Cumberland River Junction to Hardin, KY


Another early morning start, heading up the Cumberland River. The Cumberland is a gentle, winding and very scenic river. We definitely recommend this route for the scenery.

Our modern GPS’s are extremely accurate, but we’re still often using chart (map) data created by men wearing buckskins while paddling canoes. Watch where you’re going and verify visually what you see on the screen. Here the chart says we’re on land, but we weren’t. Had we followed the chart, we may have been.

Every bend in the river revealed more beauty. What a place! We just cruised along and took it all in. There were interesting bluffs and rock formations everywhere, mirrored by the calm water. It was fun to watch our ripples as we motored along as if we were the only people on the river.

There is still barge traffic here, but we didn’t see any moving all day. We did come across some barges being loaded. With some rocks the size of washing machines, and not all of them landing in the barge, we gave them a respectfully wide berth.

Of course we were only doing enough of the Cumberland to get us to Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake, so our time on the Cumberland was short.

Before we knew it we were approaching the Barkley Lock and Dam. A somewhat new experience for us, we’d be going UP this time. 57 feet of up! Here’s Kristi using the boat hook to keep our bow off the wall. I’m doing the same at the stern. Powerboats with straighter sides seem to lie against the wall with as much prodding.

After our ride up, we found ourselves on Lake Barkley. We tried to anchor in a little cove, but after three tries we gave up. Locals later told us that particular cove is a bit of mud over solid shale. No wonder we were dragging. Frustrated, we took the cut over to Kentucky Lake and headed for Kenlake Marina.

Kenlake was very accommodating, even charging us less when they found out we wouldn’t need electricity. At 75 cents a foot per night, Kristi made a command decision and booked us for two nights.

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