at about 11:00 AM.

I headed north, my destination… Frankfort, Kentucky, the State Capital.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and about 70 degrees.  I have always wanted to kayak from Lawrenceburg (Tyrone) to Frankfort.  The two cities are only about 12 miles apart via Hwy 127, but following the river, they are a little over 20 miles apart.  The ironic thing about kayaking from Tyrone to Frankfort is that at one time, Tyrone was a contender to become the Kentucky State Capital.  As history would have it, Frankfort won out and became the State Capital and Tyrone became a sleepy little river city of no more than a few dozen inhabitants!  

Along the way I passed under the Tyrone Railroad Bridge and the Hwy 62 car bridge.  On the west side of the river, just past the bridges you can see the Wild Turkey Distillery up on the hill.

No more than 20 mins into the trip,  I encounter a 5 foot long copperhead snake crossing the river (pictures above and below).  I don’t know what it is with me lately, but I always seem to unintentionally find the venomous snakes?  The creepy crawler paused long enough for me to get a few pictures before reaching the east bank of the river where he quickly escaped into the base of a hollow tree.

After an hour of paddling,  I reached Lock 6.  It’s the only Lock between Tyrone and Frankfort, but since the locks are no longer operational, anyone Kayaking the river will need to portage their boat to the other side of the dam.  I’d recommend exiting the river on the west bank about 100 meters before the dam and then walk along the concrete apron along the lock past the dam.  The concrete apron has steps all the way down to the river where you can safely re-enter the river.  

Above and below, Lock 6 on the Kentucky River.  Ever wonder where all those plastic bottles people throw out the windows of their cars end-up?  They often end up in a river somewhere!

Above, along the way I saw some really beautiful homes and also encountered some, shall we say… atypical, improvised dwellings…

There were numerous houseboats (above) and even some travel-trailer boats (Below).

Below, the table stranded in the tree shows how high the water level sometime reaches!

Finally after about 20 miles of paddling for almost 6 hours non-stop, I reached downtown Frankfort.  The Capital Dome can be seen above the trees less than a mile from the Kentucky River! (Above).

Above, the railroad bridge in Frankfort.  Although no longer in use, the bridge still makes for a great photo op!

Below, my Kayak sits a-top a picnic table in the Frankfort, River View Park while I wait form my ride back to Lawrencebug.

Note to self…. a 20 + mile kayak trip on a river with virtually no current, for my season opening kayak adventure is probably not a great idea.  I am whopped, my arms and chest are pretty sore!
I am sure I will sleep well tonight! 

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