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Old 3rd January 2010, 08:32   #1
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Default New Year Drive - Red River Gorge Scenic Byway

The thanksgiving weekend goes by. I am still assembling furniture for my home.

The Christmas break – 5 days long – goes by. I am lazing and blaming the cold temperatures.

New Year break comes by and I tell myself – enough is enough. Time is flying. And I need to challenge myself or give up the idea of exploring.

I already have the travel guides from the Ohio and Kentucky tourism departments for 8 weeks now. 3 hours of scavenging and what I am left with looks like a plan. And this time I decide to go to mountains – at the foothills of Appalachian Range in the Daniel Boone National Forest (KY).

We know the weather is gonna be cold and the idea is to enjoy the drive and have limited trekking/outdoor fun. The Red River Gorge Scenic Byway looks perfect – at least on paper.

The entry point for the byway – Stanton is 130 miles from my home and after that 46 miles of byway – the link below has most of the details…
Red River Gorge Scenic Byway

Map Courtesy: byways.org
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Last edited by akbaree : 3rd January 2010 at 08:34.
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Old 3rd January 2010, 09:05   #2
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With a confirmed plan, I head to the gas station. After returning, I decide to adjust the my son’s car seat. The seat is moving around 6 inches side to side and I ain’t happy. Its bitter cold and I curse myself for buying that car seat in first place when most of the reviews suggested that installing that seat rightly is a nightmare. But after 45 minutes of struggle it finally sits to my satisfaction.

The time is midnight. I keep reading this in many travelogues, and as with many others, it happens with me every time when I have to wake early the next day. After twisting, turning, and all that, I finally sleep at 2:00 AM. The alarm goes off at 5:30 AM. It takes me an hour to get out of bed. After taking bath, as I check out the morning, the view from the living room is depressing
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The current temperature at 15 degrees is not encouraging as well. It also says feels like 2 degress (-17 degrees celcius ).
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The forecast for Stanton is a high of 20 degrees and mostly cloudy. My son is all smiles as I load the bags.
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We finally leave at 8:30AM hour and a half late than the planned departure.
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In no time, we leave Cincinnati Downtown behind us…
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While I drive, my wife is playing around with the camera…
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It looks very cloudy
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And then there’s some hope of Sun showing up…
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But that hope is soon rewarded with darker clouds and a snow shower…
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Last edited by akbaree : 3rd January 2010 at 09:10.
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Old 3rd January 2010, 11:55   #3
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Its been 6 months since i came to the US but never seen snow. I miss it! Looks beautiful
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Old 3rd January 2010, 20:43   #4
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We reach Stanton at 11:30 AM. My inexperience with the GPS and not reading enough about the entry to the byway meant we spent more than an hour in finding the entry to the byway. In retrospect it looks simple but I have learnt my lesson.

As we took the left turn onto 77, the real fun began. The landscape became dense and hills became taller.
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We passed the historic Nada Tunnel – was built in early 20th century to support a rail line for the logging industry. It is said that human greed can bleed the mother nature to death. Logging for timber and ore for supporting 2nd world war weapon construction were the main industries but not this is a protected national forest.
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A car enters and then backs out. Another car is backing out. Driven by a girl, she decides to return.
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This whole region is one of the most popular destinations for rock climbing, camping, kayaking, and hiking. Did I say biking? Some folks were camping in sub zero temperatures as I can be seen that with the permit danglers these parked cars had…
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The byway continues to amaze us with the beauty of the region. Most of the time the road runs along with Red River, but there were quite a few bridges (most of them single road but some single lane) which give you opportunity to gaze at the energy of the Red River.
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Old 3rd January 2010, 21:54   #5
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As we move on to 715 leaving 77, the snow recedes but the beauty continues…
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We saw numerous such frozen waterfalls…
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Due to poor light, the landscape pictures haven’t come that well. Moreover I was toying with the new camcorder at some places and didn’t click.
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This gorge was habitat to native-Americans and may be to people much more back in history then we today now as native-Americans. The rock shelters as the one in the picture below are found in abundance. But to reach most of them you to mountain climb or hike and that’s not on agenda today.
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Another fascinating structure is this sky bridge and other numerous arches. The sky bridge is particular is fantastic. A natural formation of a bridge at the top of the mountain ridge…
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There were two paths to the bridge – the shorter path (about half a mile) takes you to the top of the sky bridge. We took the trek…
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Look at the encircled structure under the sky bridge. In India most probably this would be called Swyambhu Shiva Linga. This is amazing. Geology at work.

There’s another trek route that takes to the bottom of the bridge but that is a mile long trek and we decided to take it on some other day.
As we return to car park, the time is 3:00 PM. And with uncertain weather and we being a cool 40 miles away from any major highway, we decide to return. The winter days are really short here with sun showing up for just 8-9 hours. It also means the nights are long, dark (mostly cloudy), and very cold.
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We decide to come back on 715 and continue on 77 till Frenchburg. 77 traverses thru the heart of Daniel Boone National Forest and next 30 miles was a great drive thru the forest. But there were many settlements and logging still continues. The forest is threatened by human greed. It makes me sad.

We finally arrive home at 6:30 PM and as we reflect upon the drive, it was a great rejuvenating day.

Concluded (thanks for taking time to read)

Last edited by akbaree : 3rd January 2010 at 22:00.
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