|From left: Darlene, me and Nicole in front of their home on wheels "Annie"|
I love having an excuse to come down to Red River Gorge and hike, but knowing that Darlene and Nicole from Where the Wind Goes were camp hosting at Koomer Ridge Campground through February made heading this way an easy decision.
|Peaceful woods at Koomer Ridge|
These ladies are my heroes; retiring early, living frugal and green, and spending a lot of their time volunteering in parks and forests around the country. Cory opted to read in the car and Darlene had leisure pursuits she wanted to follow as well, but Nicole was up for a hike and we had lots to talk about on our way out to Silvermine Arch.
We saw a lot of different tracks that included squirrel or chipmunk tracks that led up to trees and disappeared, deer walking straight down the trail, and the above tracks that looked like a large dog track but crossed the trail through the woods and were not accompanied by human tracks like dog tracks usually are. Online research makes me think either a stray dog or a large coyote. Anyone know more please feel free to inform us!
|lime green foliose lichen|
One area of interest that Nicole and I share is our fondness for lichen and fungi. Don't judge us.
|bracket fungi just beginning?|
The Silvermine Arch trail is about 1.5 miles from the campground out to the arch, and includes a stairway that Nicole says has 80 steps. I trusted her and didn't count them myself.
There was some up and down involved but overall is was a fairly easy trail for the area. With all we had to talk about the time passed quickly and after scurrying under a downed tree we got to the good stuff.
The sandstone had stories to tell, and I was happy to try to recognize its layers and complexities but even though I read the geological brochure the only thing I felt a little confident identifying was some jutting layers of shale. Maybe shale. I need to befriend a geologist to find out for sure.
Whatever it is, the rock in this area is just plain cool.
The icicle formations were pretty stellar as well.
My favorite shot of the outing though was this one that got the black and white treatment.