Father’s Day weekend: the perfect opportunity to hitch up the Cricket, load the bikes and paddle boards, and make the short drive to LBL, a 170,000 acre National Recreation Area located between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.
We booked a water and electric site at Hillman Ferry Campground. HFC features 374 large, wooded campsites, arranged in five different areas stretching a several miles along the shores of Kentucky Lake. Within the campground, you’ll find a swimming area, a well-stocked camp store, playgrounds, ball fields, basketball courts, boat launches, an amphitheater, an activity pavilion, an archery range, a disk golf course, paved biking/walking paths, unpaved mountain biking/hiking paths, and a full agenda of organized activities. As you review the amenities, you’ll want to consider what you plan to do while you are there and pick a site close by otherwise you will spend a lot of time traveling around the large campground.
We checked in to our site in Area D Friday night, which is near the bike path and the pavilion. Our site was easy to get into and we again set up quickly. In the week leading up to this trip, Taxa shipped us the second kid’s berth, so Mitchell finally has a bed in the Cricket! As soon as we started unpacking, the kids were off on their bikes. We all got out and rode around to get our bearings and evaluated what we planned to do for the weekend. The campground was crowded and our site was near the main road and until around 10pm each night, there was a fairly steady stream of trucks and golf carts cruising around. This wasn’t bad, but the traffic was slightly bothersome and there are many other sites in the campground that would offer a more peaceful setting.
Saturday morning we headed out on bikes. We rode on paved path near our campsite and a portion of the mountain bike trail in the same area. We then decided to ride the Hillman Heritage National Recreation Trail. This was the most challenging mountain biking trail the four of us have done. There were a lot of hills, roots, and sandy soil. We also encountered a lot of ticks and we unfortunately forgot to put on bug spray. Everyone did great, but we were hot and ready to cool off when we were done. We grabbed a quick snack and hauled the paddle boards to the lake. When we SUP, the kids ride on the front of the board and we paddle. We thought we could paddle from Area B to Area A of the campground. We paddle out 1.5 miles before giving up due to the boat traffic and heat. We headed back in, exhausted, after doing 5k on the boards immediately after our bike ride. The rest of Saturday we swam, biked a little around the campground, grilled, and listened to the band playing at the nearby pavilion.
We planned to bike and paddle board again Sunday. We got up, started packing up while the kids played, and then headed out to bike. We made it less than two miles when we all agreed that we had enough biking on Saturday and that we were tired. We decided to finish packing up and headed home. We will certainly be back to LBL, but we hope that we can get a site in Area C at Hillman Ferry, or check out a different campground. There is a lot to explore in this area and our trip to LBL didn’t come near to seeing all there is to offer.
This was officially our fourth trip Cricket Camping for a total of nine nights. The Cricket continues to be a crowd favorite as we get a steady stream of comments, pictures snapped, and fellow campers stopping by to peek inside. We agree that it is awfully cool looking and the performance has been equally cool. We’ve had no issues so far. Additionally, we finally were able to mount our bikes successfully to the hitch. We were also able to slide our paddle boards inside the Cricket, allowing us to haul a lot of toys. On Friday we will do it again as we leave for eight nights on Sanibel Island, FL!
Shane and Jessica
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