We arrived in Kentucky last Monday. We intended to stay only until Wednesday after lunch, but something came up, allowing me to see more family members that I haven’t seen in a long time, and an extra day for us to climb in the Red River Gorge, and causing us to delay our road trip by a bit.
On Monday we arrived in Lexington
I have family in the area so we wanted to visit. After a bit of family time Matches and I headed out to Red River Gorge where we hoped to get some climbing in before the sun went down.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to climb that night. We did meet this cute little guy, who wasn’t afraid of us at all. He sat under the stairs while we walked down over them. After a couple quick pictures – none of which were good quality, sorry – we left him alone.
We stayed at Land of the Arches campground. It was $5 a night per person, there were showers, bathrooms, and a large hangout area with some ping pong tables for people to just chill in. We camped in one of their campsites down a little gravel road. It was next to a field full of fireflies, and crickets.
Tuesday we got to climb!
We went climbing in Muir Valley. Which was described to us as “an outdoor gym”, which is pretty spot on as a description we had to fill out waivers in order to climb there, and all of the routes had their names and ratings on small tags in the rock. We stuck mostly to the Practice wall and the Guide wall there. I realized after doing my first climb that morning, that it was my first time lead climbing outside! A 5.4 called Arachnophobiacs Anonymous was my first outdoor lead, and I ended up doing it probably five times by the time we left Kentucky.
Wednesday was our original departure date from Kentucky. However, before we climbed the day before, we found we had a problem.
Well, Matches had a problem. His phone’s charging cord melted the charging port, and his phone would no longer charge. After contacting his phone provider he was going to try and have a replacement sent to my family nearby, which meant we’d be leaving on Saturday.
Before having lunch with a bunch of my family we ran some errands, including going to get a new cable for Matches’ phone to see if it would charge – it wouldn’t, and doing an oil change in the Walmart parking lot.
A bunch of my family have done quite a bit of traveling, so both my Grandmother, and my Great Uncle helped us plan our route out west. They really appreciated the help, and it allowed me to write out a solid plan of what days we’re going to hit what, and we’ll be able to get to the next place we’re staying for a few days by the 25th – two days early.
Wednesday night we went back to Land of the Arches.
We found out that the replacement phone would not arrive for a few weeks, and decided to go on without. Already having made plans for a Thursday night dinner meant we had an excuse to do more climbing in Red River Gorge, which was awesome. While at the campground we met some other climbers, and got to just hang out for a bit. That’s one of the coolest things about climbing, is the community, sitting down for a conversation and beer with complete strangers at a campground, and sometimes never learning their names, is normal and almost expected.
Thursday we did some more climbing before heading back to the Lexington area.
Neither Matches or I are very experienced outdoor climbers, so we stuck to the same areas, mostly just practicing our technical skills, and getting our confidence up.
We had a nice dinner with more family afterwards, and started getting ready to leave.
Friday was the day we left Kentucky, and hit our first national park.
Technically, we’d driven through a few national forests, however, this was the first national park we stopped in – Mammoth Cave, the longest known cave system in the world, over 400 miles of caves.
I purchased the Explorer edition of the Passport to the National Parks. As a fun way for Matches and I to check off which ones we’ve been to, and when. They also have some maps that have been incredibly useful to us so far.
More adventures coming soon!