Woohoo! Just got back from an AWESOME weekend in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky! My traveling companions were Krystle Brubaker and her boyfriend, Brian Reeves, Walter Rogers (Mr. Rogers), who is an SDA Youth Pastor from Canada, and yours truly, myself! They showed up at my place late Friday afternoon and after going over the maps and talking about whether or not the impending rain was to be a factor, we hit the road and headed for Kentucky!
Over 10 hours, 11 wrong turns, a handful of pit stops, 3 drivers, and several sets of strange directions delivered in local dialects later, the clock struck 2 AM and we arrived at our campsite in the heart of Lago Linda’s Hideaway. It was raining. Smiles on our face, we were glad that it wasn’t raining hard and after quickly unpacking and checking out the facilities, we fell fast asleep, divided out between 2 tents and a college-converted family car.
Lago Linda is an awesome little spot. The next day we were up bright and early around noon local time and after having fun with our cooking equipment and whipping together some warm oatmeal servings (Go Instant Oatmeal!) , we headed off to explore!
Just a short walk from our campsite we wandered up to the edge of a beautiful lake. There, sitting quietly on shore, as if just waiting for us, were 2 boats. After some deliberation and Walter very inspirationally offering that “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission”, we took the paddle boat out onto the lake. It was beautiful. Once in the middle, we spent some time together and had ‘Wildnerness Church’ on the water. An hour or so later found the paddle boat back on shore and the aluminum canoe out, cruising over the water as we explored the lake shoreline. What a peaceful scene.. It really was amazing. Everyone would go quiet and we’d just listen, if even for a moment. Birds, water, insects, all quiet and peaceful. We spent the rest of the afternoon skipping rocks over the lake and just spending time together.
Later that evening found us cruising the back roads of the Red River Gorge, enjoying the scenery and getting a feel for the place. It was awesome :). We got lost. Seriously lost. Near midnight found us back at the campsite, tired, but happy. It’s awesome getting lost, when you’re with friends. We had picked up a local rock climber’s guidebook earlier and had planned out our routes for the next day. We were ready :).
Yesterday was the big day! We did get up quite when we’d hoped, but things worked out just fine :). After another hearty oatmeal and muffin (Costco baby!) breakfast, we headed off to ‘Rebels’ Camp’ in Muir Valley. It was a bit of a hike back there, but wow.. I’m not gonna share too many more details ‘cuz we took some REALLY good pictures and I’d rather let them speak for themselves :).
Yesterday was my first day Rock Climbing!
It was AWESOME! Brian and Walter were the ‘experts’, both avid rock climbers with quite a few years of experience under their climbing shoes, while Krystle and I were the ‘rookies’. We watched as they setup the ropes and then we got harnessed up in our gear. Man, it was awesome :). Krystle went up a 5.7 (difficulty ratings, a beginner route) and did awesome! I followed up after her and made it to the top really fast.. it was great. On Walter’s encouragement, I went back down and tried a going up a few different ways to add to the challenge.
Man.. it really forced me to challenge my slight fear of heights. There’s just something about climbing happily all the way to the top of a route and then realizing, as you look down, that wow, you’re up there. You’ve just gotta trust the ropes. They aren’t coming out for anything! So after leaning back and realizing that I was just fine.. I eased up and had a great time :).
A few hours later, I was already feeling the burn.. Time had passed and we’d setup a new route. This time it was a 5.10b, a much more challenging route. Brian and Walter went up, then it was my turn.. *grins*.. The firsst part, I did really well on. I made it about 3/4ths of the way up and then.. well.. You’ll have to see the pictures ;). After climbing up to the wall I reached a place where I had to climb OUT.. the rock went out and over me a bit, so the only way to get around was to reach out backwards and then pull yourself up. My arms just didn’t have it in them anymore.. I tried though ;). I gave it a final effort and then fell down, smacking into a nice little sharp pine tree limb and cutting my lip open. Little stinker.. shoulda broken it off :P. I’ll be back for that climb! ;)
And then it was evening.. *grins*.. We did a few other cool things that evening, all of which I blame entirely on Walter, yet wound up being, without a doubt, a definite highlight of the trip ;). Apparently he, being Canadian, didn’t know that the park rangers aren’t a huge fan of doing things that involve sliding down ropes off of great heights over certain formations in the dark.. Yeah, all his fault ;).
And finally, we rounded off the night with an AWESOME pizza at Miguel’s Pizza! Definitely the place to check out while you’re in the area :). I picked up a sweet little Black Diamond headlamp while we were there, which I’m really happy with!
All in all, an AWESOME trip, a great chance for me to kick back and enjoy time with friends. Now.. I’m back! Time to get back into the entrepreneurial gear of things :). Got lots to do this week!
Hope you all had an AWESOME weekend yourself! If you’re ever interested in doing some climbing, let me know! I think there’s a good chance I’m hooked ;).