Spring Break: Red River Gorge "The Final Day"
The final part of an ongoing series penned by Michael Cheser, an EKI Ambassador, and Western Kentucky University film student about his epic Kentucky road trip fueled Spring Break. Check back next week for a recap piece about the entire trip and how you can do this same thing.
Spring Break road trip came to an end on day four. We packed it full of stuff to do and unfortunately had to say goodbye. Our morning with some group selfies in the back of the car after cooking a big breakfast by the fire.
When we left camp we headed up to Sky Bridge to catch the beautiful scenery before the crowds came. Sky Bridge is a natural arch formation that can be walked across. It's one of many arches within the Red River Gorge National Geological area and Clifty Wilderness and is very similar to the larger arch Natural Bridge just outside of the gorge in Natural Bridge State Park. The biggest difference between Sky Bridge and Natural Bridge is that Sky Bridge is much higher while Natural Bridge is much wider and longer. The view is great from Sky Bridge and we could even see our campsite on Swift Camp Creek. It's a very peaceful area and it's even better if you beat the crowds, plus with no people up there I was able to fly the drone a little but had to stop because of how strong the wind was.
After exploring around Sky Bridge, Kelsey and I headed threw on our waders, and grabbed our fly fishing gear and jumped into Swift Camp Creek in hopes of catching some trout. We were unsuccessful on landing any fish, although the Forest Service told us it was the best place to fish. They also said that it may be tough because no stocking has happened yet and people illegally take fish very often. This is one thing that really hurts the fish population and enjoyment of other fishermen. Before you fish make sure to have your fishing license and trout stamp, you can get those at LedFord's Bait and Tackle right off the Mountain Parkway at the Slade exit #33, and also follow all laws. Read up on your stocking dates and know the time periods for catch and release. Also be sure to take care of the water and area around it as you would any other outdoor landscape. If you see people violating the fishing laws call dispatch and simply ask for the fish and wildlife office in that area; provide them with a license plate number and description of vehicle. Do not try to tell the person they're illegally fishing because it may upset some people and your best bet is to just call. By doing so you're protecting an ecosystem and helping the people who protect that environment.
Beyond this we still had a good day on the water, the only one we hooked was a tiny little trout maybe two inches long. I saw my indicator go underwater and set the hook, however with how small he was I ended up jerking him out of the water and watching him fly right past me.
After we had spent enough time not catching any fish we decided to drive around Red River Gorge and check out the Nada Tunnel, an old train tunnel that has been converted for car usage through the hillside. We drove through it a few times, took some cool pictures, and even flew the drone. Sunset was around the corner so we took off to Chimney Top Rock in hopes of catching some nice sunset photos.
When we got to Chimney Top Rock we had a few minutes to sunset so we jumped out on Half Moon, which is an unofficial trail near Chimney Top, to see if we could maybe get the dogs up the steep rock face and shoot sunset pictures from there. However that was not going to happen so I snagged a few pictures on my test climb up (which scared me to death) and then took off down the road to Chimney Top Rock.
It turned out the sky was a bit too cloudy for a good sunset so we did the best we could and honestly just relaxed by ourselves until dark because no one else was out there. We did however get a nice call from some people on Half Moon who yelled "What's Up Chimney" to us (After uploading this to IG we found out it was @Kelziejo and @fartlegram). But when dark rolled around it was time to head home.
Though Chimney Top Rock was going to be our final destination we couldn't help but stop at the world renowned Miguel's Pizza, a major tourist stop and seasonal home for climbers from all around the world before hit the Mountain Parkway. So we grabbed a few slices, shared them with a cute random dog, and enjoyed some nice bottled Coke before we drove almost four hours back to Bowling Green.
The trip was a blast and we wished we could have had more time but we had to get home for work and honestly didn't want to be camping in the rain. We hope we may have inspired some to try and road trip KY for Spring Break next year or even just over the summer. Camping is a cheap and relaxing way to vacation. Overall we probably spent like $250 on everything and that's what two nights would have cost on the beach. So we recommend you try our methods and see what you think.