Day 7: Searching for falls in the physical space #KentuckyTour2014

mammoth cave, geography, teacher

Me, rocking the Geography teacher look!

Our last full day in Cumberland Falls and so we head out to the train yard which would dispatch Kentucky’s coal to the rest of the Country during the industry’s heyday. It’s closed, but the lady kindly lets us have a look around the yard and museum.

So we headed out to Yahoo Falls instead.

“Bet you had to use a search engine to find that one” somebody said, most likely me.

It’s a real optical illusion. When you see it in photos or from the many viewpoints that hover above it, it looks big but not worth-the-trip-big. It’s only when I climb aboard one of the boulders next to it do I realize just what we’re dealing with. I’ve let Dad, Kev and Mary follow the pathways into the rock behind the waterfall. Within minutes, they’re almost lost amongst the vast backdrop of grey, resembling nothing more than little florescent rain-proof dots.

yahoo falls, cumberland, kentuckyThe downpour from up above is no trickle, as first thought, but a pounding of water. Nonetheless we get the photo of Dad pretending to take a shower underneath it.

“Would be a great place to have a music show in this cave, think of the sound and the natural acoustics” says Kev.

“That’d be some rock concert” I hit back quickly, secretly knowing that Kev was lining that piece of word magic up for himself.

We make tracks out to the viewpoint where The Natural Arch of the Daniel Boone National Park can be viewed. We also continued along a dirt pathway that loops around the northwest end of the arch for more specular scenery of the thick forest below.

Even at the height of the financial crisis “Recession? What recession?” appeared to be a key phrase said by many in London, whilst marveling how it was possible to get a full English breakfast and a pint of Stella for less than £6 in JD Wetherspoon. I mean the graduate market was dire and even when employed you had to be constantly reminded of how good things used to be by management. But really, after the initial panic, jobs came back and restaurants and pubs seemed to do okay. But it was never London that felt the real pinch but places like Chester, Warrington and Red Ruth.

Assumingly the similar of the USA, where a severe drop in standard of living wouldn’t be New York but places out here. Driving back from Yahoo Falls, I noticed an out of business petrol station. A petrol station? No longer in action? That’d normally be quite symbolic, making an apt cover photo for a book entitled The 1970s: A Retrospective Look. It wasn’t the only sign of a once thriving tourist spot falling into a spot of economic decay.

Eagle Falls Resort, a large classic American motel about 2 minutes from the actual Cumberland Falls waterfall, lies derelict and abandoned. After asking about it at the front desk at Du Pont, we’re told it’s been in some state for a few years after going bankrupt and falling into the hands of looters. People around here loot?

Jerry Hoake for Mayor.

Advertisements

Day 6: Kayaks and black bears #KentuckyTour2014

Two things I remember about this day.

The first was Kayaking towards Cumberland Falls.

The second was the bear.

Joe and Kate had left shortly after dinner, as Joe wanted to get back to Lexington for some pre-wedding Best Man duties. Whilst having a few drinks on the balcony and reviewing the great day we’d had, came the call from Kev.

“We’ve got company” Kev shouted from the kitchen.

black bear, cumberland, daniel boone, kentuckyAnd right we did. Right outside the kitchen window, a giant black bear was going through the bin. He quickly scrambled and raced across to one of the other cabins when he heard us fumbling around for our cameras.

To be honest, bears are nothing but scavengers. And the state of California decided to put one on their flag. Bloody liberals.

We rang Du Pont lodge, as instructed, and they sent out a Ranger to track the bear’s movements. It’s actually quite mad how wild they actually are; they’re not electronically tagged, and only manually recorded when sighted.

One regular visitor said there could be as many as 11,000 bears in the region (Kentucky and surrounding states). That’s mental. That’s the equivalent of the population of Henley-on-Thames. This same visitor had never actually seen a bear in the 30 years they’d been coming here.

The population is actually believed to be much lower, at around 500 black bears in Kentucky. That’s like a whole Lenwade in Norfolk populated by bears. Or a decent turn out for an early FA Cup preliminary round.

We later headed into the nearest town for some dinner. On our return, driving through the darkness towards our cabin we noticed what assumedly was a stray dog lurking around in the trees. It looked scared, as if it was hiding out.

We parked up and that’s when we saw the bin had been smashed to bits. The bear had ripped off the thick wooden slates, removed the metal container from inside and flattened it. Needless to say we didn’t waste any time getting in.

Nothing was going to beat that. So we watched a documentary about the life of Pat Tillman, a former NFL footballer who retired to enlist in the US army following the 9/11 attacks. He was killed in friendly fire. The programme sought to reunite the man who may’ve been responsible with one of Tillman’s fellow soldiers.

If you don’t particular appreciate the wit of Bill Hicks you may still be aware of his stance on advertising and marketing. Essentially, if you work in advertising, kill yourself. That’s literally it. Like too many things, his style of comedy is applied to our stages via your ‘alternative comedians’ and others who grew up with Hicks as an inspiration. But having sat through my 8th or 9th TV commercial break in one sitting, I can kind of empathize. If they’re not manipulative (Quick Buck Solutions Ltd) they’re undignified (Place4Mum.com).

We all awoke at different stages of the night by the apparent movement lurking outside our bedrooms. If the bear could smash that bin, there was no reason he couldn’t break the wooden bannister and kick through the glass sliding door of our rooms. We knew he wasn’t too happy with us.