Friday, April 20, 2012

Red River Gorge

Quilt pattern on the side of a barn.  A tourism ploy to attract peolpe to the area.
Every year I experiment with how I train.  Some years I boulder more, or do more hangboard workouts, etc.  This year I have been trying to travel more.  This gives me a specific style of climbing to train for, and provides me with an injection of motivation.

Candle light dinner.

Leah looking for eggs on Easter Sunday.
She found some!
Last week, Leah and I went to The Red River Gorge for a 10 day sport climbing vacation.  It was a great trip filled with lots of ups and downs, critters, driving, and old friends.  We climbed 6 out of 8 days and went home with extremely sore muscles and torn up skin.

Just another overgrown machine.
It had been 9 years since my last trip to the Red, and things have changed a lot since then.  To start, there are a lot more people.  We struggled to deal with the crowds and spent most of the trip trying to avoid the crowds.  Another nice change is the acquisition of the Pendergrass-Murray Recreationl Preserve, which houses some of the most impressive walls at the Red.  To the land owners, thank you for allowing us to visit your beautiful land and climb on your amazing cliffs.  If you visit these areas, please be sure to respect the land, be courteous to everyone, and donate to help keep the areas open.

Dharma enjoying some milk.
Kitties in the refrigerator!

Being from Colorado, we both really enjoyed the lush, hardwood forest, and endless rolling fields of Kentucky bluegrass.  However, this abundance of life didn't stop at the cabin door.  We spent the majority of our stay at Lago Linda's dealing with mice, ants, ticks, black widows and cockroaches.  So although our cabin was very cozy, we never really felt relax.

Joe Young Cabin.
We killed the mouse because he was chewing on our luggage to reach food, and felt extremely guilty about it the entire week.  This led to more ants and screeching starving baby mice in the walls, and we quickly realized that the cabin contained a very delicate ecosystem.  Ultimately, we gave up trying to keep the cabin pest free and just let them creep and crawl around- as long as they stayed out of our bed! 
A mouse chewed through this plastic egg to reach a chocolate bunny.
We found this guy on Leah's back.
The climbing is really fun!  I love the steep walls peppered with sculpted pockets and features.  The routes are really beautiful and inspiring to look at and climb on.  I had lofty goals for this trip, which were quickly lowered.  This also happened on my first trip to the Red.  For some reason, I really struggle with the style and movement at this area. Despite my issues with the climbing, I still managed to try almost every route on my list and came away with some great sends and some heart breaking failures.  I guess that's climbing...  Sorry there arent' very many climbing pictures.

Leah possuming on Check Your Grip- 12a.
Me below Dirty Smelly Hippie- 13b.
Besides climbing we thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the strange and beautiful things that the Red contains.  Like an outdoor living room, abandoned machinery, and the stunning flowers.

Outdoor living room complete with a broom beneath a cave.
Wall lined with bourbon bottles.
Small oil pumps are everywhere in the Red
An abandoned tank with a pig face on it.
Dwarf Iris.
When we arrive in Kentucky we went to the Buffalo Trace whiskey distillery, and did the Ghost Tour.  Basically, they take you around the grounds and tell you about how people have heard voices, had their pants pulled down, and caught strange shadows and figures in pictures.

Leah with a buffalo.

Some really old bourbon.
Inside the storage warehouse.  Angels' share abounds.
More barrels in the warehouse.
Our tour guide offering us a complimentary shot.
 On our first rest day, we hike up to the Natural Bridge Arch.

Leah below the arch.
Leah looking out at the arch.
Me in Devil's Gulch. 
We also went to Keeneland Race Track to see some horse races and the countryside.

Not Thoroughbreds but still nice.
So Southern.

The winner!
Lucky number 5!  Got to go with your gut.  Now let's go collect $14.60!
The only thing we wish we had done was visit the Mammoth Caves.  Oh well, I guess we will just have to go back...

Can you find Leah in this picture?

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