Just more than a week ago, Rebecca and I made an annual trip that has become our reunion with nature.
Every year since the early ’90s we have traveled 2-1/2 to 3 hours to fish and camp for a day or two at Land Between the Lakes in western Kentucky. At one point we were making the trip twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.
The trip is our chance to get away and decompress, to get outdoors and appreciate the natural world around us. Sure, my primary motivation in the beginning was the fishing opportunities at the sprawling location.
But it has become more than that.
First, if you are unfamiliar with LBL, you have to realize it encompasses 170,000 acres, has 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline and spans two states, dipping into Tennessee. It includes hiking trails, horseback riding, a planetarium, a nature center and an elk and bison prairie, just to name a few things.
When I first became interested in visiting LBL, one of the biggest draws for me — other than the fishing, of course — was the fact it was known to be a bald eagle habitat. At the time, the Kentucky bald eagle population was pretty low.
On our first trip to LBL, as we moved from remote fishing site to remote fishing site we ended up at a bay where we witnessed a bald eagle glide across the sky above us. Since then we’ve seen bald eagles on numerous occasions, once even seeing a group of four or five flying across the sky.
During our latest visit, as I was concluding my fishing at one of our many stops and returning to the car where Rebecca and our canine companions waited, I witnessed a bald eagle descend from the sky. It appeared to land somewhere over the crest of an incline, out of view. I put down my fishing equipment and scrambled to find my camera in the car. I knew the zoom on my phone camera was limited and likely would not produce a good photo, since the eagle was some 30 or 40 yards away.
Bottom line: I was not able to get a picture before the bald eagle flew off. I noticed at the clearing where it landed were the remnants of a large fish that appeared to have been there a while.
The experience was still one of the coolest things I’ve witnessed.
Beyond that, we’ve visited historic sites, found beautiful and remote places to fish and camp, and captured breath-taking images. We’ve seen wild turkeys, bison, deer and even a bobcat.
Even though I continue to look forward to fishing there (which to date includes my top bass catch: a 6-pound largemouth), our visits to LBL have become so much more than fishing and camping.
Our visits to LBL have become reunions with nature and all the beauty that entails.