Chapter 6: A new prescription for fitness

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This is this is the third in a series of literacy enhancement articles that will appear biweekly in The Sentinel-News.

For the second time in my life I had fallen off a horse. Granted, the first time was the horse at the supermarket, but falling off Chester hurt even more. I don’t know what I was more upset over – falling off Chester or not getting a picture of the moose.

“It was an elk, Woody, not a moose,” Pete said, correcting me when I told him the story. “Elk are prevalent in Kentucky’s forests. When you went to grab the camera you lost your balance and fell off. The thump you heard was your helmet hitting the ground.”

“Thank goodness for the helmet,” I said, happy that Pete had made me wear one.

“Glad to know you’re OK,” he said. “Sometimes photographing wildlife can hurt them unintentionally. Most animals get spooked when a human approaches them. Sometimes it causes the animal to flee or attack. Please remember that next time.”

We finished the trail ride and thanked Pete for all his help.

“I hope we can come back soon to ride,” I said to Pete as we were leaving.

“We would love to have you back,” Pete responded, “but Kentucky is horse country. There are places all over the state to go horseback riding. Go to www.getoutky.com to find a list.” I wrote down the Web site, excited about the possibility to go horseback riding again.

After sleeping under the stars and eating a healthy breakfast of granola and fresh strawberries, we opened up our next Rx card from Doc Albert. Dad asked me to read the card. I cleared my throat and read loudly.

“While you could find countless activities in the Daniel Boone National Forest and Eastern Kentucky area, it’s time to move to another region. Dad: Drive north on Highway 11, then go left on Highway 9 for 42 miles. Then you’ll see an intersection. Your new trainer will meet you. Pups: Use the brochures I’ve included and make a list of all the activities you can do in Kentucky. Include where the activities are located.”

As Dad drove and Mom rode shotgun, Chloe and I read the Kentucky brochures. We were amazed to find out some interesting facts about the Bluegrass.

“Listen,” Chloe said, grabbing everyone’s attention. “This brochure says Kentucky has 39,732 square miles of land with commercial forest land occupying12.7 million acres; has more miles of running water than any other state except Alaska, and 1,100 miles are used for commercial transportation. And Kentucky has 52 state parks, including 24 recreation state parks, 17 Kentucky resort parks [more than any other state] and 11 historic state parks.”

“With all of that, there is no excuse for us not to exercise while we enjoy the state,” Mom said, looking at us from the front seat.

“Unfortunately, it sounds like we need exercise,” Chloe offered. “Kentucky ranks sixth in the nation for having the most obese residents, second for losing our teeth, and it has a high rate of cancer deaths and more smokers than any other state.”

I hadn’t wanted to change my eating habits and exercise more, but that information convinced me it was necessary – not only for me but for my state. I browsed the pages of “Kentucky’s Guide to Unbridled Adventure.” There were pages of exciting things to do. I rambled off a long list of activities we could do and never leave Kentucky: “skydiving, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, caving, rock climbing, zip-lining, water skiing, sailing, scuba diving, fishing, shooting, archery … .”

“We can do all of that in Kentucky?” Mom asked, stopping me before I finished.

“Yes, ma’am,” I answered, excited at all our state offered. Chloe and I counted the listings in the book. There were 358 places in Kentucky where we could participate in various activities. “Mom, can you believe there are 58 places we could canoe or kayak in Kentucky?” We were still counting the places where we could find adventure when Dad said, “We’re here.”

Uh-oh! I wiped my eyes, shut them and opened them again to make sure I was seeing correctly. I had obviously read the Rx card wrong.  Talk about being in a pickle!


For more about the series including audio versions of each chapter, visit www.kypress.com.