Monday, October 31, 2011

The Cloud Splitter

The Cloud Splitter in the distance as seen from Chimney Rock
     Sometimes I get asked if the Indian Stairway and the Cloud splitter are the same cliff. They are not but they are located in the same general area of the gorge. Here is a link to a map which gives a good indication of the proximity of the two landmarks.
Chimney Rock in RR Gorge
     The two rocks do have a similar appearance but only the stairway has ancient carved steps. The cloud splitter, on the other hand, is a neat climb and offers grand views of the Red River country.The shot here was made from the lookout on top of the Chimney rock, perhaps next to Sky bridge, the most famous landmark in the Red River Gorge. The Indian stairway, shown below, is sloped enough to provide access from the ridge top and the valley below. To see a short (less than a minute) video clip of actually climbing down the stairway go here.
View of Indian Stairway

    These landmarks are located in the one of the most famous of the Swift legend areas. All types of clues from different variations of the Swift journal refer to various rock formations and landmarks. 
    Some archaeologist now speculate that the Indian steps were not made by prehistoric peoples at all but rather from historic nitre   mining operations. Nitre,once was mined from the rock houses that are located in abundance throughout the Gorge. The substance was an essential ingredient in making gun powder. The theory offered up by modern archaeologists proposes that the steps were carved for the the miners to carry off the loads of the precious material. The idea revolves around the relative rapid rate of weathering and erosion of the sandstone. That may well be the case but personally with the identified Adena shelter located just above the stairway, I cling to the prehistoric theory.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Press Release

    A press release is out to several weekly newspapers as well as a web press release through PRLog. Check it out here.

    If you like this blog be sure to tell others, share on Facebook and Twitter and above all follow. That is easy, just click the follow button and you'll be notified of each new posting.  Watch for tomorrows posting about "The Cloud Splitter!"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Facebook Swift Pages

     For those of your that arrive at this blog from my web site and have a keen interest in more detailed information about the Legend of John Swift's lost silver mines there is a Facebook group page. Check out Swift Silver Mines for some fantastic information and discussion by some modern day treasure hunters and experts. While you're at it check out my Swift page. I just started when the book came out  but I would appreciate stopping by and liking my page and leaving your comments if you like.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Goddard Covered Bridge

    At the last count Kentucky has only thirteen covered bridges left. At one time there were as many as 400 covered bridges located around the state. Many were destroyed during the civil war. With new roads for motor vehicles new bridges were required and the old wooden, truss covered bridges have quietly faded from memory.

    The few remaining covered bridges are now are preserved and maintained as important historic landmarks. Only a couple are still open for regular highway traffic. The Goddard-White covered bridge in Fleming County is still open and has been restored in recent years.
    A couple of interesting things about this bridge. First, it is the only one remaining bridge in this state with Town Lattice truss supports. Secondly, the bridge is situated so it perfectly frames the church when you drive across  the bridge.
     The Goddard-White covered bridge is located at Goddard, Kentucky just off state route 32 and is certainly worth checking out on your travels around the state. More information can be found here.       .

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Sorghum MakingTime

    Since I've posted so much about the arrival of the book I think I will devote this update to something different found around our beautiful state. Do you know the difference between sorghum and molasses? There is a difference. In Kentucky we make sorghum. Different counties around the state claim to produce only the best sorghum. There is even a Sorghum Festival in West Liberty each year.
     Not nearly as many farmers make sorghum these days. And no wonder, the process requires  special equipment and the skill of a good sorghum maker. My family always claimed that the very best sorghum can only come from Menifee County, Kentucky. Others claim Morgan County has the best. Some of the best we found  over in Casey County. Oberholtzer's is outstanding.  Each year during September and October as the sorghum "cane" plant reaches the peak of sweetness it is harvested and crushed to extract the sweet juice. The juice is then boiled to the right temperature to reduce the excess water, leaving the sticky, sweet product.
   At Oberholtzer's, wood fired boilers provide the constant heat to raise the juice to the proper temperature and cool down as the liquid flows through a series of troughs. Workers constantly "skim" away impurities and foam from the prize until this reduction process yields the precious sweet product.
    Just last week Edgar Williams was making his variety of sorghum just outside of Frenchburg, Ky. It seems that the seeds of a particularly good variety of the plant are kept each year. As a result, certain sorghum makers are known for their particular variety of the tasty product.

    This difference in sorghum and molasses is the type of plant they are made from. Molasses is made from the sugar cane plant while sorghum is made from the sorghum plant. Sugar cane does not grow as far north as Kentucky but the hearty sorghum plant does very well in this region. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Web Site

The book can be purchased at

It is also available at, Barnes and Noble and most bookstores.  But the fastest way to get your copy is by ordering directly from my website:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Interesting Things Along the Way

While preparing for the book I got to visit and revisit some great places along the way. Here are a few:

Nada tunnel, the unique entrance to the Red River Gorge country

The Red River Museum in Clay City, Ky

Amazing petroglyph rock  on display in Red River Museum
Sue, owner of  Sue's  Hot dogs in Stanton, Ky
There is no other hot dog in the world like Sue's
Rock Bridge crossing Swift Creek in Wolfe County, Ky
Many journals mention a bridge on a stream and turkey track carvings
The Swift legend is still marketable

Fitchburg Furnace in Estill Co, Ky
This is the largest iron furnace of this type in the country

The Purple Cow Restaurant in Beattyville, Ky

The Purple Cow is a small restaurant from the 1930's, nothing fancy but sure good home cooked food

Monument at Fort Harrod State Park honoring the westward expansion.  FDR was
on hand at the dedication of this massive granite monument

The giant Osage Orange Tree at Ft Harrod State Park is
one of the largest trees of this species in the world

Mantle Rock in Livingston County,  Ky, the longest natural arch in the Eastern US

The courthouse of Wolf County, Ky actually has a marker claiming to be the site of Swifts camp!
Clements Mineral Museum in Marion, Ky has the largest fluorite crystal collection in the world

    There are many more and I hope to share a little bit later. Some, of course, have already been covered as a previous topic. These are all great places to visit and I recommend all of them if you are looking for a day trip in Kentucky.

    Well folks, its been many months since I have posted on this site. I wanted to check in and report that my historic novel "Swift&q...