Tar Kiln Ridge to Above Military Wall

Tar Kiln Ridge to Above Military Wall

I’ve been wanting to do this hike for some time, and today was the day. It was BRUTALLY AWESOME! 90-degree heat, sun-soaked ridgeline, badly overgrown trail, tons of deadfall, maximum skin destruction, scrambling, crawling on all fours…yup, it was GREAT!!! And that view at the end? Hard won and worth all the challenges.

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Tarr Ridge to First Overlook

Tarr Ridge to First Overlook

Starting from the trailhead at the northern entrance to Red River Gorge Geological Area on Tarr Ridge Road (KY-77), this short hike provides an awesome view of the gorge along with a grand variety of fungus along the trail. With plenty of backcountry campsites along the way and additional viewpoints further out, this is a great place to explore.

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Sheltowee Trace Day 4 - Stony Cove Picnic Area to Clear Creek Campground and EXIT

Sheltowee Trace Day 4 - Stony Cove Picnic Area to Clear Creek Campground and EXIT

Horses destroy trails - especially if it’s been rainy, and it’s been very rainy in Kentucky this year. This section of trail is an unmitigated disaster with miles and miles of hoof-pocked mud pits that are very nearly impassable for hikers. It was the worst hiking I have experienced and led to us ending our backpacking trip 35 miles early. I suggest hiking this section in the spring BEFORE horse season begins on the trails.

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Sheltowee Trace Day 4 - Amburgy Rocks to Stony Cove Picnic Area

Sheltowee Trace Day 4 - Amburgy Rocks to Stony Cove Picnic Area

This was a fantastic walk in the woods with a gentle descent to Cave Run Lake. The views from the dam are the best of the first nine sections (46-ish miles) of the Sheltowee Trace. We stopped in at the visitor’s center to restock water and enjoyed lunch at Stony Creek Picnic Area. Bork had a nice, cooling swim as well.

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Sheltowee Trace Day 3 - Morehead to Amburgy Rocks

Sheltowee Trace Day 3 - Morehead to Amburgy Rocks

This section of the hike took us through downtown Morehead where we resupplied at a gas station and IGA. After town, it’s a good stretch of road before heading back into the forest where we made camp at Amburgy Rocks. The campsite alone was worth the hike - sitting atop a rock outcropping enjoying the breeze…and a thunderstorm as it turned out.

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Sheltowee Trace Day 3 - Forest Road 977 to Morehead

Sheltowee Trace Day 3 - Forest Road 977 to Morehead

This section follows the ridgeline and eventually descends into downtown Morehead where you can grab a hot meal, ice cold Coke, and resupply with whatever you need. The hiking is relatively easy with a lot of gravel road for the first portion and mostly gentle rollers along the ridgeline. If in town and hungry, Gatti’s Pizza buffet is highly recommended:-)

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Sheltowee Trace Day 2 - First Campsite to Forest Service Road 977

Sheltowee Trace Day 2 - First Campsite to Forest Service Road 977

With a full day at our disposal, we planned to make something around 15 miles for the day that would take us into Section 4 of the Sheltowee Trace. This is a quiet, solitary hike through the forest where we encountered exactly one other human on the trail. As a bonus, this hike provides an AMAZING lunch spot at Dry Branch where you’ll find privately owned Clark Park.

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Sheltowee Trace Day 1 - Northern Terminus to Ridgeline Campsite

Sheltowee Trace Day 1 - Northern Terminus to Ridgeline Campsite

Bork and I started our backpacking trip at the Northern Terminus of the Sheltowee Trace, Kentucky’s longest trail. To get there, we dropped Bork’s car at Archaic in Red River Gorge and had Rat shuttle us up to the trailhead. The goal for the day was to make camp on the ridgeline at the first available site - right at a mile up the trail.

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Hanson's Point to Gray's Arch Loop (2)

Hanson's Point to Gray's Arch Loop (2)

After having such a great time with the kids on this hike in April, the wife wanted to see what all the fuss was about. This really is one of the best hikes available at Red River Gorge. It’s 7 miles that offers a highlight reel of what the Gorge is all about - walking through hardwoods, panoramic vistas, super cool geology, and of course, a big ass arch (Gray’s Arch).

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Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge - Pine Beach and Centennial Trails

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge - Pine Beach and Centennial Trails

This is the best hike for solitude at Bon Secour NWR. Thanks to the boardwalk closure that formerly connected the eastern and western trail systems, this hike provides peace and quiet with many skipping this hike for the better views and varied terrain offered on the west side of the refuge.

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Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge - East

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge - East

With the Centennial Trail closed, the eastern portion is basically the Jeff Friend Trail which is a mile-long loop covering gravel, dirt, and synthetic boardwalk trails. It's a nice, short loop that includes some Maritime forest, an open view of the lagoon, and plenty of saw palmetto. It's an ideal trail for flat, easy running.

 

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Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge - West

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge - West

If visiting the Gulf Shores area, this is a must-do hike that includes pristine dunes and beaches - free from all the commercial development in the area. It’s a beautiful nature hike that is likely best with a sunset behind the dunes.

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King's Chair at Oak Mountain State Park

King's Chair at Oak Mountain State Park

This was a really nice way to breakup our long drive down to Gulf Shores, Alabama. After stopping in Pelham for the night, we opted outside in the morning to stretch the legs and take in an awesome view from King's Chair in Oak Mountain State Park. It's a short hike with what's likely one of the best views in the Birmingham area.

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Big Bone Lick - Topo Summer Trail Series

Big Bone Lick - Topo Summer Trail Series

This is a great local race with exactly zero frills, hand timing, and about as laid back an atmosphere as you’ll ever find. Coming off a new distance PR last week at Hawthorn Half Day Relay and Ultra, I added this race to round out my recovery week, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

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2019 Hawthorn Half Day - All Sun and Games

2019 Hawthorn Half Day - All Sun and Games

It was all sun and games at Hawthorn Half Day Relay and Ultra! Seriously, it was the hottest day of the year thus far with temps topping out at 87 degrees with plenty of wetland provided humidity and exactly zero clouds until about an hour before the finish. It made for a tough day for everyone, as training for heat isn’t easy when temps jump like that. Such is the nature of Spring races, right?

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