Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lake Barkley State Park

The girls check out the sea shells by the lake shore.
Location:  Cadiz, KY, Western Region.  Follow HWY 68/80 

This woodsy campground was a Memorial Day weekend treat.  I remember going to Cadiz when I was a kid in the 80's, shopping with my mother at the Piggly Wiggly and staying at our little cabin my dad had built years before.  It had a wood stove that warmed us up nearly to the point of stripping to our undies in the winter time.  We chopped down our own Christmas tree one year and spent several chilly days of December in that cabin.  In the summer, I'd catch tadpoles in the nearby creek and my mom would have to check me for ticks each and every time I came back into the shelter of the cabin. 

Anyway, those are my memories of this area, so I was looking forward to a stay at the same lake that is only about a mile from my childhood memories.  That cabin is long gone now, my dad sold it years ago, and the last news I heard of it, my stepbrother, Jamie, had driven by one day out of curiosity when he was in the area.  The cabin had burned down. 

So here we are at Lake Barkley.  Our site was off to a hillside but the pavement was pretty level and a nice little deck accompanied our hang out spot.  It was hot during the day, very hot actually, but the shade from the trees provided comfort.  We camped at site # 41, a little uphill walk to the restroom, which can be a pain if you've no bathroom in your camper, which we do not, but not so bad.  Good exercise if anything. 

The restrooms are not air conditioned and are completely covered in little pesky gnats.  Nor are they maintained but maybe once or twice per week.  There was an employee who came by to remove the trash and sort of wipe down the sinks, but the shower stalls weren't cleaned.  I definitely recommend wearing your flip flops while showering!  Have I mentioned I cannot wait for the day we own a camper that has its own shower? 

It was crowded for the holiday weekend.  Every site was full. Come Sunday morning though, majority of campers packed up and left.  We enjoyed the quiet that overcame the campground, the only sounds were the hum of passing boats on the lake just down the hill from us. 

The hiking trails were hot and long.  Not recommended for summer time.  The maps weren't officially up to date either.  We began looking for the Wilderness Trail but the trail head was no where to be seen even though we were at the correct location according to the map.  We checked with a friendly park employee and he noted the trail was closed. 

It hasn't really been cleaned up from the January ice storm that his the area hard back in 2010.  Several branches from trees were crushed by the weight of the ice, covering the trail.  He also noted there was a high population of copperheads down by the water this year.  Good to know!

There is a nice, quick trail (that is open) that starts at the campground and will take you to the beach.  We walked this trail with the kids and came out to the parking lot. 

My kids loved swimming in the questionable lake water.  However, I'm not big on any form of public bathing.  I let my feet get a little wet, but that was all.  It was so hot and they love to swim, so I let them jump in and refresh for about an hour.  They have immune systems anyway.

There is an outdoor shower by the restrooms to rinse of the sand and lake water, which I felt was a nice feature.  They need more than one however.  It's located right next to the entrance to the ladies restroom.  There should be one by the men's as well.   

I needed butter to make my fire roasted potatoes, so we took a quick drive to a little general store, where an elderly man sat at his counter, the smell of cigarette smoke thick in the air.  He was quiet, barley nodded his head when I said hello.  His dog lay in the floor by the entrance, a friendly fellow.  Luckily, they had butter, so we purchased it, along with some ice cream for the kids and headed back to the camp site. 

By the way, the recipe for the fire roasted potatoes (or any additional veggies) I'll place in a separate post.  They were AWESOME and not a single bite was left.  Even the kids enjoyed. 

All in all, we will return to this wooded paradise.  I don't expect elegance or service because after all, we are camping. 

  • Friendly park staff
  • Very wooded, nice and shaded
  • Quiet setting, no highway noise, but not too far off the beaten path
  • Playground for the kids
  • Cell phone reception was good in the mornings
  • Hiking is available.  Check with staff to ensure up-to-date info on the trails. 
  • Treat yourself to breakfast at the lodge one morning.  You won't regret it.  Great food and service.
  • Bathrooms are an icky, gnat, spider infested mess
  • If I have to pick, it'd be better maintained fire rings.  There were cigarette butts and lots of ash/debris/trash in ours that I had to clean out before making our own fire.
  • No firewood available for sale on site.  Firewood for sale at the local general store.  Follow the signs. 
By the way, I forgot the SD card for my Nikon.  I shot a few pictures with my cell phone.  You can see our campsite below. 

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