Friday, June 5, 2015

Sand Gap Trail to Natural Bridge

Wow!  It's a natural bridge!  Our last long hike (more than 10 miles!) was on Sand Gap trial that leads to the Natural Bridge at the Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Park.  The Natural Bridge is almost seventy feet high, but only twenty feet across.  I've heard that the bridge is over a million years old.  I feel safe walking under and on it, knowing it's been around so long and is still looking strong.  

The trail itself wasn't very hard to hike, and parts of the trail were lined with the dense evergreen leaves of the rhododendron, and the they were in full bloom.    Weren't we lucky to get to see all those blooms?

Some of it was so tall, it made a tunnel to walk through.  

Check out that giant red sand stone.  

Cool rocks, rock.  

This rock with twisting veins of minerals really brought home the reason they are called veins.  Look at that twisty one on the right.  I tried to ask Wikipedia how veins are formed, and was told "When the confining pressure is too great, or when brittle-ductile rheological conditions predominate, vein formation occurs via crack-seal mechanisms."  Huh?  My college geology course isn't helping me much, since all I can remember is how the graduate teaching assistant, who taught the lab for the first time, nearly had a nervous break down on the first day when she had to explain cleavage.  She was so nervous she started giggling before we even knew what she was trying to say, and by the time she got the word cleavage out of her mouth, she was the color of a tomato, tears were leaking from her eyes, and she was gasping for breath.  Who knew rocks splitting could be dirty talk?   

Azalea's are in the Rhododendron group, but not all rhododendrons are azaleas.  

Part of our trail was a short section of the Sheltowee Trace, which is almost three hundred miles long, and crosses the state of Kentucky and into Tennessee.  We day dream about hiking the whole thing some day.  I like the turtle blaze that marks the Sheltowee.  

Were did this blue balloon come from?  This is not the first time I've come across a stray balloon deep in the forest.  The last one was shaped like a red heart.  

We stood inside this solution cavity in the rock.  Did you ever watch Fraggle Rock?  I kept expecting Doozers to come walking out of the crevices with their little work boots on.  Television has warped my mind.  

Pretty orange mushrooms growing on an old log.  

Do you see the copper head snake?  I had a hard time finding him, even when I was told he was there.

There it is!  This one has a nice copper colored head, so you can really tell what it is.  He was about three feet off the trail, and was very well behaved, even though we stopped to look and point.  

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