Eating at Miguel’s Pizza made me wish I were 20 again. Part pizzeria, part campground, part climbing equipment supplier, Miguel’s is the place to pitch your tent if you’re hiking the Red River Gorge in central Kentucky.
We went for the food — pizza with any topping you can think of. Take a look at this order sheet. It’s got ingredients that I don’t even see in urban pizzerias, let alone out in the middle of state park territory. I ordered mine with chorizo and olives, but my companions were more adventurous and tried some of the more exotic flavors. It didn’t make any difference what each of us ordered for our 2-, 4-, or 8- sliced pizza; they were all delicious.
The line to order was about 10-people deep no matter what time we went. (We went three times in two days. They also serve breakfast.) While we waited, we browsed through the array of colorful t-shirts and climbing gear. I’ve never been a climber, but I so wanted to be a part of the crowd hanging out back, throwing frisbees by their tents and lounging at the picnic tables talking.
We decided to eat outside at one of the picnic tables under a big, old sycamore. It was there I noticed that the tents went on farther than I’d first thought. I’d guessed there were a dozen. Once I looked into the shady area off the hill, I could see that they were right on top of each other; a regular tent city. There must have been about 50 tents.
If I were younger, I would have thrown my tent in the back of my car and joined them. I’ve probably got a too-romanticized idea of their young, adventurous lives. A Haight-Ashbury-Summer-of-Love idea. I can’t help it. It was that kind of place: a bright yellow mecca in the middle of forest reserves. It was the perfect place to be 20-years-old. The trouble was I’d stumbled on it too late.