On my last day on a trip I usually try to squeeze one last hike in even if dark is just around the corner. Even though the fog thwarted (there's a good word) me at Sky Bridge I looked over the map and decided I could swing into Koomer Ridge campground and pick a hike in there.
Parking for hikers is just inside the entrance on the left. After parking I put up my hood on my raincoat and mosied (another good word) on over to the trailhead. It goes alongside the road for about a tenth of a mile and then crosses the road and goes through a small camping area and on into the woods. Just keep following the trail signs marked "208".
The dearth (good word #3) of detailed trail information on this area is surprising. For every post I've written I've had trouble finding proper maps and trail descriptions including mileage so I have to estimate this one at about 2.5 miles. The To Red River Gorge site was probably the best, but I'm considering buying a book called "Hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge" to help me on return visits. The upside to my lack of preparation in this area is that I never knew what I was going to find. Of course the downside is that it increased the likelihood that I might get lost.
I kept my eyes peeled since I didn't really know where I was going or what I was looking for, but it turned out that Hidden Arch really isn't very well hidden thanks to the large staircase leading down to it. The To Red River Gorge website recommends doing this hike (a lollipop) in the reverse direction that I did, which would necessitate climbing all these stairs instead of going down them.
I didn't know it was a lollipop hike, I thought I was going to doing an out-and-back so I was surprised when I looked through the arch and saw I could keep going.
I easily scrambled up in to the arch and paused for a photo before deciding a quick look around the next corner couldn't hurt even though I knew I was running out of day.
Of course it turned out that I was only following the plotted trail which looped around and then started a pretty brutal climb back up onto the ridge through the rhododendren. Which is worse, slogging uphill or climbing stairs? Maybe next time I'll try it the other direction and let you know!
So I shared three good words with you today, have you got one to share with me? I could use a few good words to mull over since my evening here at home in Wisconsin includes words like "torturous flea baths" and "excruciating mounds of laundry".