Woke up in Kentucky to a completely new sunrise, the color and texture was amazing. The feeling of opening my eyes in a new place with a new path in front of me, totally unattached to anything was worth sleeping on the ground at a truck rest stop in a new land.
We finished the last leg of our journey into The Red River Gorge that morning, driving up and down through the foothills of Kentucky in total awe of the vivid autumn color. Fred is an avid, obsessed rock climber – The Gorge is his paradise. It houses thousands of different rock climbing routes, catering to every skill level and preference of climb. The Gorge attracts climbers from all around the world and, in my case, is a GORGEous prehistoric looking area to hang out and do entry level climbs. We took our time making wrong turns through the cliffs, rocks, and woods until we finally found Miguel’s Pizza Parlor and Campground. Miguel’s is the hot spot for rock climbers –everyone goes there to camp, eat pizza, drink, and recall the triumphs and stresses about their daily climbs. It’s a really neat community; climbers coming and going, children playing, pizza worker’s busy yelling ready orders, and dogs running everywhere.
This is our first time sport climbing (where you clip your rope into the rock as you climb, as opposed to top rope climbing where you are held at the top of the route the whole time) so we had to pick the brains of numerous other climbers and figure it out as we climbed. We had an amazing time visiting the giant rock structures, climbing, and socializing with other climbers near our age. On our “rest day” (rock climbing is insanely taxing on the body) we hiked numerous trails across The Gorge.
Because of this experience I can truthfully say that this is the first time I have ever actually hiked. All and any other excursions previous to The Red River Gorge trails have been merely walking! They are the most tiring, steep, rocky, slippery, and long trails I have ever encountered. I had the time of my life getting lost on a particular trail with Fred while we tried to find the must see Gray’s Arch. We hiked for hours on the accurately named “Rough Trail”, panting and sweating our asses off and never did find the arch. However we did find another must see attraction, “Natural Bridge”. It was amazing! Another long, long hike up, up, up until we came to a giant solid rock structure that stretched to a neighboring rock tower. We walked up to the flat part of the bridge and looked out over the tops of red, yellow, and green trees. Looking down over the edge was sickening and clearly just not something you should do. We were so high up that hawks and vultures were almost at eye level. Even though there were tons of people on the bridge, all of which held cameras and had a deadlock on their children’s hand, you could feel the quiet of being up that high. The hot sun and quiet was penetrating on a cellular level, we stayed for quite some time…Then there was the hike back.
The hiking and rock climbing we did in Kentucky made me feel strong and powerful and I was always rewarded for my hard work with an amazing view. I had no idea Kentucky’s terrain was so amazing –no clue The Red River Gorge had such great rock climbing, that the trees had such vibrant fall color, that the rock structures were always interesting and jaw dropping. However I must say, I did get the vibe there were really dinosaurs trumping amongst the forest and rocks. But when you turn to look, they hide -vanish. The landscape is just too perfect for dinosaurs. They must be in there somewhere, but God knows it’d be a hell of a hike to go find them!