Saturday, June 29, 2013

Spring Traveling-Hiking and Paddling

April 5th, 2013

I left for Kentucky after work on a Friday, trying to beat the latest snowstorm bearing down on Door County…and success!  Staying in Norhtern Illinois at Illinois State Park, near Zion, cuts 4 hours off my 13 hour drive to SE KY. It was chilly Friday night, about 30 degrees. While I was enjoying 70 degrees later over the weekend in Kentucky, back home it was snowing and blowing!  Cutting 4 hours off my drive let me stop and visit an Uncle in Georgetowm, KY before camping in the Red River Gorge on Saturday.  
So, Friday Night...Camped @ Ill Beach State Park

April 6, 2013

Red River Gorge

Camped @ Koomer Ridge Campground in the Red River Gorge, KY
Saturday night after spenting a few hours with Uncle Johnny back in Georgetown.

 Koomer Ridge #10
Nice secluded site overlooking a gorge
Site # 10; I just slept in the back of the truck after finding enough wood for a nice fire. Watched the stars come out and crawled in for a long sleep.

April 7, 2013

Hiked to Daniel Boones Hut

I hiked this trail several years ago in the fall of 2007. It was amazing for me, living in Wisconsin to drop into this once isolated gorge under the umbrella of 100’ tall, Big Leaf Magnolias. Called Big Leaf as the leaves are 2 feet plus long with a leathery texture. Two years ago my daughter and I tried to hike here, but the area was closed because of a fire. Luckily the fire did not come down into this gorge. Now in the spring, it was lush, but leafless, running water everywhere, dripping off the cliffs and small creeks aflowing.

There is an old saltpeter mine under one of the rock shelters and a large bolder covered with petroglyphs protected from vandalism with a chain link fence.

Daniel Boone was thought to have spent some time here in the early 1770’s. Visiting somewhere Daniel possibly had been was exciting to me, as many of my relation followed in his footsteps to settle Eastern KY during the early 1800’s. Since he also had a camp in what is now the hamlet of “Boones Camp”, less than 10 miles from our land, maybe he walked our property. I used to image that as I wandered there in the early 80’s hunting with my own muzzle loader.
The entrance of hundreds of rock Shelters in the area
From within a shelter
During summer this is a dark, moist gorge, a perfect place to hide.
Walking at the base of a Rock Shelter
This is not a long hike, just a couple miles, but is slippery, damp and fairly rough.

Nearing Daniel Boones Hut and the Niter Mining site

Some of the trail is not well marked with several unofficial trails creating confusion if you’re not paying attention to your way. Hiking this trail is well worth it to walk underneath the big leaf, rainforest type atmosphere, on the way to see one of the few publicly accessible petroglyphs.

There are many other petroglyphs in the RRG, but sadly, they are kept secret to protect them from vandalism, which is rampant in this area.