Monday, December 15, 2014

Playboy Bunnies Dead in Red River Gorge

It was a big weekend.  First I hiked out to Pinch Em Tight Gap from Tunnel Ridge Road to try and get some trailrunning selfies.  Yes, I am that vain.  This post is about me.

I remembered the unofficial trail to Pinch Em Tight off of Rough Trail being casual and easy.  Since I was last out there eons ago there's been at least one big wildfire.  The trail is overgrown with thick pines and there are tons of deadfall from large trees killed by the fire.  It's a steeplechase for sure.

I wanted to get some photos at the top of the gap of Revenuers Rock on the north side and of Chimney Top Rock across the valley.  Once I'd gotten my panorama photos I made my way over to Hanson's Point.  I played around with running selfies. 

Looking across Pinch Em Tight Gap at Revenuers Rock, Chimney Top Rock is in the distance to the right

Running at Hanson's Point

Running at the bigger Ledford Arch

To be honest my intent was more of a test for when I can get someone more photogenic out there in better foliage.  I made a side trip to Ledford Arches and discovered the fire had reached that ridge as well.  At the end of yet another bushwhack I grabbed a few photos there as well before heading back.

All along the way I lived with one foot in memory and one foot in the present.  I longed for enough time to cross Pinch Em Tight and scramble up on the incredible monolith of Revenuers Rock.  But I also remembered the exploratory hikes from twenty years ago out there, the ascent of Duke's Day, and the one time Scratchy-dog somehow climbed up the end of Hanson's Point after getting lost on a hike.

Saturday night was a big shindig at Sky Bridge Station.  A good friend--and actually the best man at our wedding--Jason Tyler Burton (we call him JB; see the previous post) and cellist Ben Sollee performed a benefit concert for the Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition.

Jason Tyler Burton (JB) performing at Sky Bridge Station

Ben Sollee sawing on the strings

More mellow

Lily meeting old friends

We were tripping through nostalgia.  So many friends and acquaintances showed up.  Hugs and handshakes were followed with deep reminiscing.  JB and Jeff, Kris and others shared the night.  I talked Xtracycles with Ben before the show started. 

JB and Ben played together years ago at Live Wire in Richmond.  We first saw JB play there too.  I've followed both of their musical careers.  It was great to get to see both of them play and it was incredible when they played together. 

What a great night!

It started out with "Hey Ben, wanna play a song?"  The night climaxed with a stellar cover of When the Doves Cry. Along the way Jason played Paper Angels and Hillbilly Hayduke.  Ben played Bury Me With My Car amongst others.  Together they played a mind boggling rendition of JB's A Finer Line.

Ben and JB playing to a packed house

It was great to pick right back up with old friends and enjoy good music.  I won a new #1 Black Diamond Camalot in the raffle.  It's a sign that I DO need to start climbing again.

Mandy and I also got out on the second section of the Rugged Red course for a hike/run and to better familiarize her with the course.  I am pretty sure that by September I’m going to be really freakin’ sick of the Rugged Red course.  But I don’t mind :)

I hadn’t been on the latter part of the course since race day and the memories flooded back.  Of course we talked race for next year so we were analyzing and conceptualizing all along the way.  It was one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on.  I do that kind of thing in my mind all the time when I’m out solo.  I typically even imagine that there’s someone else with me to bounce ideas off of.  To actually have another live mind to work through the issues of putting a few hundred racers on that trail really got my synapses humming.

Indian Arch

Work along the Sheltowee Trace

We closed the loop from Bison Way back to the car at the suspension bridge by walking/running along KY 715.  We were almost in sight of the car and there was a group of attractive young people loitering in the middle of the road.  While we were still a couple dozen yards away one of them distinctly said: “Maybe they know.”
They seemed out of place.  The young ladies (ahem) looked ready to go out dancing while the guys appeared to be ready to shoot a catalog spread for high fallutin’ hiking duds.  One of the four girls (they were all young) was kneeling beside a small daypack trying to shove an aluminum cook kit into it, while another tried to untangle a wad of thin white nylon cord.  One of the guys sat halfway up the uber steep bank over the road and another guy stood pointlessly and protectively near the girls with music blaring from his phone.
As we got closer they seemingly ignored us while continuing to almost completely block the road.  We were going to have to split their group or walk off the edge of the road.  When we were only a few paces away they finally spoke.
“Can you turn that down?” one of the smoky-eyed vixens asked the Protector.  Technically he did.
“Do you guys know where the trail is for Cloudsplitter?” they asked in unison.
Mandy and I answered in contradiction.  She later claimed it was because they were pretty, but I countered that it’s a kneejerk reaction for me to provide helpful information about the Gorge area to people in distress.  Too late I caught her cues to be vague, but by then I’d already revealed that I knew exactly where they needed to head to get to Cloudsplitter.
As we walked away shaking our heads in disbelief they regrouped to head off for a summit bid on Cloudsplitter.  Despite fairly accurate directions I seriously doubt they made it onto Cloudsplitter.  Maybe I would be surprised.
Anyway, it was a busy weekend.  Sunday night we lay in bed with Radar groaning between us every time we moved and watched The Wolf of Wall Street.  Let me warn you now, it’s not appropriate for puppies.  According to Wikipedia the movie used the “F” word 569 times.  We both agreed there seemed to be a wandering decimal in that equation.  And how in the world that movie wasn’t rated NC-17 is beyond me.  We were so tired we didn’t even have the energy to turn it off.

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