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August 16, 2013

On The Rebound: Enjoying Ramen on the Rockcastle

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — I am a firm believer that everyone should keep a few essentials stashed away in their car. It could be in a backpack, rucksack, or your Hello Kitty satchel. Packed inside should be the things that could save your life if you became stranded—fire, water, food, and shelter.

When I first typed that line, I skipped a comma and said “fire water.” That would be a completely different topic and I will leave that to your discretion.

Sunday I found myself with plenty of time and no companionship. Although I wasn’t stranded, the bug out bag came in handy. Not for survival so much as escape.

I had just made it to Bee Rock when I decided it was time to break out the food. The pack usually contains snacks like protein bars, candy bars, and trail mix. I also had a pack of Ramen noodles and instant coffee.

I cranked up the micro backpacking stove and poured water from my canteen into the pan, which holds about as much as a coffee cup. I had to break the Ramen into quarters and cook each section separately. I didn’t pack utensils, so the noodles were stirred and eaten with a pocket knife. Ramen haven’t tasted this good since I was in college.

Even in college I didn’t make coffee in the same pan as Ramen. This time I had no choice. After a quick rinse, I refilled the pan and brought the water to a quick boil. Then I added the Starbucks instant coffee, which is one of life’s special treasures. It was rich and bold with a slight hint of chicken.

I kicked back on a picnic table and watched a surprising amount of kayak traffic on the river. I have never been in a kayak that close to Rockcastle Narrows and not sure I want to be that close to such a boat eating natural element. I was shocked when a group of kids of about high school age parked their canoe against a boulder and exited. They played on the rocks a bit before the boys jumped into the rushing brown water. It gets a little harder to relax when you think you will become witness to a drowning.  I’m guessing the boys were trying to impress the two bikinis, which has been the downfall of many men.

All turned out well for them and me.

I did hike a portion of a trail near the west side campground. The trail became obscured by brush and bramble. Since it was getting dark and I had no bikinis to impress, I retreated back to the truck and headed home to restock my backpack.

mhoward@sentinel-echo.com

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