Natural Bridge State Park has always been a special place for me. By the throngs of people walking the trails on this beautiful late autumn day, it looks like it is special for a lot of other folks, too.
Natural Bridge State Park is in Slade, KY, amidst the Red River Gorge in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Powell County. In the fall of the year it is almost awe-inspiring sitting on the bridge and looking out over the cliffs rising up from the fiery colored forest.
My wife and I had to sit on the bridge because we were exhausted from the half mile hike up the trail and I mean UP the trail. The trail seemed so much steeper since the last time I climbed up to the bridge ten years ago. The trail climbs up through a forest of pine, spruce, rhododendrons, and some hardwood trees. No matter how high you climb, you seem to have a sub-species view from the forest floor. I have been to this beautiful park all of my life and in each of the seasons. It never gets old for me.
I remember going up to the bridge as a small boy with my family. I remember one summer when my mom played the organ every Saturday night in the lodge dining room. My friends’ dad was the park manager at that time and we spent every Saturday running the trails. It was a great summer for a twelve or thirteen year old boy.
Later when my wife had all the mothering and wife-ing she could take for the time being and needed a break, she would gently urge the children and me to seek refuge elsewhere for the day, I would take the kids on the forty-five minute drive to Natural Bridge. They used up much of their stored energy hiking the trails to the bridge and afterward we would eat in the lodge dining room.
I took this shot from across the chasm on Battleship Rock. It was probably the last warm Sunday afternoon of fall. I was thinking of all the changes that I have been through in my life as I sat there with my wife looking back across the gorge at the bridge, and I noticed the bridge hasn’t aged a bit.
If you like this photo, there are more here.