NATURAL BRIDGE STATE RESORT PARK (KY)

Natural Bridge State Resort Park has many similarities to the other State Resort Park we just left. First off there is nothing resort like about the campgrounds. They are named resort parks because each of them has a lodge, complete with a restaurant, cottage and cabin rentals within the park. They are in beautiful settings, but the state personnel don't seem to be able to maintain them very well. For some items it may just be a lack of funding, but it doesn't cost much to keep the place clean and pick up trash.

Some states use a camp host program to maintain the bathrooms and groom the campsites. From what we've seen that works well for both the State and the camp host, who usually receives a free campsite for a modest amount of work.

At both of our Kentucky State Parks the campsites were poorly maintained. There was a large chunk of the wooden picnic table top missing from our first campsite and here the fire pit area was full of trash along with the rest of our site. There were tags on almost every campsite post here when we pulled in, yet the place was nearly empty on a Monday afternoon. I thought maybe the place was busy over the weekend and they hadn't removed the tags yet, but upon further review I noticed that at least half of them were nearly a week old.

One other thing that really should get some serious consideration is to improve the signage that leads to the campgrounds in both of these parks. They are both State Parks that are located within the Daniel Boone National Forest, that in itself is a little confusing. At the Cumberland Falls campground our reservation said it was called the Ridgeline Campground yet all the signage called it Campground B?

Here at Natural Bridge the campground is called the Middle Fork Campground, but all the signage is similar to all the private campground signs in the area. Why not put the state park signs on brown signs we are all familiar with when looking for State Park locations. While towing THE POD it's not like we can just make a U-turn anywhere we want if we miss a turnoff. We made two wrong turns before finding the campground. Now understand these parks are huge with many individual entrances off the highway, one for the lodge, one for the picnic areas, another for cabins and yes the campground is usually down a long road with blind turns in which you're not sure you are actually heading toward the campground until you are checking in at the entrance station!

But even with the shortcomings of both parks we're glad we visited them both. Otherwise we never would have seen Cumberland Falls or The Natural Bridge in Kentucky.



MONDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #2 - STOP #22

Today's travel was once again mostly on the Insterstate Highways and Mountain Parkways of Kentucky. With all the narrow rural roads through the mountains it's sometimes just easier to take the long way around using the major thoroughfares.

We arrived here just a little past noon and the first thing I saw when we found our campsite was this warning sign.

Warning
You bet I checked the 3-day weather forecast before we unhooked!

A river runs through it
Wouldn't you if this large creek was running through your back yard?

After THE POD was all set up we still had time to go get the laundry done, grocery shop, make a trip to Lowes and a quick stop at Hardee's for a couple of burgers on the way home. By the time we got back to the campsite it was nearly 8:00PM and the end of a long day.



TUESDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
0 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Today was a normal work day for Tricia. I was determined to check off at least one more item from my project-to-do list.

Of course I picked one of the easier ones to tackle and thanks to the hardware I picked up at Lowes yesterday I should have everything I need to complete it, if all goes well, which it usually doesn't.

For Christmas we purchased two wind chimes from Lowes Hardware to hang off the back awning of THE POD. They came with six silver aluminum tubes and a nice bronze butterfly medallion hanging down the middle, to catch the wind and knock the plastic discs against the tubes. They sound great, as long as the wind doesn't blow to hard. We have two different sizes, so they each have their own distinct sound. But I thought they would fit our decor just a little bit better with a slight alteration.

So I purchased two diecast Airstream toys online and with the help of a eye screw and a hole drilled into the bottom of each one, I was able to mount one on top of each wind chime.

Tricia thinks I'm nuts, but I really think they will be the envy of every Airstream owner we meet from now on.

What do you think about my CUSTOM AIRSTREAM wind chime idea?
• • • PLEASE BE KIND AND USE THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW • • •



WEDNESDAY

SIGHTSEEING DAY
5 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

This morning we got up, did a little work and then headed out around 10:30AM to go do what we came here for, go see the natural bridge. We drove just a couple miles up the road to where the Sky Lift entrance station is. We knew right where to go because this is one of the wrong turns we made back on Monday when we were looking for the campground.

For just $15 round trip ($10 one way) you get to ride a ski lift, they call it The Sky Lift, because there's no skiing around here, to the top of the mountain where the Natural Bridge is found. It takes 11 minutes to reach the top this way and forever if we were to have tried to hike up there on the trail.

Once up at the top you can go two different directions, to the right is a .3 mile trail that leads to an overlook which has a stunning view of The Natural Bridge from several hundred yards away. For those of you that are impatient and can't wait to see the bridge you can go to left and about .1 mile down the trail you'll be on top of the bridge.

The view from on top of the bridge doesn't seem worth the trip but if you are willing to hike another .1 mile down a trail it will take you below and then under the bridge. That's where the bridge really shows off it's splendor, of course you'll have to pass through a tight corridor of rock walls that are nicknamed Fat Man's Misery to get there.


Left picture - Fat Man's Misery entrance...and pictured on the right - Fat Man's Misery exit


The payoff for subjecting yourself to Fat Man's Misery twice
(once on the way in and once on the way out)
is this view. Wow, just WOW!



MORE PICTRUES FROM NATURAL BRIDGE



Our view on the ride up on The Sky Lift to Natural Bridge
Once safely on top we looked back down to the parking lot we just left
.3 mile down the Laurel Ridge Trail is an overlook to see the Natural Bridge
A closer look from the same place
A look across to Lookout Point from on top of the bridge
This is what Natural Bridge looks like from on top of it...
and this is what it looks like from down below it.
Here you can see just how narrow the width of the Natural Bridge really is!

HOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF THIS SLIDESHOW

Option 1 - Do nothing and cycle through the photos at the predetermined speed.

Option 2 - Hover over any photo with the cursor and use the forward and reverse arrows that appear on the left and right centers to speed through the photos. Photos will still change at the predetermined speed if you wait too long. Keep your eye on the clock in the upper right hand corner.

Option 3 - Hover over any photo with the cursor and click on the pause button. You now have full control to go forward or reverse at your own speed. You can also select any of the little round buttons under the photo to navigate through the photos.

WANT TO SEE THE PHOTOS AT A LARGER SIZE?

1st - Click near the center of any photo and it will open to a larger size than what appears in the slideshow.
2nd - Click on it again and it will open to it's original full resolution size.
3rd - You will have to use your browsers back button to return to the slideshow after viewing the photo.


After our exploration of The Natural Bridge we cruised through the gift shop to pick up some Licorice Candies for Tricia and 1/4 pound of some locally made Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge for me, we'll try to save both of these for after lunch.

We also purchased something I have been seeing ever since we arrived in Eastern Kentucky, a couple of bottles of Ale-8-One soft drink. It is locally made and bottled here in Eastern Kentucky and was described as a stronger flavored ginger ale with a twist of citrus. We purchased one Original flavor from 1926 and their newest Cherry flavored just released in 2018. We really enjoyed it, but we would have enjoyed anything cold after hiking around the Natural Bridge.

Also before heading back to THE POD we went out to lunch at a local pizza place just outside of the park. Miguel's Pizza also caters to the local rock climbers by offering a climbers only tent camping area. We got to watch a couple of guys practicing, or maybe showing off, their balance skills by walking across 30 feet of 4 inch wide webbing that was stretched between two trees about two feet off the ground.


• • • CAMPSITE UPDATE • • •


At the beginning of this post there is a photo of what our campsite fire pit looked like when we first arrived (after I cleaned it all out) in the lower left hand corner. After we got back from our morning outing today this is what we found where our clean fire pit once was. A brand new ground grill in the exact same location, of course we are leaving in the morning and won't get a chance to use it, oh well at least it's a step in the right direction here!

Brand new fire grill
Someone else will get the pleasure of using it first!



• • • 100 MILE • • •
HIKING CHALLENGE

13 MILES
UNDER OUR BOOTS

With another mile of hiking here at
Natural Bridge
our annual total is now up to 13 miles.



Who will be the first to correctly guess our next location?
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2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Well thank you for the thumbs up! Look for them on Amazon starting next week. Just kidding!

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