When the Lights Go Out

This past weekend we took our annual family vacation. Our destination was a cabin in Lake Cumberland State Park, Kentucky. Several people recommended Lake Cumberland to me and I can see why. It is a large, beautiful reservoir in the Kentucky hills that offers over 100 miles of breathtaking views and is a boating enthusiast’s dream. We aren’t boating enthusiasts but I do travel with two water enthusiasts. As soon as they saw the water they had but one thing on their mind. Swimming.

Unfortunately, water had something else in mind for us. Rain. Our first day was spent mainly in the cabin due to off and on again rain showers. We were prepared, however, with board games and paint-by-number activities. A short walk to the general store provided some relief from cabin fever, although we learned that this state park was not made for walkers and we had to keep a good eye out for fast-moving cars. While at the general store we also learned that this state park does not have any beaches for swimming. Shock! Horror! What were we to do?

I phoned a friend. Or rather I texted a friend who used to live in the area; I was directed to a beach 30 minutes away. It seemed this 100-mile lake would require more time in the car than I had anticipated, but at least there would be swimmable water.

The next day was all about water. And sunshine, finally. We packed up bright and early and swam away the morning hours. In the afternoon we took a trek to a local restaurant located on the end of a marina. It was by far the wildest trek I have ever taken to get to a restaurant. After a car ride that twisted and turned we took a shuttle down to the marina and then walked about half a mile out into the lake to reach our destination. Crazy but so much fun! The ducks and fish enjoyed our visit as well as they were fed at least half of the meal the girls ordered.

It was back to swimming after that and then back again the next morning to get a bit of swimming in before a pending storm. The storm held off, however, through our visit to Cumberland Falls, which boasts a title of the largest waterfall south of Niagara. It certainly was beautiful and the girls enjoyed throwing sticks in at the top to watch them float their way to the falls.

Like any good vacation I spent the last evening going through in my head the fun times we had and lamenting the fact that we had to go home the next day. Then, the thunderstorm that was meant to come earlier finally hit and as soon as it did the power went out. It was the girls’ first power outage and they quickly learned how many things need electricity to work. We also quickly learned how much fun it was to be 100% “unplugged” with nothing to do but spend time with each other. We made shadow puppets in the light of the iPhone flashlight, read the monster book Maddie had just gotten for her birthday, which took on a new fun and scary twist in the dark, and took turns creating a silly story. It was by far the best family time we had the entire trip and in a long time.

Visiting a lake, I expected the vacation to be filled with water but could not have predicted all of the ways water would impact us. Then again, it’s the unpredictable that is always the most fun.