ALL mornings start with high test coffee! From there it is uphill all the way. Speaking of uphill-out in the wilderness 1.3 miles can seem as if one hiked 36 miles in 8 hours. We set out to see Kentucky's highest waterfall-135 feet. The graduated path appeared to be benign. Yey, successfully reached the destination. I hope you can appreciate the size of the rock overhang as this served as home to some family 9,000 years ago. The archeologists have located much evidence to prove this. It is incredible to believe how primitively these folks lived. It is hard enough to walk to the parking lot after work!
Here comes the uphill side of this story. The ascent steeply climbed up the side of the boulders via steel grid steps! Guess who thought the steps would be the easy way up? Three quarters of the way up the steel steps became boulder size steps-all 70 of them. Counting was the only way to stay focused-I felt like Forest Gump. My knee caps, lungs, and heart felt 9,000 years old! This excursion took 35 mins.
All the while we have been in the bowels of the earth, the rangers continue to remind us of bear, racoon, and snake sightings secondary to dry weather. Wouldn't you know Corky spotted a garter snake while climbing the steps. Did I look? With one eye! It was too far to fall.
An interesting contrast to living close to the sea, the rising sun is not visible until +/- 8:00AM. It is easy to drink coffee, read, check e-mails etc, pre-sunrise. The reverse holds true regarding sunset. That allows us to begin the campfire earlier.
We are camped near an old coal mining community. Remeber the song 16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford? The lifestyle history is simply fascinating. We will be traveling by scenic rail to two ghost towns and a restored town. Most of the inhabitants today are descendants of these coal miners. The towns were owned by the coal mine owner. You were literally indebted to them as the money was termed script-like a credit. When pay day came, your debt was deducted. The miner's pay was proportionate to the amount of coal he dug. Hence, unions were created.
In the restored town(run by the park service), recorded recollections describe each point of interest. Very enjoyable. Prior to boarding the train, while eating lunch at the Blue Heron Mining Camp the lady NP ranger, a banjo player(age 92) and another gentleman picked, sang, and grinned songs of the time.
Are you curious about where we eat? Like anybody else, we eat both at home and out. Tonight we are going to a local buffet(there go the calories burnt so far). I'll let you know how it was.
Today's hike wasn't as treacherous as yesterday's. It did begin uphill with switchbacks. That just means the trip down will not be too bad. I wish the photos could display the magnitude of the rocks. Once we reached the split in the rocks, you walked steps to the top for a different view. We feel we identified fossils; maybe looking so intently causes one to hallucinate.
We finished off with a backpack lunch on level ground. This is the second writing of this entry. Just imagine after typing this AM, the entry poofed away! How annoying. Just when I was getting the hang of the computer at work, I retired. Now I'm dealing with Windows Vista-ugh! The tool bar is from another country!
See you Labor Day! Enjoy the time off.