Getting ready for our trip
For this trip, we are more prepared in terms of bringing provisions for our physical nourishment. We only packed store-bought snacks last time. This time we made ourselves a delicious buttery snack mix with multiple cereal kinds and nuts, and a fish spaghetti dish. The kids had pepperoni, meat sticks, cheese sticks and 2 kinds of crackers. We brought sliced apples and pears. David also brought along chips and salsa. For the drive, the kids had cheeze-it crackers and mini containers of dry cereal.
Contrary to the popular saying, getting there for us was not half the fun. There was the potential for an interesting drive from Lexington to Buckhorn Lake State Park as we were driving through the historic Booneville and the Daniel Boone National Forest. However, downtown Booneville was tiny–we drove through it in no time. As we drove through Daniel Boone National Forest, Jacob felt sick to his stomach because the way through the forest was winding. We had never been to this part of Kentucky so David was looking at the direction on his phone most of the time, which affected his driving a little bit.
The most interesting sights on the way were probably the many tiny towns of mobile homes located near mining sites and the accompanying tiny corn fields.
When we started our extremely winding drive through the mountain/forest into the park, Jacob’s stomach calmed down but James started crying to be let off the car seat. We immediately became the DeBrot Family Singers to cheer James up. Together we sang nursery rhymes and some upbeat Christmas tunes. Jacob even made up a song of his own to help cheer up his brother. We laughed about how bad we were at singing as a group. Because James didn’t appreciate our singing, we turned down all our windows to breath in the fragrant mountain air for some relief from the crying. The open air helped everyone, especially James. Air-conditioner cannot compare with the earthy smell and the green, shading coolness provided by trees.
We were the lone driver on the long and winding road to the park. We missed the entrance to the park because it ran parallel to the road and had to turn around. Getting to Buckhorn Lake State Park in Eastern Kentucky was much more difficult than getting to Barren River Lake State Park in Western Kentucky.
The lodge lobby is a big, musty wood structure with very tall ceiling. It is well fitted out with a fireplace, above which is an enormous elk head, and many comfortable seatings. During checkin, we were greeted by Sue, an enthusiastic staff member who mentioned to us all the activities for kids at the park. They were having a campfire for making smores later near the river.
Our fun started as soon as we entered our lodge room. What a wonderful angled ceiling made entirely of natural wood in all its naturalness!! The ceiling and the nice layout of the room signalled the beginning of our vacation. The view from our lodge balcony this time is even better than last time. We were much closer to the river and were completely surrounded by mountains. Right in front of the lodge is a manicured lawn leading down to the river banks. There is even a beach for swimming in the river.
Doing not much
We have been so busy since David started working that it was hard to breathe at times. David started studying when James started his painful cluster teething. As James’ teething winded down, David started prospecting and a steep learning curve of a new career in an entirely new working environment. As David got more used to prospecting and his work, Jacob started his summer vacation and a new cycle of busy-ness began in our household. Last week in particular, I was cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and chasing after kids at a frenzied pace while David kept long hours in the office, at appointments and at networking events.
We were ready to do not much on this trip. We just hung out, ate and did…whatever we felt like. We were lazy for almost one day and loved it. We did not even bring our fishing pole.
For our main activity, David and Jacob ended up swimming in the river while James and I wandered around on the park grounds near the river bank. James seemed to like picking wild flowers. Inside our room, Jacob jumped and bounced on the beds for fun while James enjoyed spotting the incoming boats from our balcony.
After the kids went to bed, David and I sat out on our dark balcony to gaze at the moon, stars and the fog setting in over the mountains and river. We became the accidental eavesdroppers into the lively conversation of the women sitting on the balcony next-door. They talked and laughed until almost 3am.
We concluded our lazy time at the park by lazily hiking on the Leatherwood Trail through the sparse forest opposite to our lodge. The attraction on our hike were the mushrooms of many different sizes, shapes and colors.
Most memorable of all about our trip was the image of David trying to clean behind Jacob’s ears on the balcony. They were like two chimpanzees we saw a long time ago on a trip to the zoo in Singapore.