We headed north out of Tennessee toward Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky. It was easy going until we hit Route 11. The lane was barely wide enough for Harvey and had more twists than a barbershop pole. To make it more interesting, there was no shoulder and no guide rail. Just pavement and a then 4′ deep drainage ditch. My knuckles were white by the time we fetched Whittleton Campground at 3:00 PM. From the campground it was an easy hike to Natural Bridge and the lookout over Miguel’s Campground. The Natural Bridge is usually crowded due to its proximity to the parking lot, as well as the Skylift access.
The hike to Double Arch was one of the highlights at Red River. There was no one on the trail and only one other person at the arch. Ate lunch at Courthouse Rock and then followed Auxier Ridge trail back. The views were spectacular in all directions and very reminiscent of the Gunks in New York.
Wednesday was tourist day. We played nine holes of golf at Beechfork Golf Club in Clay City (excellent course but confusing without a map). Then we took the Skylift up to Natural Bridge to get some pictures with evening lighting. Finally it was off to the famous Miguel’s Pizza for dinner. After ordering, we wandered outside. Kids were playing basketball. Climbers were doing laundry and complaining abut the broken token machines. There were climbers, hikers and people who came to watch them. Shortly after the pizza arrived at our picnic table, a wedding photography session broke out behind us. The bride’s white wedding gown had a uniform layer of mud 12″ high around the bottom. The other bride had a burgundy tux and matching bow tie. After the pictures, they gave the remains of the wedding cake to the family next to us and went on their way.
Drove through the one lane Nada Tunnel and parked at Martin’s Fork. Took the Rough Trail to Grays Arch and found hordes of people who had come in from another, closer parking lot. Continued on Rough Trail past these startling geologic formations to Rush Ridge Trail. Supposedly Daniel Boone had a hut along here, based on some one finding a piece of wood with his name carved on it.
Red River Kayak
Celebrated my birthday with a trip on the Red River. J had been calling kayak rental places all week, but no one returned the calls. Apparently it was the end of the season and everyone was shut down. Finally on Friday morning she was able to contact Red River Adventure https://redriveradventure.net. They offered an out and back trip to Swimming Rock later that day, warning that the water was low and we would have to walk at times. Nevertheless it was a gorgeous, peaceful trip and their service and equipment was fantastic.
Friday night found us back at Miguel’s Pizza for dinner (and people watching). We both agreed that Red River Gorge offered the best “bang for the buck” and wished we could stay another few days, but Ohio was calling.