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Program 1917

1. The Trails of Dawson Springs
2. Today's Special—Miguel's Pizza
3. The Red River Gorge Trail Crew
3. Modern Day Homesteaders
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Season 19 Menu

Hopkins County

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Dawson Springs Trails

Producer/Editor: John Schroering
Videographers: Jaxon Combs, John Schroering
Associate Producer: Becca Combs

The Trails of Dawson Springs

This Earth Day 2014 edition of Kentucky Life takes us to Western Kentucky to explore the trails in the Dawson Springs area. This town first achieved fame in the late 1800s as "the health resort of the upper South" for its mineral waters. These days it's a popular destination for hiking, biking, and more.

Dawson Springs—officially designated a "Kentucky Trail Town" by Governor Steve Beshear—boasts more than 25 miles of hiking trails on public land. Whether you're looking for a leisurely, meandering stroll for bird-watching or a strenuous hike through rugged terrain, you'll find it here.

With hundreds of miles of scenic roads, Dawson Springs is also a good home base for bicycle riding through the Pennyrile Region, and the nearby Pennyrile State Forest offers 10 miles of challenging mountain bike trails. There are also opportunities for horseback riding.

If you want to travel by water, consider canoeing and kayaking on the Blueway Trails: the Tradewater River, the 800-acre Lake Beshear with its 25 miles of shoreline, and Lake Pennyrile.

More Like This From Kentucky Life:
Lake Malone with Cory Ramsey

Powell County

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Miguel's Pizza

Producer/Editor: Rob Elliott
Videographer: John Bacon

Today's Special—Miguel's Pizza

Despite its backroads location, Miguel's Pizza is known around the world. Rock climbers and campers have gathered for tasty pizza, sandwiches, and breakfast for over 30 years here in the Red River Gorge area of Powell County.

Miguel Ventura was born in Portugal and grew up in Connecticut. After some time in California with his own art studio and then returning to Connecticut, he and his wife decided to make a dramatic change in lifestyle and moved to Kentucky.

The Venturas rented an old store and began selling ice cream there. In 1986, they turned to pizza and found an eager market of hungry campers and climbers. Today Miguel's offers 45 different toppings on both pizza and sandwiches, and they make breakfast too, so no one has to explore the canyons on an empty stomach.

Powell County

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Red River Gorge Trail Crew

Producer: Frank Simkonis Videographers: John Schroering, Frank Simkonis
Audio: Doug Collins
Editor: Kelly Campbell

The Red River Gorge Trail Crew

Before hikers hit the trail in the Red River Gorge, their path has been cleared by a hard-working crew of volunteers.

The Red River Gorge Trail Crew maintains the extensive trail system of the gorge. The nearly 26,000-acre Red River Gorge Geologic Area receives anywhere from 250,000 to 750,000 people a year, and their enjoyment of the area is largely the result of the cleaning, clearing, and trail building done by the crew.

The Red River Gorge loop system is 36 miles long. Once a month, the group gathers to make repairs, build steps and bridges, and remove downed trees. The work is restricted to those 18 and older, but it ranges from light to strenuous, so people of all abilities can participate.

Dave Shuffett joins the crew for one of their projects, and they sit down to their traditional potluck supper after the day's work is done.

Adair County

For more information:
Red River Gorge Trail Crew

Producer: Valerie Trimble Videographers: David Dampier, Prentice Walker
Audio: Roger Tremaine
Editor: Jim Piston

Modern Day Homesteaders

The word "homesteading" may bring to mind the pioneers on the prairie, but these days it has a different meaning. Modern-day homesteaders live as self-sufficiently as possible—growing their own food and using sustainable energy.

In Adair County, Jennifer and Randy Luethje live completely off the grid in a house using solar power. They keep a dairy cow named Clover, chickens, and rabbits. Most of their food is what they've grown or raised. Their self-sufficient lifestyle impressed Grit magazine, and the Luethjes were runners-up in Grit's inaugural Homesteaders of the Year competition in 2012.

The editor-in-chief of Grit magazine, Hank Will, says homesteading is a growing trend. In an uncertain economy, couples like the Luethjes want to live independently as possible. Homesteaders also care deeply about conserving the earth's resources for future generations.

The couple moved here from North Carolina and had only been homesteading for a few years when they were recognized. Randy and Jennifer explain how they make a sustainable lifestyle a reality.

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