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  1. #21
    Senior Member Doctari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonsaihiker View Post
    Whoo-hoo! Glad to hear you can make it, Don!

    Autograph rock...I wonder if Gary means what I call Initial Rock, which is a big, bald rock on the Rough Trail between Pinch-em-tight trail and Chimney Top Creek. It's covered in carvings--the only place I don't mind them (too much).
    Yea, that's the place! Initial Rock: good views, interesting carvings, etc.
    I once told someone that was an easy hike in,,,,,, UM,,,, Lets just say I no longer offer opinions of level of difficulty of a trail anymore.
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  2. #22
    bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    So where would you all like to hike? Auxier Ridge/Double Arch is sounding better to me all the time, but would be happy going wherever the majority would prefer. After we decide, I'll scan a map and post it here.
    --Scott <><

    "I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful... because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...." --Robert Traver

  3. #23
    Senior Member krugd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonsaihiker View Post
    OK, let's decide on a route, then the meeting place/parking area will be more obvious.

    OK, so how about these options (in no particular order):

    1) we could look at a slow, stop-and-go hike at the Auxier Ridge/Double Arch area. Lots of cliff-top views, and possibly cold winds, from up there. However, shelter from wind is as close as dropping down off the ridge a few feet.
    This is a nice area, and views are great. I haven't made it out to double arch yet, so would enjoy seeing something new. But it seems a fairly small area for two nights. Makes a good lazy option.



    Quote Originally Posted by bonsaihiker View Post

    2) a "lollipop" loop from the swinging bridge down the Sheltowee to Rough Trail/Gray's Arch/Pinch-em-Tight and back, which would give some frequent elevation change and water availability, along with lots of rock houses/formations to explore.
    This would be really nice, and as you say there is a lot to see. There are various side trails to explore, the rock houses and gray's arch. We would have lots of options as to how far we hike, allowing us to take it easy, or spend time exploring.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonsaihiker View Post

    3) the swinging bridge up the Sheltowee to Corner Ridge Trail (is that the right name, Don?) which would require a shuttle or long road hike at the end unless we make it an out-and-back. this would have the option of a side-hike to Indian Staircase.
    If you are talking about the hike we took before, that's trail 240 on maps aka, Osborne Ridge. This is a nice choice. The Indian staircase area has great views, some nice rockhouses and the exposed hike up Indian Staircase. On the negative side the area is overused and often looks it. This time of year it should be relatively quiet there. The hike along Gladie creek is always pleasant. The last part is through the higer woods and circles back to the road.

    [quote=bonsaihiker;593419]

    4) Rough Trail end-to-end-and-back which will also give some elevation change and nice rock formations to explore.

    [\quote]

    I've done parts of this, and its nice. However I think hike #2 is a better option. We get much of the Rough, but a little more variety.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonsaihiker View Post

    5) Swift Camp Creek trail, either with a shuttle or an out-and-back. I don't know this trail much beyond getting to the creek from either end.
    I've done this as a lollipop, starting at the rock Bridge area and using a shot section of road. The sections just below Rock Bridge are nice and include a distance along the stream. There is an old still in there and turtleback arch just off trail. (Some of us did the turtleback area last year.)

    The lower (Northern) sections are among the toughest in the Gorge, lots of up and down as the trail attempts to follwo the stream

    Quote Originally Posted by bonsaihiker View Post
    6) Start at Hemlock Lodge in Natural Bridge and hike up the Sheltowee from there, then go wherever we feel like going.
    I've never done this stretch, and the Lodge would be an easy place to meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonsaihiker View Post

    Any other possibilities? What would everyone else like to do?
    Hanson's point (as part of #2) or own its own?

    Go in along the Douglas trail and either head up to the Osborne ridge area, or camp down near the mouth, or partway up Swift Camp creek. This last part would be off trail - though last time I was in there there were unofficial trails to follow.

    As always, there are too many possibilities! I always find choosing an area to hike into as the toughest part of the trip! I guess I'd lean towards #2 or #6, put not a strong preference here. What do the rest of you think?
    --Don---

    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Ed Abbey

  4. #24
    Senior Member Doctari's Avatar
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    I'm in for the ridge!!
    Gotta leave around 1500 on Sat, but I do love that place. I suggest: Auxier ridge trail (#204) to haystack, down 203 to the creek. That's about 1.5 miles in, & the best sites are just before the trail descends to the creek. OR we could go about 1/2 mile (may be less) up the creek to another site, that one was pretty trashed when I was there about 2 years ago. But there are a few hanging sites nearby & it has a larger "Gathering area". Site #1 had "Do not camp here" signs 2 years ago AT THE STREAM, but not up on the hill.

    The walk up to double arch is, , , , , , , , , , nice. (sorry, last time I said a hike was easy,,,, ) the photo opps thru the arches is one of a kind, & the views from atop is way cool!!!, a good place for lunch.

    EDIT: krugd posted as I was typing the above. So, as I have stated before, I don't care where we go!
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  5. #25
    bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    I also think Auxier is a bit small for two days, Don, but I wasn't sure how "non-strenuous" you wanted. I think it would be nice to explore Courthouse and Haystack Rocks, and Double Arch is great. I also know a nice site to camp under the arch. However, I think you're right that we'd have more options with #2 or #6. Of those two, I would vote for #6. We can always follow Rough trail as a lollipop from that way, too, and Hanson's point would be an option. I've never been there.

    So, #1 or #6?
    --Scott <><

    "I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful... because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...." --Robert Traver

  6. #26
    Senior Member Doctari's Avatar
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    I have not done most of that stretch of the STT (option #6) so I"m golden for that.
    After the Gray's arch parking lot, one of my favorite routes is: DB Hut to Rough trail & around Gray's arch. Photo Opp, then on to a nice camp (3 streams, lots of trees, fairly quiet [can hear the road sometimes]) about 1/2 mile or so past Grays arch. The miles are a guess, but continue past Rush Ridge trail, down a steep 7' or so rock descent, continue down the hill to the creek, there you am.
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  7. #27
    bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    Exclamation PLEASE READ if you are attending.

    OK, that sounds like the winner, then. Let's meet at Hemlock Lodge parking lot in Natural Bridge State Park on Friday morning, say at 10:00? I was thinking, Gary, that since you need to leave earlier, you could just leave your vehicle at Gray's Arch parking lot so you would have an easier exit on Saturday (and be able to stick around with us a bit longer). Someone could pick you up there FRIDAY morning on their way to Hemlock Lodge (me), or if you and Don are meeting up or camping Thursday night, Don could bring you. How does that sound?

    For everyone else, I'll post a map to Hemlock Lodge and a topo map of our (likely, but estimated) loop, along with a GPS waypoint or two this weekend. This will be a scenic trip with lots of cool arches, rock shelters, and other geologic formations to see/explore. Itinerary will be figured out on the fly, to make for a more relaxing, wandering type of trip. With hammocks, we will pretty much be able to camp anywhere, so knowing where we will be on any given night will be difficult to say with certainty, but I plan on being back to my car at the Lodge by dark at the latest on Sunday.

    For clarification, we will start at Hemlock Lodge in Natural Bridge State Park on Friday morning at around 10:00, follow the Sheltowee Trace up Whittleton Branch creek to Tunnel Ridge Road in the Red River Gorge (honk if you see us on the bridge ), to Gray's Arch trailhead parking. From there we have several options before us, including Daniel Boone Hut trail, Gray's Arch trail, Rough Trail, Rush Ridge Trail, and Pinch-em-Tight trail.

    There is the potential for elevation gain/loss of 400-500 feet within a mile of trail there, so please take your time if you are not used to that kind of exercise. Trails can vary from wide and flat to narrow and very steep. Water will be available intermittently, and we may choose a dry camp, so bring something to carry water in (and treat with, except of course for Doctari ). Weather currently forecast to be sunny on Friday with high of 60 and low of 45 to rain on Sunday with a high of 46 and low of 36. It can get colder in the valleys in the gorge due to lack of sunlight so pack warmly. Snakes are plentiful in the gorge but not likely to be active when we are there.

    Black Bears have been sighted there, and in fact a year or two ago a hiker was attacked (mainly due to stupidity). Read up on what to do during a bear encounter, especially on what not to do (like walk up to it for a photo op). I will carry a can of bear spray, but seriously doubt I will need it. I have been hiking there for years and never seen any definite sign. No guns, please. It's been too long since I've been trained on how to treat a sucking chest wound and don't want a crash course from Gary on this trip.

    PLEASE NOTE: It is now a rule that all food/bear attractant must be secured in the gorge. Specifically all things that may attract bears must be hung at least 10 feet in the air and at least 4 feet from the trunk of the tree, and should be at least 100 feet from camp (which can be difficult there). I carry 75 feet of line to hang my bag "PCT style" as the forest is thick and low branches are scarce in some areas.

    WARNING: There are some serious cliff lines in the gorge and it is extremely easy to "step off into the void" especially at night. Every year someone dies from falling there. PLEASE watch your step and realize that pine needles are slippery and the slope frequently leads to places you don't want to go.

    Not trying to scare anyone, but I wanted to be sure anyone new to the area realized what to expect. It's a beautiful area, and also very popular and the more well-used sites can be trashed. We will most likely keep on moving through those areas, though. If anyone has any questions, please ask!
    Last edited by bonsaihiker; 11-20-2011 at 12:30. Reason: Added title. Changed day someone would pick up Doctari from Saturday to Friday (sorry).
    --Scott <><

    "I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful... because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...." --Robert Traver

  8. #28
    Senior Member Doctari's Avatar
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    I'll likely be showing up around Midnight thirty on Fri AM & hike in as far as I feel like. Prolly to the jct of D. Boon hut & Rough trail.
    OR, I may park at Gray's parking & backtrack as far as I feel like towards the lodge*. I like night hiking & don't care about what, when or where I hike, as long as I hike, so I'll see y-all Friday AM.
    That is assuming we are doing #6 & my suggestion for sure.



    *I have a bit of OCD & am "Collecting trails" in RRG so this will add to my collection.
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  9. #29
    bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    Unless there are any serious objections, Gary, I think #6 as I laid it out above will be our plan. If you do decide to hike to the Lodge let me know (actually, let me know either way) so I know whether to pick you up or not.
    --Scott <><

    "I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful... because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...." --Robert Traver

  10. #30
    bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    CELL PHONES: There is usually a strong enough signal from most ridge-tops in the Gorge, though it can be very spotty especially in the valleys. However, it might be nice to have a list of cell phone numbers in case we need to communicate before or during the hike.

    Please PM me your cell number if you are going, and I'll distribute a complete list by PM so we all have it.

    Thanks!
    --Scott <><

    "I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful... because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...." --Robert Traver

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