Skip to main content

Fern Bridge

Gray's Arch in the Red River Gorge and is a sandstone arch
     The Swift Legend is popular over several states and in Eastern Kentucky from border to border.  My personal experience, as noted in previous entries, is in and around the Red River Gorge area.  Others refer to the legend in other notable areas of the state. And of course, other sites that are encouraging are found in East Tennessee, Virgina and North Carolina to mention a few.  The Swift Legend has also been linked to the Carter County area of Kentucky. This is a good spot because of so many caves and great rock formations. One of my favorites is the Fern Bridge located right on Carter Caves State Resort Park.
The Rock House is formed in Limestone
     What makes the Fern Bridge so outstanding is that it is formed out of two distinctly rock types.  You see there basically are two kinds of natural bridges or arches found in Kentucky.  First, and the most notable, are the sandstone/conglomerate arches.  Natural Bridge, Sky Bridge and this one, Gray's Arch, all are formed from the weathering away of individual sand grain sized pieces of quartz.  After tens of thousands of years of weathering by wind, water and freezing, the arches are carved out by nature.  Now there are sandstone arches by the thousands in the Red River Gorge.  Another popular spot for these arches is in McCreary County in Southern Kentucky.  The Natural Arch, Koger Arch and the Buffalo Arch are famous in that part of the state.
Fern Arch is formed in both sandstone (upper part) and limestone
     The second type of arch is formed in limestone.  The process of formation is altogether different than the sandstone arches.  This type is formed the same way caves are formed by the slow dissolving of the rock by carbonic acid in the water running over and around the rocks.  There are some in the Red River Gorge, and massive ones on Carter Caves State Park.  And there are even isolated ones around the state such as the famous Rock House in Russel County.
The contact between sandstone  (upper half of photo) and limestone
     But what I like about the Fern Bridge at Carter Caves, aside it being the fifth longest natural arch spa n in the east of the Rock Mountains, is that it is formed  in BOTH sandstone and limestone.  If you look closely at the picture you can actually see the different rocks and the contact point.  So both arch forming processes had to have occurred at this site in order for this big guy to exist.  This is the only arch I am aware of that is formed both in sandstone and limestone.  There may be another, but I have not seen it yet.
     Now what does this all have to do with the Swift treasure? Well, there are just a lot of odd and strange things out there all across the state. I've noted earlier some other strange geological oddities and here we have another.  Could it be so strange that there is a yet to be discovered treasure hidden, just off the path, somewhere in the hills?
    Finally, if you like to read about unusual stuff in our great state, Unusual Kentucky is a great site!  Check it out.


Popular posts from this blog

Broke Leg Falls

For sure one old landmark in eastern Menifee County Kentucky is Broke Leg Falls. The Falls has been a tourist stop along US Hwy 460 since the 1940's and before. It was a place for picnics and adventures into the rough rocky terrain the likes of the Red River Gorge. It's location on once a major highway along with the pristine beauty of the box canyon that the stream formed no doubt contributed to the popularity of the Falls.
    The Falls is about 80 feet in height but much of the year has a small water flow. But over eons of time the Falls and stream have carved out a magnificent canyon retreating nearly to the crest of the ridge.
    Located in Menifee County Kentucky, Broke Leg Falls has been a popular tourist spot for travelers of the US Highway which is located only a few yards from the falls. A popular landmark since the 1940's, the Falls was privately owned. Visitors could pay a dime and get to hike the short distance down into the box canyon to view the Falls…

The High Rock Petroglyph

What do you think the strange symbols carved on this sandstone boulder represent? The High Rock Carving is certainly one of the most mysterious antiquity found in the Red River Gorge country.  We did a previous post  about this strange rock in August, 2012. Discovered underneath a small rock shelter near the High Rock fire tower, the carvings were discovered on one loose boulder in the shelter. In the late 70's the boulder was removed from the rock shelter by the Red River Museum and Historical Society placed at the museum in Clay City, Kentucky. It was felt that vandals and artifact collectors would soon end up destroying the unusual carved stone. In fact some of the surface appears to have been chipped away, perhaps portions already removed by vandals.    The carvings have many varied, curved shapes including concentric circles and shapes that may represent animals. Additionally, there are numerous holes and other features. Some of the rock has been lost likely by the weathering …

Swift Interview

It was a very interesting day April, 26. A production crew from KET (Kentucky Educational Television) taped a segment of yours truly discussing the background and lore around the famous legend of John Swift and his mysterious silver mines and treasure. I met up with the crew at Sky Bridge in the Red River Gorge and after a short hike down beneath the rock arch they video taped me discussing what I have come to know about the search and treasure.
    Basically, the short segment will focus more on the legends background and how long the story has been around rather than giving clues on searching for the supposedly hidden treasure. I hope that viewers will take away the importance of the history of the legend and not the debate whether silver and the mines ever existed. As I note in the interview, the beauty of the whole legend is just how long the search has been going on and how the legend originated at least as early as the first famous pioneers entered the wilderness that was to…