Saturday, July 10, 2004

Mother Natures Fury on Natural Bridge

Right before my computer was zapped, I had embarked upon a series that I call the "Ghosts of Summers Past."  Always lots of fun going through my box(es) of photographs and my Moms.  Photos are such a great way of waking up memories.

This photo will cause me to remember a day several weekends ago when Joe and I and his nine year old daughter ventured to the Red River Gorge area of Eastern Kentucky, in the Appalachian Mountains, to have a picnic in Natural Bridge State Park.

The day was picture taking beautiful.  Not too hot, but brilliant sunshine.  The Red River Gorge area has been a favorite of central Kentucky natives.  It is about 45 minutes max from Lexington and has the most spectacular sandstone arches imaginable.  "The" Natural Bridge is about 80 feet high and 65 feet across.  The hiking trails are suited for beginners and the wondrous views are worth the exertion of climbing to the top!

In spite of this we took the Sky Lift up to the summit.  Once on top, we ventured off on a trail to the right and ended up hiking about a mile!  We came upon Devils Gulch!  A slimy descent.  The sandstone rock steps were squashed on both sides by cool, wet, moss covered rock walls.  Once down, you worked your way back up.  It was a humid climb back.   We arrived at the plateau and encountered a family happily taking pictures.  "Can you point me in the right direction for the Arch?" I asked.  The guy looked at me quizzically and pointed up!  My gosh!  We were standing under it!   

Once on top we admired the view and walked across the arch where I silently thanked God it was about 20 feet wide and I would not have to get anywhere close to the edge!  Looking out over the beautiful kaleidoscope of the valley of mountain tops......coming in fast from the West, was an ominous wall of black clouds!  Complete with lightning.   We rushed to the Sky Lift only to be turned away. "There is a structure on the East side of the bridge.  The storm is about 10 minutes out. Lightning is bad."  

 Ha!  The rain drops began to pelt us as we raced back across the arch (Thank you God!) alerted the nice family, from under the arch, who joined us in our sprint to the shelter.  

Then it hit with fury!  It was magnificent in its scary, thrilling intensity.  The sky turned black and the lightning cracked all around us, the rain came down with such force that it ricocheted from the ground.   Then they began to come.....all the hikers from the numerous trails close to the Bridge.  Running, laughing, soaked to the bone.  They came in droves!  One group of about 30 hikers, all young teenager, who took a head count and the most courageous of them all went back to rescue the lost....who ended up to be two very cute girls.  

We all stood packed together, our clothes steaming.  Every so often someone else would emerge from the woods, run frantically to the shelter,  jumping over the rails to escape the machine-gun rain!  75 soaked souls sharing together this dramatic moment, this sensational Sunday afternoon.  Odd in a wonderful way, we were all laughing together. When a crack of lightning would hit, collectively we would all shout "WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" , "AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" as if we were attending a Fire Works show.  

The storm lasted about 15 minutes, then just as quickly as it came, it cleared up.  Tentatively we poked out heads out. Slowly we headed across the Bridge to descent from the mountain, the arch and the fury of nature.  

This was the best experience I have ever had at the Bridge!    

15 comments:

judithheartsong said...

I am so glad that your wonderful journal is getting the recognition it deserves, I was just telling Virginia about your wonderful photographs last night. Enjoy this week!!!!! hugs, judi

mlraminiak said...

I'm sorry...that storm would have scared the livin' **** out of me.  I HATE lightning!  But it sounds like an absolutely beautiful park.  Some day, when we get to the south, I'll have to make sure we go there.  Lisa  :-]

mgraves6033 said...

Really nice Journal. You sure you want to retire to Florida? We have those kind of storms every afternoon.

a2002v2002 said...

Congrats for # 1 spot this week! Enjoy the sweet moments, as you continue doing what you love to do, keeping a wonderful Journal;) Ann

knoxhugh said...

time for the lsd entry!

jillsislam1 said...

nice journal,visit mine sometime and leave comments:

marigolds2 said...

WOW.  amazing story.  
i have just dropped by to say congratulations on being numero uno editor's pick.  you so very much deserve it.  i'm happy as can be that you're going to stick around.   i'm back from my trip to TX, and back in J-land.  i'll be trying to catch up on entries made while i was gone - but, it seems like an impossible task!

sekirley said...

Nothing like a good storm to get the blood flowing.  When I used to live in Illinois, we had some good ones, but here in Hawaii (where I live now) we rarly have a bad storm.  Congrats on making the #1 editors pick.  I hope you have time to stop by my journal sometime.--Scott

http://journals.aol.com/sekirley/LifeSaver

krobbie67 said...

Mary, you have such a wonderful way with words. Very descriptive. I know someone mentioned it during your Ireland entries, but I'll say it again. You should be a travel writer. I felt like I was there with you waiting out the storm.
:-) ---Robbie

mrccgoody said...

Sounds like such a great time!  There's always something so special when you experience extraordinary things with a group of people, and now these 75 strangers somewhere in the world has this same memory!

I've been to Natural Bridge, it is beautiful.  A little scary, too...

marspower41 said...

hey!!! sounds awesome!!! sounds like fun too!!!

hotfootz said...

Hello,Kentucky,Girl                  
I, read your entry in my journal,I did not mean,to hit you with a strke of lightning.Well guess what,I am from deep in the montains of W.V.and its nice to hear from a down home girl,with so much humor and not afraid to walk on the wild side. laughter and love can take you along way.I am in M.N. now,getting it together again due to the loss of my son.Southern women are strong women,so be as crazy as you want to. Sweetpeawv

somenuttychic said...

What a day! It sounds like you had a blast and now you have a photo to remember it by, too. Thanks for sharing that memory.  

deabvt said...

I really enjoy your writing.
V

bttywbetty7 said...

YOU ARE A GREAT STORY TELLER YOU CAUGHT MY ATTENTION RIGHT FROM THE
BEGINING, WHOA. I MUST SAY I WOULD HAVE BEEN SCARED TO DEATH EVEN
WHEN THERE'S A SIMPLE THUNDER STORM HERE I GO PUTTING DOWN WINDOWS
AND CLOSING DOOR'S THIS WAS HOW GREAT-GRANDMA TAUGHT US SLIENCE
WAS THE ANSWER; YOU GUYS AND GALS ARE GREAT.                                      

QUESTION: WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?