About an hour’s drive southeast of the Fort Knox Military Reservation in Kentucky is the Rough River Dam State Resort. It is located in the town of Fall of Rough, Kentucky. I can’t be sure, but it sounds like the name of the town for which it was called was Rough, Kentucky. Someone had something to say about that area. What I remember was a picnic area strewn along the road on the way to a broad stream. The two-lane road made a broad sweep around the side of a mountain. The terrain between the road and the stream gently rolled downward. Redwood picnic tables on cement slabs and blackened brick grills dotted the area at intervals designed to give picnickers a bit of privacy even in the outdoors.
Whenever one of the twelve families in our apartment complex had the moving company in to pack up their belongings (and being in the military, we all moved every three years) some of the other families would take the children from the complex to Rough River Dam State Resort. The moves were planned to occur during the summer so that the children’s school year was not interrupted. That meant that Rough River Dam State Resort was always green and steamy when we visited. The boughs of huge trees gave some shade from the sun whose rays streamed through like a sieve. We were sent as a group to play in the stream while the parents cooked hot dogs and hamburgers and put out chips, mustard, catsup and cokes. We were warned to stay in the area as the river was rough up and downstream.
There were a few big boulders to be seen above water, but the river bottom was made up of many small smooth pebbles in innumerable shades of brown, grey and cream, and soft squishy sand. The water was always cold and clear. We started out in sneakers, wading into the water and standing around testing it out. Before long, the sneakers were thrown up onto the bank and we were barefoot, looking for pebbles to take home as mementos of the day. If the day was very, very warm a brave few sat down in the stream and let the cold water gently push past. On rare occasions very tiny fish could be seen nearer the banks. Experience had taught that they were also very fast.
I have never tried to find that spot again. I think it resides best in my memory.
~ Marian Zuehlke, IUSB