April 11, 2013

Publisher's Notebook: New resolutions for the summer

By Willie Sawyers

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — I generally don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. The dead of winter isn’t a good time for positive life changes, but the burst of warmth we’ve had the last few days made me resolve to do a couple of things this summer.

1. Probe the depths of beautiful Laurel Lake. Well, as long as the depths aren’t much more than 10 feet or so. I haven’t visited the lake in three or four years. That’s sad when I think about a resource in my own backyard. Yankees enjoy it more than I do.

I used to go to the lake two or three times a summer to boat, swim or just to get out and walk around the dam-spillway area on a sunny day. It’s a beautiful, serene place with crystal blue water amid a magnificent forest.

But I can’t remember the last time I dipped my toes in the cool, clear water. I’ve neglected something that I should cherish, like the people from up north do. It’s probably because of the job, grandkids, golf, house renovations and other things that have occupied my time the last few summers.

There’s no excuse, really. My family has access to a pontoon boat and I’ve been asked to go several times, but I’ve found other ways to occupy my time.

That’s going to change this summer. As soon as the water warms sufficiently, I’m going to float aimlessly on a boat with no cellphone or iPad to distract me. I’m going to let the summer sun warm my body to the point I seek refuge in the cool water of Laurel Lake. I can feel it now.

Laurel Lake has been a part of my life since I was a teenager. Soon after it was built in the early 1970’s, my friends and I would spend the day frolicking at the dam, sometimes when we were supposed to be in school.

The power plant hadn’t been constructed yet, so water was pouring over the spillway.  We’d climb down into the craggy gorges of the spillway and let the water cascade over us. It’s a wonder some of us weren’t killed. I’ve explored most of the trails in that area. It’s a beautiful place.

This summer, I resolve to spend more time at Laurel Lake with the visitors from up north.

2. I must be on a nature kick, because I also plan to spend more time in the woods this summer. And I don’t mean looking for my golf balls. I do enough of that already.

I love to hike, but I haven’t found the time, the inclination or the opportunity to do so lately. That’s going to change this summer.

Laurel and Whitley counties have some great hiking trails in and around the Daniel Boone National Forest. I’ve never hiked any part of The Sheltowee Trace, sad to say. That’s going to change too.

I’ve always wanted to hike the unique rock formations, the cliffs and the forest near the Laurel-Pulaski county line. But I have no idea how to go about doing it and wouldn’t want to do it alone.

I wish some local group or organization would organize regular weekend hikes for people that don’t have hiking buddies or know where they should start. Recreational hikers like myself would be more inclined to participate if we had a leader and just had to show up.

If someone is willing to organize some hikes this summer, count me in. Unless I’m busy frolicking on Laurel Lake.

In any case, I resolve to spend more time in the forest and the water this summer enjoying the natural beauty so close to our homes.