October 4, 2015

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Adventures in Kentucky

To submit an adventure idea of your own, email Brandon at: brandon.lokits@wbko.com

Kayaking the Green River Sept. 10, 2007
Barry Turner of Big Buffalo Crossing invited me out to the Green River for a kayaking trip and it was certainly worth it. I have to also thank him for his patience. We actually shot that story twice because we had a broken camera the first time. For us, the second time's the charm. Either way, the Green River is a slow moving, lazy float and perfect on a hot day. Another bonus to the trip was the spring that he guided us to. The water was truely ice cold and amazing on such an incredibly hot day. I learned that even though we are seeing low water, you can always float the green river. Recent rains have helped it rise just a bit, but it still has a way to go before it's back to normal.

Land Between the Lakes Mtn. Bike August 27, 2007
I was contacted by Wood N Wave bike shop to go for a nice ride through the trails at Land Between the Lakes. The group that I met up with were not your average "cruise around on the weekend" kinda guys. They were seriously commited to riding and that made for a fun ride. Never have I pushed myself so hard in riding and I know that Seth, my camera guy, had never pushed himself that hard either. At the end of the day, we were totally drained, but this trip was very worth it. If you want to find out more about Wood N Wave, get on their website at woodnwave.com.

Lake Barkley State Resort Park August 6 & 13, 2007
When I moved to Kentucky, I was under the impression that all state parks were alike. Growing up, state parks had a few rustic cabins and several spots for camping, but in Kentucky there are "State Resort Parks". I never quite understood what that meant until I went to Lake Barkley. They truely mean it when they use the word "resort". The park at Lake Barkley is beautiful and the accomodations are nothing short of resort-like. They had just completed a massive renovation and the park looked great. If you're looking for great food to go along with your stay, you need to look no further than the Windows on the Water restaurant. This restaurant overlooks scenic Lake Barkley. The entire resort is a gorgeous location and I would encourage anyone to explore this Kentucky resource.

Alpine Slide July 30, 2007
It's the simple things in life that are the best. This trip to Cave City was certainly a favorite adventure. It's called the Alpine Slide and it's just one attraction at the Kentucky Action Park. The slide is a very simple idea, but it is a ton of fun. The track bends and curves down a steep hill and a hand brake on a small cart is all the control you have. If you pull back, rubber stoppers come down and slow the cart, but if you push forward, wheels come down and the cart accelerates. The bottom line is that if you've never experienced the Alpine Slide you need to go try it out.

ATV Riding July 23, 2007
We had one of the greatest numbers of responses to this adventure. Lots of people wanted to know how to find or contact J and B trails, and with good reason. They have tons of trails to ride and a nice motorcross track as well. It is a pay to play location, but, in my opinion, it's worth it. I never rode atv's much as a kid so this was a relatively new experience for me. It took a little bit for me to get comfortable on top of my 4 wheeler, but once I got the hang of it, I couldn't get enough. The extreme jumping isn't for me nor is the intense rock climbing, but I attempted both. I think my favorite was just riding in the mud.

Wakeboarding II July 16, 2007
This adventure was too much fun to force it all into one segment. The wakeboarding was great, but the surfing was even better. I never imagined that I'd say "I've surfed in Kentucky". After surfing, we stumbled across the hydrofoil. It was on another boat that we ran into and they offered to teach me. The hydrofoil was very hard to ride, but Blake Ayers made it look pretty easy. I think the most amazing thing about the hydrofoil is the fact that it actually works. It's crazy that there's small a wing underwaterand it's enough to keep the rider on top of the water.

Wakeboarding July 9, 2007
I was invited on this adventure again by Nathan of WBKO. He's becoming somewhat of a fixture in my latest adventures. Anyway, I love water sports, but have rarely had the chance to wakeboard. This trip would be my fourth time out. The group that I was with was certainly better than I am, but they took the time to teach me a few things. Hopefully the next trip will be a little more productive in the way of tricks for me. On this trip, we didn't stop at wakeboarding. There are tons of sports to try on the water and we ran into some people on the lake with a hydrofoil. I had heard of these things, but have never seen one in person. If you tune into Adventures in Kentucky next week, You'll get to see my try it out and it's not pretty.

Rappeling with Harry Wilson July 2, 2007
This adventure sounded great from the start. When Nathan, WBKO's most valuable camera operator, asked me to tag along for some rappeling I immediate thought "but I've done climbing a few times before". What caught my attention was the man who owns the land, Harry WIlson. Harry is a Grandfather and most would think that means he's beginning to slow down. With Harry, that's not at all the case. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that most people can't keep up with him. I know I couldn't. Not only did we rappel, but we ran an obstacle course. We couldn't shoot that part because it was raining, but even if we could keeping up with Harry would have been impossible. That trip was amazing and I think Harry Wilson is even more amazing. It's great to meet people who live the adventure life.

The Red Knight June 25, 2007
It's not often that the opportunity to fly in a fighter jet arises, but when that opportunity knocks you run to open the door. The Lockheed Martin T-33 fighter trainer was, by far, the most amazing aircraft I have ever been given the privilage to fly in. The pilot Chris Rounds is a great guy and amazing pilot. He actually owns the plane and takes it to airshows across the country. Not only was I able to go for a ride, but he let me fly for a little while. I didn't do any wild maneuvers, but I was a little nervous about doing any tricks in someone else's jet. My pilot experience is very limited and I think he was under the impression that I'd flown more than I really have. Either way, it was one of my greatest adventures and one that will never be forgotten.

Newport Aquarium June 18, 2007
The Newport Aquarium is truely one of the best kept secrets in Kentucky. It's one of the best aquariums in the Eastern United States, but it seems few people have ever been. Their shark exhibit is the most comprehensive in North America and the design of the aquarium "puts you in the water with them". I did ask about scuba diving with the sharks, but I need my open water certification first. If you know who I can contact to get that, please let me know. Until then, the clear tunnels that wind through the facility make you feel like you're in the water with the fish. In addition to the sharks there are penguins, otters, and birds. There's even a location to pet a few sharks. With this adventure I felt like a kid exploring a different world. If you are ever in Northern Kentucky it's certainly worth the cost of admission.

Crosswinds Golf June 11, 2007
I'm not much of a golfer as the video clearly shows, but South Central Kentucky does have tons of golf courses to choose from. Though we are nearing 30 days of drought, the course at Crosswinds still looks immaculate and lush. With the weather we've seen over the past several weeks, you may want to go out to the course just to remember what green grass looks like. I'm sure you noted in the story that Matt Stephens is a very good golfer. I'm not sure how long the "TIger Woods Juggling Trick" took to learn, but it was impressive none the less and I couldn't leave it out of the story. He was quite patient and a great teacher, but I don't forsee any invitations for a tournament any time in my future.

Long Time Coming June 5, 2007
So it's been a pretty long time since I have updated this thing, so let's go ahead and remedy that situation. I've been doing quite a bit of adventuring since the end of April. Donkey Basketball was the next adventure after bouldering and let me tell you... that's crazy. Who ever had the original idea to bring donkeys into a gymnasium and get people to ride them while playing basketball is crazy. Believe it or not, the story circulated the country. They were talking about donkey basketball in Bowling Green, Kentucky on the ESPN 2 show "cold pizza". I heard that it circulated to Chicago and Nashville and several places in between. My first network television moment and I am proudly atop a mule. It can only be summed up as "classic". From basketball, I moved to fishing. Ken Glenn is a trout fishing guide on the Cumberland River and he is great. I know the story is not on the site yet, but I am working on it. I'm not much of a fisherman. I've only been three times in my life, but this trip was amazing. We caught a ton of fish and Ken is a great teacher. This adventure would certainly go on my "highly recommended" list. Then, it's on to camping in our very own Mammoth Cave Park. My younger brother came along and we had a good time. The only downside was that we hiked three miles to the site after driving 10 miles from the park headquarters and still ended up near a road. It's getting harder and harder to really get away from civilization. Following the trout fishing story, I went sailing. I've you have never sailed, you need to try it. There's nothing like it. I was able to learn in a day and it is really quite simple. The Port Oliver Yacht Club was extremely helpful and Lee Huddleston was gracious enough to be my teacher. Believe it or not, you really can sail in Kentucky!

Bouldering with Brandon April 21, 2007
We talked about rock climbing in a previous adventure, but this time we are bouldering. It's a little different, but I think it's much more fun. We have seen a stretch of beautiful weather in South Central Kentucky and getting outside to do any activity is a must. For this adventure, I talked a good friend of mine into joining me. He's never bouldered before, but he did well. He's the guy in the red shirt in the story. The best part of bouldering is the freedom from a rope and harness. You can move in any direction and be totally unrestricted. The challenge is many times frustrating, but the success is equally rewarding. If you are interested in learning to climb, bouldering may be the best way to start.

Wilderness Survival Training April 16, 2007
John James Audubon State Park is a little bit of a drive from Bowling Green Kentucky, but, for this class, it was worth it. Outdoor adventures are great, but safety is very important. Accidents do happen and preparation beforehand is the best way to get out of a dangerous situation. The wilderness survival class was aimed at younger teens, but I was allowed to tag along. The basics of survival are water, fire, and shelter. During my trip to Audubon State park we discussed and demonstrated how to find all three. The story aired in April, but I went to the class in March during that harsh cold snap we had. Temperatures were in the low 40s for highs and we were desperate to work on the fire portion of the training to get warm. In addition to the cold, it was very windy which made fire starting very difficult. In that cold snap, we had four consecutive nights of hard freezes. With in three days, we went from 80s to freezing temperatures. When conditions change that quickly, it tends to make one think about their abilities to survive without help from modern technology.

Mammoth Cave Adventures Mar. & Apr. 2007
It's been quite some time since I have been able to make an update, so I am going to just lump the past two together. They both took place in the park at Mammoth Cave and are therefor related. At least, that's how I feel. If you dissagree feel free to let me know. Ok, the first story deals with the "Backcountry Adventure Series". The state park service is putting this series of events on and they are a great way to get out and explore some of the great Kentucky State Parks. The hike was great and the weather was perfect for a day long hike through the woods. Another bonus of going on these guided trips is that your guide knows where you are going, how long it will take, and what you will see on the way. Part two of my Mammoth Cave stories, I must admit, was a little more fun. To be fair to the hikers, riding a horse on the trail requires much less effort on my part. Horseback riding is a little known activity in the park, but there are tons of trails and special accomodations for these equestrian trips. Sadly, the park does not supply the horses to ride, so you have to have your own or at least know someone who would let you ride. (I found that the latter of the two options is much more cost and labor effective) Either way you prefer to travel, the park at Mammoth Cave has something to offer you. What weather tid bit can I offer for these adventures? Well I will say that we were experiencing very warm temperatures while shooting both pieces due to a massive ridge of high pressure over the south east. This high pressure blocked Canada's cold air and opened us up for much warmer air from the southwest. Sadly, the pattern did not stay for too long and the ridge moved on and once again opened us up to some extremely cold Canadian air. When that pattern changed, it set us up for that bitterly cold dogwood winter we just survived.

Jumpin' Jaguars Adventure Feb. 2007
This adventure was one of the must unusual that I've done up to this point. The kids on the Jumpin' Jaguars team are incredible athletes. If you have any disagreement as to the athleticism of these kids, I dare you to go out there and try to keep up. I jumped for maybe an hour and a half and was sore for days. To match with their athletic abilities the skill that it takes to complete some of the maneuvers is unbelieveable. The hard work of these kids and the amount of fun they can have while working so hard makes this an adventure one I will not soon forget.

Paoli Peaks Ski Adventure Feb. 5, 2007
What can I say? Some adventures just can't be completed within the state of Kentucky. This is the first adventure we traveled out of state for, but one of the most fun. Paoli, as I mentioned in the story, does not get much more snow than South Central Kentucky, but they have one-uped mother nature and create their own. The snow making system in Paoli is extremely expensive, but also very efficient if the conditions are right. Many resorts have similar systems to help mother nature along, but few resorts fully rely on artificial snow. Paoli Peaks, however, has proven that it can be done and done well.

Hidden River Cave with Boy Scout Troop 510 Jan. 22, 2007
The story of Hidden River Cave is much too long to even attempt to tell it all in an evening news package. The level of polution in that cave was unlike any I had ever even heard of. As was mentioned in the television story, it was once the worst polluted cave in America. It took years of work, but the cave has finally made a comeback. The American Cave Conservation Association played a huge role in the cave's recovery, but another large part was educating the public. Groundwater is important and what we do in our own back yards can effect that. If you don't know much about caves or how they effect us above ground, I'll give a quick overview. Most caves are found in what is called a karst landscape. Wikipedia.org defines karst topography as "a three-dimensional landscape shaped by the dissolution of a soluble layer or layers of bedrock, usually carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite. These landscapes display distinctive surface features and underground drainages, and in some examples there may be little or no surface drainage." What does all of that mean? It means that when water has nowhere to go and soft rock is all around, it makes channels or tubes in the rock. The water follows what begins as a small crack and over time dissolves away the rock leaving a larger tube. As a result, many caves still have some water flowing through them. Another point that should be made, is that these tubes are often long and connected together at many places. These underground passageways can be massive and often are linked to underground water sources. Sink holes, which are also prevalent in our area, are usually connected to these tubes. So if we pollute our sinkholes with dumping our garbage, it can travel miles away and affect another areas water source. Due to all of these factors, pollution is a huge problem in karst areas, especially when it is out of sight. With all of that said, we live in an area that is full of caves. If you ever get a chance to explore one in a guided tour, I recommend taking on the adventure.

N-Tense Sports Paintball Adventure Jan. 22, 2007
Paintball is one of my favorite adventures thus far. I was able to pull together about 15 people from WBKO and we had a blast. Like I said in the story, it's like playing army as a kid. We spent an entire Saturday running around like children. The best form of corporate therapy in my opinion. Anyway, we did learn a bit of a weather lesson while we were playing. We learned a little bit about how temperature can effect the body. Why is it, that when it is cold, we feel that our skin is more sensitive? I was curious about this myself so I did a little research... According to Diane Ackerman author of the book, A Natural History of the Senses. "Most of the body's cold receptors are closer to the skin's surface and are in the face, especially on the tip of the nose, the eyelids, lips and forehead. The body has fewer receptors for warmth and, except for the tip of the tongue, those nerve endings lie deeper under the skin than their cold counterparts. Your skin must be warmed by three or four degrees before you truly feel warm, but a drop of only one or two degrees will make you feel cold." So, what does this mean? It means that when you are hit by a paintball that is moving at around 300 feet per second when it's cold it hurts much more than if it were warm out. On a cold day, your body is more sensitive to the cold receptors which are being bombarded by the sensation of cold and by the flying paint! On a colder day, the paint is also harder. That is good because it leaves you with less chance for a jammed up paintball in your barrel, but bad because it hurts more on your sensitive skin. Remember, pain is temporary, but paintball is fun. :)

Big South Fork Camping Adventure (Part 3) Jan. 16, 2007
This is it. The final portion of the Big South Fork trip. The trip was an experience of a lifetime and has left the three of us that went saying, "we have to do that again". It was truely an amazing place. We had an entire weekend to explore a small portion of Kentucky's back yard. The end of the last part in this adventure is a little cheesy with the whole "...the park left it's mark on us" thing, but it's true. Trips like that are not quickly forgotten. Hopefully, I will be able to pull together several unseen clips and give you a closer look at our trip to Big South Fork. As always, there are more adventures in the works, but make sure to keep sending me ideas.

Big South Fork Camping Adventure (Part 2) Jan. 8, 2007
Part two of the Big South Fork trip was delayed twice due to holidays, but it is finally here. The second day was long, but by far the most exciting. What is missed in the adventure segment before the rapell is how we ate our lunch. We brought easy mac, but forgot bowls and utensils. We ended up making due with pocket knives and two halves of a gator-aid bottle. Interesting to say the least... The decision to rapell off the cliff was truely forced by the fast approaching nightfall and crossing the Cumberland River was just plain cold. The temperatures that weekend were quite mild, but the temp of the river did not come even close to reflecting the warm weather. We finished the second day extremely cold and wet. Next week, look for the third and final part of my Big South Fork Camping Adventure.

Big South Fork Camping Adventure (Part 1) Dec. 18, 2006
This past weekend, I went to the Park at Big South Fork. It is a large park south of Somerset on the TN-KY border. I was joined by Aaron Loflin, a life long friend and skilled climber, and Reed Nolan, a good friend and a very talented videographer for WBKO. The three of us had only learned about this place through the internet, but headed out on a true adventure. The weather was great, especially for December. Daytime highs were in the 60s and the overnight lows were around the upper 30s. During the trip we noted how the fire's smoke would not rise out of our campsite. Someone asked why and, as the meteorologist of the bunch, I for once, had an answer. Often when I talk about the weather I mention high and low pressure. What we often forget is that these are actual forces in the atmosphere. Low pressure causes things to rise and high pressure does just the opposite. High pressure essentially presses down on the atmosphere. Due to high pressure over the weekend, we saw clear skies, because moisture couldn't rise, and a smoky campsite for the same reason. So, the next time you are driving along and see smoke in the distance that wont go up... you'll know exactly why. You also need to check out this week's camping adventure. This trip was a blast and it gets very interesting late Saturday afternoon. I hate to leave people hanging, but you'll just have to wait until next week to see what ends up happening with the race against nightfall.

Clifty Hollow Climbing Adventure Dec. 11, 2006
There are a couple of stories before rock climbing, but I will begin the blog here. Bowling Green doesn't have a ton of climbing to offer, but Clifty Hollow is a pretty good place to get on some rock. It's one of those places that's hard to find if you're not looking for it. It isn't a huge area to climb, but it is certainly better than nothing. There are a few areas that are good for top-roping, but there are many more opportunities to boulder. If you are not into climbing, top-roping is mostly what you see in the video clip. We set up a rope at the top and ran if from the top to the bottom. The top-rope set up is very simple and the most common way to climb for beginners. Most climbing gyms are set up on a top-rope system. Bouldering is a bit different. It's also my personal favorite. It has no ropes or harnesses, but the idea is not to go to the top or even very high, but rather to use technique to move in any direction. There is a greater sense of freedom when you boulder. It's just you and the rock. Also, you need less gear and therefore it is much cheaper. The other types of climbing are endless, but they all have the common factor of a personal challenge. My weather thought to tag to this story... don't climb when it's cold, it makes the hands hurt :)