Happy Monday Friends!

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is to go hiking. Kentucky has some incredibly beautiful places for hiking some of which include: Natural Bridge, Raven Run, Red River Gorge and the Pinnacles.

However, this summer I hadn’t had the time to go with my friends as in previous summers because our schedules just didn’t match up and we weren’t free at the same times. Sunday was the first time all summer I got to go, which is kind of sad because this is my last week in Lex before I go back to school!

I had been thinking about buying a small hiking backpack the whole week before we went and I just totally spaced and forgot to buy one until the night before (face palm) so I didn’t get to have it for the actual hike. But the next time I go, I’ll have it with me! I ended up taking a normal-sized backpack because of its sturdiness even though I only had a few things in it (wallet, two water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, snacks and a charging case for my phone.) Even though it was bigger than I needed, it was so much better than a drawstring bag! Those things just flop around when I hike.

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The hiking backpack I bought (too late for this trip)

Sunday morning arrived and Sabrina and I got breakfast at North Lime Donuts and headed to Red River Gorge! It takes about an hour to get there from Lexington.

We always joke that we can never do anything or go anywhere without something funny/interesting or sometimes unfortunate happening to us and this was no exception. That’s why I always build in an extra hour or so into our tentative schedule because something always happens where it takes us longer than it’s supposed to!

I looked up the “address” for RRG online and put it in my GPS. It said it was on Robbie Ridge Rd, so when it was time to turn onto this road, I automatically knew we were in the wrong place. It was a VERY steep, one lane drive that had a sign that said “PRIVATE DRIVE-NO TRESPASSING.” Sabrina and I just looked at each other like “of course.” So I tried to turn around, but the road was basically on a cliff so that was impossible. I ended up just driving a little bit farther down the road where there was a very small parking lot where I could turn around.

At this point neither one of us had any cell phone service so we couldn’t look up any other directions. So we just drove around and hoped that we would see some signs to point us in the right direction. We finally found a sign for “Nada Tunnel-Red River Gorge” so we turned there and drove. And drove. And drove. It seemed like we were driving forever! Then we came to the Nada Tunnel. Let me tell you this thing is AWESOME!!! It’s a single lane, low clearance tunnel that literally goes through the side of a giant rock. The other side is visible from the start so you can see if a car is coming or not.

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What the tunnel looks like from the outside
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What the tunnel looks like on the inside! So cool!

Once through the tunnel, there are several parking lots off to the side with different trailheads. We had no idea where we were going though, so we were hoping to find a map or visitor center so we could look at the different trail options. We finally ran across a visitor center and talked with a worker inside about the trails. We decided on Gray’s Arch, which is about 5 miles.

We parked by the trailhead entrance and started our adventure!

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Since we only had a donut and coffee for breakfast, we stopped a few times along the way for a snack break. I would consider this trail moderate in difficulty.

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Some interesting things we saw on trees
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Some interesting things we saw on trees

I do think there needs to be a little more signage as to where to go. Especially at one point, there were just a mountain of rocks that looked out to the forrest. We assumed that was the end of the trail, but checked our Fitbits and we had only gone like 1.5 miles and it was 2.5 one way so we knew there had to be more. We decided to climb the rocks and the rest of the trail was located at the top. We kept on trucking, going uphill, then downhill, then uphill again, down a huge flight of stairs and then finally came out to a larger open space with a creek. There were several ropes blocking off certain parts with signs that said it was closed for restoration purposes. So we weren’t really sure if the part that was blocked off was the trail and that was as far as you could go or if the trail continued across the creek. It was just confusing so we decided to turn around and go back the way we came so we wouldn’t get lost. When we got to the mountain of rocks we had climbed before we had to scoot on our butts down them because they were very sandy which made your shoes slip a little. Our legs were jello by the time we were finished!

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The huge flight of stairs we had to climb back up

We never got to see “Gray’s Arch” which was a little disappointing, but we still had a great hike and it was time for lunch!!

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Gray’s Arch-what we didn’t get to see

For lunch, we ate at Miguel’s Pizza which is a hole in the wall, but very popular!! I had heard many great things about it before, but had never been so I was excited!

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When we arrived, there was a line out the door, but we didn’t care. We were so hungry at this point, it didn’t matter. It’s a build-your-own kind of deal so you could get pretty much whatever you wanted on your pizza. We both filled out our order slips and when we compared we literally had the same exact thing-two slices of BBQ Chicken pizza and an Ale8.

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The line when we first arrived

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They had a wide variety of apparel and gear for purchase. I ended up getting a small sticker to put on my water bottle (we also got free Red River Gorge ones as well) and a pastel yellow t-shirt with the Miguel’s logo on the back.

 

When they brought out the food, they actually gave us three pieces instead of two, but I think it was because the slices were smaller than usual. It was delicious and hit the spot after a long hike!

Once our bellies were full, we hit the road back home!

I would highly recommend hiking at the Red River Gorge! Natural Bridge is also in the same area and they have great trails as well. We had both been to NB plenty of times before, so we wanted to try something new by going to RRG. If you go to either one of these places, you must visit Miguel’s too!

Although, I’m slightly disappointed it was my first and last hike of the summer, I’m glad I got to go as a last hurrah before going back to school!

Hopefully I can go hiking somewhere in Indiana this semester.

Do me a favor and enjoy God’s creation by going out on a hike!

xoxo,

Alyssa

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