NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Running Through the Rock Garden

We drove from Georgia back to Natural Bridge State Park on Saturday, and on the advice of another blogger I wanted to seek out some hiking in Red River Gorge.  Well, the internet did not offer up much information on the subject and daylight was a-wasting as I drove around trying to find a trailhead, so we headed back to NBSP so I could at least grab a quick hike before dark.  I do plan on returning to the area on my own, maybe in March, to see what other trails I can find.  I saw a few murals on water towers that we had to speed by that I want to revisit and who knows what else might be waiting to be discovered!

I intended to hike up Battleship Rock Trail, but when I got to the junction I was tempted by the Rock Garden Trail instead. The trail was, you guessed it, rocky, but the big rocks were quite beautiful and the texture intriguing.

I tried to keep moving as daylight was fading fast. The length of the trails wasn't posted on the signs, so I'd unwittingly added a mile to my intended hike, and as the bridge kept not coming into sight around each bend, my step got quicker and occasionally I sprinted flat out on the level portions of the trail. Even though photography was getting increasingly difficult in the low light without a tripod, I couldn't help leaning against the rock wall and getting a few shots of this great stairway.

Now and then I would hear a crashing sound, and the first time I thought it was someone on the trail ahead of me bushwhacking off trail, but eventually I came upon the source of the noises.

Danger....icicles falling! I started looking up a little more often on this section of the trail as I abandoned the running and went back to walking.

Eventually I made it to the bridge and crossed under it.  By now it was dark and I started jogging down the Original Trail hill, slowing only when I got to the stairways.  When I was almost down I ran into a teenager with her parents and sang out as I sailed past, "I'm not supposed to be out after dark and my Mommy is going to be so mad at me!" It got the intended laugh, and I was quick to add that unfortunately I wasn't mother is not the free spirited nature lover that I am and even in daylight spends her time worrying about me coming upon dangerous critters or walking off the edge of a clifff....and maybe she should since sometimes I do crazy things like run along new trails at dusk on mountainsides!  I arrived back out of breath, sweaty, and oh-so-happy (endorphins are a girl's best friend!).  Even though I still have a pulled muscle or two from running downhill for half a mile I think it was worth it!


  1. Crazy lady! Please be careful out there on the trail. Falling icicles? Getting dark?

    I'm glad you made it back safely, especially since you were alone. What if something happened to you like a broken leg or cracked skull and unconsciousness?

    I'm all for great adventures, but with a dose of caution mixed in.

    (I speak from experience after my fall and broken face incident. I'm glad we were in a major city and I'm glad Bob was at my side)


    1. Thanks for worrying about me...I swear I was only running where it was flat and wide and icicle free! In my defense I'd been housebound in a rental the two days prior with the flu, and I'd spent that whole day in the car with my mother...I was a more than a little stir crazy! As for broken legs, it's actually something I think about all the time because 2 years ago Wayne slipped on some black ice in our driveway and broke his tibia and fibula. Two weeks after that I slipped unexpectedly outside of work on ice that I never even saw, and as I lay there on my back trying not to have a heart attack I was VERY thankful everything was intact!!

  2. Wow! This looks like a amazing trail. Just the kind of place I like to explore.