Monday, May 18
During summertime a twelve year-old kid in Hazard had many options every day. Having not to get up and go to school every morning we were free to get out and go, and that's exactly what we did. When we weren't terrorizing the neighborhood on our bicycles we were swimming in the Kentucky River or hiking through the local woods. One of our favorite things to do was to hike up the "Escarpment" which is what Tarzan called his mountain. This was the area up there on top of the big hill known as "Peter's Peak" where they eventually built La Citadell Motel many years later. This was our Escarpment. If it was good enough for Tarzan it was good enough for us. So with our sleeping bags and some stuff to eat on we left the house behind Hazard High, walked on up Baker to Oakhurst and on up til the street eventually ended. From there it was a tougher climb on the trail to the top of the ridge. During that time there were no signs of life anywhere. We did a lot of exploring on these trips and eventually found a great spot on the northern face of the hill. A nice overhang in the big rocks almost like a cave. Good protection from any bad weather and a good place to camp and sleep overnight. When it got dark we built a campfire and ate our snacks and talked about old times. Also, before we left home we would scout around construction areas and "borrow" a smoke pot. Smoke pots were about the size of a big grapefruit full of kerosene. They would light these with a match and sit them out at night to prevent people from driving or walking into dangerous areas. These pots were ideal for our campsite and the stink from the kerosene kept the bugs away. We didn't want to keep them at home so when we came back from the trip we would return the pots. If the night was clear up there on top of the hill we would lie on our backs and marvel at the millions of stars in the sky and occasionally a few shooting stars. The stars completely blanketed the sky. You can't do that anymore because of all the light pollution. One of the pleasures of life that we can no longer enjoy. Those were the good ole days we remember. I guess there are still places around in the Eastern Kentucky mountains that the kids can enjoy exploring but never again that close to home.