Each year for Fall Break our family goes to Red River Gorge for a camping trip. This is one of my very favorite traditions that Michael and I have with the children. It’s a special time for just the six of us where we are away from it all and it’s just us and our Tents in the midst of the gorgeous scenery of Kentucky. We cook over a campfire, we walk in the woods (and on cliffs), we play games, we read books, we sleep in a tent, and we have the rare experience of long periods of peace and quiet. We don’t go camping as much as I want to so we have been thinking about buying a caravan to make planning camping trips easier. All we will have to do is keep all of our camping stuff in the caravan and be ready to go. Of course, we’d have to look into things like a leisure battery, insurance for the caravan, learn how to hitch it to our car, etc. but I think it would be worth it! I love these camping trips so any excuse to go more often is perfect for me! I always come home from this trip feeling refreshed and recharged.
Red River Gorge 2016:
Everyone pitches in for setting up and tearing down the campsite:
The hammock is always a fought over spot in our campsite:
Sam built his first fire this year:
There’s something about reading in the woods…we all find moments to sit and catch up on a good book while we are camping:
This may look like a creek but it is actually the Middle Fork of the Red River and it runs right through our favorite campsite:
While we love to cook over the campfire, we also enjoy visiting the local restaurants. This year we had dinner at Red River Rockhouse one evening:
Swift Camp Creek Overlook Trail
For our first hike we decided to hike the Swift Camp Creek Overlook Trail. We found the directions in our favorite RRG trail guide, Hinterlands by Jerrell Goodpaster. If you are a fan of the Gorge you really need this book in your collection.
The Swift Camp Creek Overlook Trail was a very interesting trail, with some gorgeous scenery and cool campsites set up in the woods, but it was also a mess. Several parties of hikers that we passed advised us to turn back because the trail was impassable due to downed trees from a storm. If we were novice hikers then we would probably have to be extra prepared for these type of situations, maybe read up on websites like Know Prepare Survive (https://knowpreparesurvive.com/) to understand what to do. But since this wasn’t our first hike, and the trail wasn’t that demanding in that it wasn’t a thick jungle in the middle of nowhere, we were able to manage. We persevered though and Michael ended up finding a modified trail that connected with the overgrown path. It was a great hike, but we did get a little scratched up here and there from the fallen trees. It was also a super hot day so I was glad that I bought us all a water bottle from a website like Botanex, before we came. The heat made the hike so much harder, I’m just thankful we had lots of water to keep us hydrated!!
After our long hike we needed some grub and cold beer so we went to Sky Bridge Station for appetizers and local craft beer. This place is a great hangout for hikers, bikers and climbers and the food is delish!
Red River Gorge Suspension Bridge
For our hike on day two we picked a short easy trail because we wanted to fit in a canoe ride that day as well. We hiked along the Red River to the Suspension Bridge and it was a lovely walk in the woods. After lunch at the campsite Michael, Ella, Sam and Henry took a canoe ride on the Mill Creek Lake, but alas, they did not take any pictures. Max and I stayed at the campsite and read books and played a fierce game of Dominion.
Tarr Ridge East
Our last hike of the trip was my favorite. For most of the hike you are on a path in the middle of the very old forest, with trees all around you and then all of a sudden you are on top of the world. Or on top of the Gorge anyway. The views atop Tarr Ridge East were absolutely breath-taking!
After our long weekend in the woods I’m always a little sad to come home. We do have a special scrapbook though that we can look at when we are missing the Gorge. We have been putting together our own Family Travel Guide for the Red River Gorge for several years now to keep track of all the hikes and adventures we have had at the Gorge.