PLACES TO GO ON LAND HOME PLACES TO GO ON WATER
Wednesday, September 25, 2008
to Dam 4 in
The capital city! When I started
this trip back on July 14, it was an article in the paper about
As one might expect, this area of the river would turn out to have more
activity on it than would any other. The
combined quantity of boats, houses, buildings and industry here serve notice
that you are, in fact, paddling by the largest city on this river. As you might expect too, there’s history
aplenty here so I decided to take a short detour by the
I should note here, since there is so much to see on this section, that I’m not used to writing about so much happening at one time. Thus, I hope that the general flow of this journal will provide for an OK reading experience. As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t come close to doing justice to the places I write about. I can only hope that these journals will serve as an introduction to these areas so that the reader will want to experience them for him or herself too at some point.
Anyhow, once at the ramp I got an immediate taste of history as it
relates directly to the river. I hadn’t
noticed it when I paddled a part of this section last year, but the library
atop the ramp I used was named for Paul Sawyier. He was the man I’ve mentioned before who
lived for 4 years on a shanty boat (now at Shaker Landing – mile 118) in the
early 1900’s painting pictures of the river.
He was from
In fact, the spot for this particular boat ramp is perfect in many
ways. Judging from his paintings it’s
apparent that Sawyier must have loved the river, so
it’s appropriate that the ramp and marina are right here. At the bottom of the ramp, too, is
At any rate, I made my way upriver about . I’ll mention that although I’ve named this trip as I did above for the sake of continuity, what I actually did on this day was to paddle a little bit further up to the Little Benson Creek to start. I wanted to get a better picture of the “little island paradise” I saw a couple days ago and described in my last entry.
Once at this point, I got out at the shoal to stretch and, as I was draining some of the water out of my boat, I attracted the attention of a bee. It buzzed around me as I quickly got back into the boat. With my legs both awkwardly over one side, I was fully ready to dive in the water if need be. I was lucky though that the bee eventually lost interest.
Back at the beach on Mulholand
Bend that I wrote about last time, I was able to confirm that this is, in fact,
There are a few more houses on this side after these and on the right side you’ll see the boat ramp that I also mentioned the last time. In fact, in the first downriver mile there are 3 boat ramps on the right - this one, an older one in the middle (at another house for sale) and yet another at the end. These all look to border on a street called Shore Acres which has a line of houses which extends for about a mile. Between the second and third ramp was the first tree house I can recall seeing. There may have been others, but this one stands out and it looks to have an oriental theme.
This first mile is part of a long and straight 2 mile stretch and after
the ramps I noticed a bird house on a tree with a sign under it that I couldn’t
quite read. This would be somewhat
unremarkable but for the fact that I began to wonder exactly where the Buckley
Wildlife Sanctuary and
As you enter a curve right at mile 72 a hill crops in and you can just
make out a palisade atop this. Another
hill becomes visible in the distance at mile 71 on a curve left once you can
see around this one. The hills have
switched sides on this “S” curve.
As I exited the creek, I noticed some old equipment on the right. The charts indicate that the Jim Beam distillery intake is here, but there’s no sign of life that I can tell. When a friend and I visited the Jim Beam distillery a couple years ago it wasn't located anywhere near here. It was in Shepherdsville. Maybe this was an old intake for a former branch of that distillery that used to here? A mystery…
And another… Nearing the end of the mile 71 curve, there is what apparently used to be a Kentucky Department of Transportation Bridge, but the only bridges visible here are for those of I64 - one for northbound traffic and one for southbound. There is a concrete platform here with some stone steps and an iron railing leading down to it...
Then, just past the I64 bridges, you'll find something a little odd. There’s some old electric equipment at the water’s edge, part of which is on the water, yet it’s got a “Danger High Voltage” sign on it!
At any rate, you'll next reach the community of Big
Eddy around the Big Eddy Bend. It extends for
about a mile and there are houses all through here - just about every one has a
boat. There's another little beach-like area here
too while a
very small Vaughan Branch (mentioned before) enters from the opposite side
through a little concrete viaduct under
As for the next bend it cuts sharply right for another mile just as the Big Eddy Bend had cut sharply left. Within this mile are more things to see. The first is the Frankfort Electric and Water Company intake on the right. It has what looks to have been a nice boat ramp at one time, but there’s a pile of rocks at the end which effectively neutralizes it now (that, and the chain link fence at the top!).
Next up are the pair of East-West connector bridges for KY676 followed by Cedar Run which enters under a midsized concrete viaduct bridge. I could have paddled under this but I could tell that the stream ended at the end. It wouldn’t have been worth all the spider webs I would have had to go through.
There’s a boat ramp of the public variety right here at the Cedar Run Bar. I had, in fact, considered using this one but given my luck lately with finding ramps, I decided to just stick with one I was familiar with. Besides, the days are getting shorter. I don’t need to be searching for ramps. I need all the time I can get on the water.
It’s at Cedar Run where I got the feeling that
Once at mile 68 (where some power lines go over the river) you’ll be able
to glimpse the top of the
Across from these an unnamed creek enters. This creek is an oddity in that it is
unnamed, yet it is paddleable – for about 100 feet
anyway. Pass this and the bank quickly
ascends after the clearing to form another tree-lined hillside/mountainside on
the right. It was at the top of this
that I spotted what might be Daniel Boone’s gravesite – or at least a graveyard
that contains this gravesite which is supposed to be at about this spot. There are a couple flags and a yellow ball
visible on top of some kind of marker on the side of the hill here. This is on the outside of the left curve of
mile 67. The inside of this curve is all
It’s close to now and I’m seeing a lot more
boats. Jet-ski’s too. In fact, they’re moving pretty quickly with
one doing circles around the river. You’ll have to watch out here. They don’t slow down and I get the feeling
that this is something of a party pool.
There’s a lot of fun to be had, but if you’re new to paddling or even a
bit unsure of your balance in your boat you might want to perfect your “A”
game before paddling here. On my last
visit I saw a boat just FLY into
2 more bridges become visible as you round the bend. The one further down is the
Next we have the
As you curve right at mile 66 the hills will crop back in. There’s a road which has been cut through, so you’ll see another rock face here with more houses visible on the top of it. That’s on the outside of the bend. On the inside is an area the charts indicate as the “Corner in Celebrities” and, sure enough, there are some really nice looking houses to see here. Quite a few people of note lived in this area.
3 more bridges enter into view as you near the end of this bend. The first is the
Then, if you continue up the creek you'll find a boat ramp on the first right curve.
After this I passed another bridge (another for KY127) and found an incoming stream on the left. I’ll check this out…
Avast ye matey! (Always wanted to either say or write that!)
in here is what could be a veritable pirate’s cove; something that I had not unexpected as it’s
kind of hidden back here. This is the
Benson Creek Marina and it looks like a cul-de-sac of boats. I’d seen this on the charts but had assumed
it was the little marina immediately downriver from
As for the
As I paddled out I got just about my clearest view of what must be the
tallest building (state government related, I assume) in
I also noticed as I paddled down to the dam that the dock at
The barge facility itself looks like it might have been quite an operation when it was going. It’s got, as part of its construction, some of those large metal canisters filled with concrete that I’ve seen before at some of the dams. These must be commonplace on the lower sections of the river but I didn’t notice any above dam 5 besides the new ones they put in at dam 9.
Lock and dam 4 is unique in that, as you look down the river to it, there
are houses atop a hill just beyond. All
the other ones had been in rural areas.
The lock for this one is right in the community of Bellepoint
just across from downtown
From here it was time to make my return to the ramp, but oftentimes I get to these dams and I don't feel like I've stayed to enjoy them long enough. This time I wanted to savor the experience just a little longer by paddling backwards so as to keep an eye on the scene just a little longer while at the same time making some time on the way back. Well, as I did this I fought a little against the wind and at the last point, a gust caught me and my boat came around to the front with a fair deal of force, as if insistent that I turn around.
Well, wouldn’t you know that when this happened I was looking at a jet-skier coming right at me? “Oh, great! I should have been paying more attention! Now I’m going to be chastised for not watching where I’m going and for being right in the middle of the river while I’m doing so!” I braced myself as the man slowed...
“You’re doing a good job!”
The guy told me he had seen me further up and just wanted to tell me that I was doing a good job. I figured this could have been the guy that I mentioned earlier who was doing the circles. Well, I’m not sure how good of a job I was doing, but I thought it was very kind of him to take away from his fun to stop and greet me. He confirmed that this area was the most utilized of any on this river - and that that held for any other river in the state as well! We also talked about Paddlepalooza and he said that they’d had what seemed like 100 paddlers out here.
As the conversation ended, he departed in style. He was directly in front of me and pointing away so that I was looking right at the back of his jet-ski, and as he departed he did so at an extremely rapid pace directly in my line of vision, getting smaller and smaller the farther he got. It was cool. I knew jet-ski’s could be pretty fast (his went 60 miles per hour, he had said), but I didn’t know that they could go 0-60 that fast!
I got back to the ramp and out without a problem. You’ll definitely want to bring a map of
The ramp is behind the Paul Sawyier Library