The sunset from Spruce Knob, West Virginia.

A Day Trip to Spruce Knob in West Virginia

It has been several years now since I've first laid eyes on the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Ever since that first trip to Dolly Sods I have been in love with the area's scenery.

Here lately I've been getting a serious itch to head back out that way again, so I loaded up a cooler and threw my camera in my Jeep to make the 6-hour drive to the national forest. Here's a quick recap of the trip!

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The sunset from Auxier Ridge, Red River Gorge, Kentucky.

A Few Recent Images from Auxier Ridge in the Red River Gorge

Over the past few months I have spent a fair bit of time out on Auxier Ridge in the Red River Gorge portion of Kentucky's Daniel Boone National Forest. Despite the area featuring some of the best views in the entire Bluegrass, I rarely spend this much time out there during the warmer months since it's quite the popular area. This year, however, has been an exception.

Over the course of these quick trips out onto the ridge I've captured a few new images. Let's take a look!

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Resolution Falls, Red River Gorge, Kentucky.

Discovering Two New Waterfalls in The Red River Gorge

I've been meaning to write about this trip I took on New Years Day for awhile now. Nearly three months into the year isn't too late, is it?

Anyway, I got 2019 started off right by going to check out two spots in Kentucky's Red River Gorge that looked curious on LiDAR. In fact, they looked an awful lot like waterfalls!

The result was two newly documented waterfalls. It doesn't appear that anyone has been to them in quite some time, so it's likely that we are the first people to photograph them (at least with a digital camera)!

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Scouting Off-Trail Waterfalls in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

If you haven't noticed yet, I have a minor obsession with visiting and photographing waterfalls. To be honest, it could probably be classified as a sickness at this point! As such, I recently went to scout out some of the off-trail waterfalls in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park.

What follows is an overview of that trip and a log of my experiences.

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A Foggy Sunrise on Mt. Leconte.

In Search of A Smoky Mountains Sunrise on Mt. Leconte

During my last trip to The Great Smoky Mountains, I decided that I wanted to night hike up Mt. Leconte to Myrtle Point to attempt to photograph the sunrise. This is a trip I've been trying to do for several months, but the weather has never been particularly cooperative! 

I obsessively checked the weather and determined that my best window of opportunity would be Sunday morning. So, it was set. I'd wake up at 2 a.m. on Sunday, drive to the Alum Cave Trailhead, and hike up Mt. Leconte in the dark.

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One of the many waterfalls along the trail.

My Impromptu Trip to the Great Smoky Mountains

It has been a few weeks now since my last trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, but I'd like to take a moment to share the trip with you. 

If you've followed my adventures for any length of time it shouldn't come as any surprise that this trip was extremely spur of the moment! I didn't do what I had originally planned in The Smokies, but I did stop off to visit a Kentucky waterfall with some friends and had a great time just wandering around the mountains with my camera. 

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Daylight West Arch - Daniel Boone National Forest

This past Friday I drove down to Laurel County, Kentucky, to explore part of the Daniel Boone National Forest with my buddy @MCochis. The primary goal of this trip was to check out a spot that Mike had identified as being a possible waterfall. Spoiler alert, we did indeed find the waterfall. I'll have images of said waterfall to share later.
Before venturing off to find this possible waterfall we hit up a few arches. Amongst these were the Daylight Arches. This set of twin arches are quite a sight to behold!

When I saw just how close these arches were to the Forest Service road, I expected them to be absolutely trashed. That is, after all, just the sad reality of this stuff being easy to get to. To my delight, however, they were in pretty good shape. The trash and graffiti, while present, was not nearly as bad as I had expected.

Many of the other arches I've been to that are close to the road end up with nearly every square inch covered in graffiti and trash mounds abound. Luckily, these seem to be a pretty good shape. Pictured here is the Daylight West Arch.

Copperas Falls Frozen.

Hiking to a Completely Frozen Copperas Falls in Red River Gorge

We've been in the midst of a deep freeze here in the Bluegrass state, and that has meant that the waterfalls across Kentucky have been freezing. Copperas Falls in the Red River Gorge portion of the Daniel Boone National Forest was certainly no exception! For weeks I had been seeing hints online that the falls off Copperas Creek had frozen to the point of being a solid pillar of ice. Some were even suggesting that it's the most the falls have frozen in several years. This was just too good of an opportunity to pass up! I messaged @Brian2774 on Instagram and we made plans to head out to the falls shortly after daybreak on Saturday morning.

This was sure to be an epic trip!

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McCammon Falls Frozen

A Frozen McCammon Falls - Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky

The temperatures have been downright cold here lately in Kentucky! To most people, this would mean that it's time to stay inside under a blanket drinking a hot cup of coffee. Not for me, however! I decided to venture out and see some of the many waterfalls The Bluegrass has to offer.
Throughout the day I hit up several waterfalls. Before heading home I decided to stop and check out McCammon Falls. Much to my delight, the falls had a decent amount of ice on them and I was able to capture this image that I'm moderately happy with.

Although it may not be a portfolio worthy shot, I'm still happy with it, which is a good thing considering what I went through to get it! The process of getting to the base of these falls requires climbing down into a fairly steep gorge. The climb down went fine, but on the way out I managed to slip and bang my knee up pretty good. Nothing all that serious, but enough for it to be sore the next day!

Two Weekends on Ravens Rock

Two Weekends on Ravens Rock in Red River Gorge

My two previous weekends have been spent on top of an amazing rock formation located in Kentucky's Red River Gorge; Ravens Rock. This large rock formation can be seen throughout The Gorge (especially from Auxier Ridge), but people seldom go up there and take advantage of its breathtaking views. This means that Ravens Rock is a great place to find some solitude! I visited Ravens on two separate trips, a quick trip to photograph the sunset, and an overnight where I photographed the sunset, milky way, and the sunrise.

I should also mention that if you're interested in doing a trip like this yourself, you can check out my free trail guide to hiking Raven's Rock

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My First Attempts at Astrophotography

My plans for this past weekend originally included heading out to the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia for a backpacking trip. Unfortunately, however, events unfolded that led me to cancel this trip. Such is life.
The upside was that I had three days with absolutely nothing planned. Rather than sit around and lament the fact that I couldn't go on my backpacking trip, I decided to throw my camera gear in the car and head down south to The Gorge. This wouldn't be my typical photo session though. This time the goal was to shoot for the stars... literally!

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Mt. Cammerer Revisited

Mt. Cammerer Revisted

I spent a week on a road trip to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park with my mom. The trip was meant to be a really chill trip and, for the most part, it was. The problem was that I was getting rather stir crazy from not doing any hikes, even though I was surrounded by mountains just begging to be climbed! On the last day of the trip, Friday, I decided to break away for a few hours to go revisit Mt. Cammerer.

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Swift Camp Creek Solo Overnight

A Solo Overnight Along Swift Camp Creek and My Thoughts on Hammock Camping

Over the past few months, I have been acquiring some new gear. I've been quite anxious to get out into the woods to try it all out. Most of all, I've been wanting to try out my hammock setup. I finally got a chance to get out for a quick, solo overnight. I decided to head on down to one of my favorite spots: Red River Gorge. Based on a suggestion from the guy that runs the HikingRRG Instagram account (And, of course, the HikingRRG Guide Service), I headed on down to the Swift Camp Creek, located in the Clifty Wilderness.

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