This morning I am writing you from our rental cabin in Stanton, Kentucky. You can hear the quite patter of rain on the rooftop over the gurgle of the coffee machine behind me. I am always the first awake, and I like it that way. Only one light is on, and beyond the rain and the coffee machine there is a sense of stillness all around our cabin.
The Red River Gorge sits just southwest of Lexington, and is surrounded by dense forests that are rainbow with fall foliage this week. This is only my second time here, but it's revered as one of the best places in the country for climbing and frequented by many climbers from around the world. The sandstone walls of the gorge are tall, and after decades of erosion they are covered in thousands of holes and pockets. It's as if they want to be climbed.
This area of Kentucky is so different from my own home. For one, it’s wet. Even when it’s “dry,” things are humid. The forests are thick, mossy walls of deciduous trees, which are painted all colors of fall right now. (I find myself uncontrollably taking photos of this rainbow forest).
This last week was a learning experience of a new kind: I didn’t train for this trip as much as I would’ve liked to, so rather than setting my expectations high, I focused on the simple pleasure of being on vacation, unplugged and amongst the trees. When your goal is simply vacation, life feels pretty luxurious.
By day four I was starting to get used to climbing on a rope and was able to get into a groove (at home, I tend to boulder, so my head wasn’t prepared for sport climbing like it should have been). Now that we’re heading home, my motivation is renewed and I’m psyched to get training on both ropes and boulders again! There is no replacement for a weeklong adventure for getting your spirits high and your workout routine rejuvenated, whether that means going with a group of friends on a bike tour, paddling down a river, or backpacking!