Monday, April 20, 2015

Update and Hiking Red River Gorge

Here we are coming up on 32 weeks of pregnancy, Amber’s belly is getting big and she claims it can’t get any bigger. Every day we take a look at the basketball looking hump where here flat washboard stomach used to be, just to see if the belly button has popped out like the little things on turkeys to see if she is done, so far it’s still flat. The boys have fallen into a routine taking turns playing kung Fu fighter during the day. It’s so weird to feel the little guys kick or push their butts up against the belly and sometimes I swear they know it’s me by responding to something I say or when I touch her belly. The nursery is 99% complete and we have all the things we need, I think.  Everyone asks if we are ready and our usual answer is, “is anyone ever really ready?” I think we are. Amber for sure is ready to get them out.

Ryne, the same friend from the West Virginia/Virginia AT hike from October, and I took another hiking trip a couple weeks ago. This trip took us south to Red River Gorge in the heart of Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky .The weather was sketchy the week leading up until the Friday morning we left but the weather couldn’t have been any better, sunny with a slight cool breeze the rest of the weekend. The trail, muddy in areas from the weeks’ worth of rain, started with a long steady climb up a ridge and then down totaling 6 miles before having to cross two very cold, very flowing creeks less than a mile from each other. At the first creek crossing we met a couple other guys and their very happy dog, Ellie, who had her own pack. Ellie, a Rottweiler/husky mix, was mostly black with one brown eye and the lightest blue eye that really stuck out because  her black face. Ryne and I shed our boots prior braving the creeks barefoot moving slowly over the smooth rocks while using our trekking poles to brace us emerging on the other side just as our feet were numb from the cold water.  After 5 hours and 9 miles we made camp in a bowl (area surrounded by cliffs; like a bowl) below Indian Stair Case next to a cold water stream. For dinner, freeze dried meals (Mountain House’s beef stroganoff is the best), oatmeal cream pies for dessert, and a few sips of bourbon to take the soreness out of the days hike on our legs. The next morning after sunrise we made our way another 4 miles on the trail down the mountain, crossed a road to a suspension bridge that no matter how careful I was or slow I walked it bounced up and down.  The trail then follows another crystal clear stream with two crossings, this time on fallen logs before a long, very muddy climb up to a small park road. After the road the trail cruises along a ridge where our second camp was before dropping down into another bowl. Setting up camp only took us a few minutes before we took turns hiking down less than a quarter of a mile to a couple of water falls to fill our bottles and wash our faces in the ice cold run off. It was only two in the afternoon giving us plenty of time to kill before dark, which was spent wisely by gathering wood, hanging a clothes line for wet clothes, building a fire ring with rocks, a bench from logs, and playing homerun derby with sticks, acorns, and pine cones. We also invented a game Ryne called “Mountain Man Golf.” Basically took two short sticks tied together by a piece of rope and threw them at a log to try to get them to wrap around it. Around dusky dark Ryne and I cooked our dinners, when I say cooked  I mean boiled water over a small pocket stove, poured into the dried food bag, sealed and let stand for the absolute longest 8 minutes of my life. We polished off the bourbon by the fire before hitting our bags for good night sleep. Well, as good as it can get in a sleeping bag and tent.  Both mornings freeze dried granola with blueberries and milk was for breakfast before sunrise followed by packing up and more hiking. The last few miles of the hike were filled with a moss covered rocks and trees along a stream in a deep gorge then finally up unto a road for last two miles to the car. 
Creek 1
Hiking in Kentucky, gotta drink bourbon

Looking across the gorge

One of the arches the area is known for.
Looking up at the rim of the bowl we camp at on night 1.
suspension bridge crossing Red River
mountain man golf
Trail blazes (markers)
Moss covered rock with trees grown on top. 
Sunrise form the first morning.
One of the many waterfalls we passed by. 

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