Red River Gorge, KY - Valentine's Day Camping Trip

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Our Valentine’s day morning started out a bit earlier than most days. I woke up before the sun, and brewed us a french press full of coffee. Knowing I had a long day ahead of me, I savored my coffee and took in the fresh morning air. Since we packed up all of our camping gear the night before I was able to start my morning this way. Even though the weather forecast called for rain that evening in Kentucky, we still planned on sticking it out throughout the night. It’s not like we haven’t dealt with a little rain while camping before! After Levi finally got up, we loaded up the gear and pups into the car and we took off. The Red River Gorge is only 4 or so hours away from us but we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to hike to our camping spot, not knowing what lied ahead. After stoping at Starbucks, Cabela’s, and getting our overnight pass from the nearest gas station, we made it. We planned to hike to a lookout we have never been before, which is hard to find because we have been there so many times. Soon after turning onto the Daniel Boone National Forest road (Red River Gorge) we saw a bar across the road as well as a road closed sign. While planning this trip, we did not think of the fact that we just had a monsoon the week before! So, to keep the locals from tearing up the gravel/mud roads they closed all of the Daniel Boone National Forest roads that were not paved (which is most of them). At first, we were heartbroken. I honestly thought we drove that whole way just to drive back home. Luckily we know the Red River Gorge so well we just started driving, using our Red River Gorge map as well as our instincts, we decided to check out a trail we saw off of a paved National Forest road. At this point, I had come to the conclusion we weren’t going to be able to get to any of the trails that were long enough to backpack more than a mile to our campsite. 

After choosing this trail on a complete whim, we got our dinner out of the cooler, put it in our backpacks, and headed down the trail. Bandit was also wearing his backpack so he could carry their dinner and water, Maple had surgery a few months ago or she would be carrying her own food and water too! Hiking down this trail, I didn’t have a good feeling. I thought we were just going to hike until the trail disappeared because we were on top of a ridge, and it has happened to us before! The maps are not always up to date! But, instead we walked up on the most gorgeous campsite. To the right there were some small grassy hills and to the left was the most stunning cedar pine forest. Not to mention the fact that the fire place already had so much wood for our fire that night. I don’t always get that “HELL YES!” feeling when we walk up to our campsites, but I did that day. It was perfect. At that moment I couldn’t believe that people just go out to movies or dinner for Valentine’s Day. This was a million times better than the biggest bouquet out there (in my opinion lol)!!

While setting up camp, Levi and I have our own duties that we do as soon as we choose a location to camp. I prep and set up the tent, he collects firewood/starts a fire. And yes, he only cuts down the dead trees. One thing I noticed about this campsite was that there was more trash than I’ve ever seen at a Red River Gorge campsite before. We picked everything up and carried it out but PEOPLE!! PLEASE CARRY OUT YOUR TRASH!! I cannot say it enough times. If you can hike it out there why can’t you hike it out? I could keep ranting about that, but that’s not why you’re here….

The next morning, we slept in. We woke up at around 10am?? It felt so good to not have an alarm set! And, just like I start every other day, I made some coffee! The packet that is in the video is basically a teabag but for coffee! I actually stole this one from the last hotel rooms I stayed at (shhhhhhhh) but I’m pretty sure you can order something very similar online! After packing up camp and finishing our cups of coffee we were off. We got back to the car, dropped off our packs, and headed down the trail across the road. The map said it ran into a natural spring, so we wanted the pups to get a fresh sip of water! We didn’t pay attention to the elevation change though… It was pretty intense on the way back. The hike wasn’t very far but we definitely got in the little work out we missed out on by not going to the original camping location we had in mind! Once we got back to the car we were starving! So we headed to the Sky Bridge Station in Red River Gorge, but they didn’t open until 5pm! Usually they open at 11am and we always go there for lunch! So, sadly we had to go with our second choice CHICK FIL A!! I definitely was not too upset.. 

If you ever decide to go to the Red River Gorge in Daniel Boone National Forest, here are a few of my favorite hikes!

Grey’s Arch

Auxier Ridge

Chimney Top

Half moon