Sunday, October 27, 2013

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 of the rock itself.  For example looking at the carving that kind of reminds me of turtle with all the circles and a head made of a circle within a circle, below that one appears what me another of the same thing but the bottom part has been lost to effects of relentless erosion.
  Did early stone age peoples occupying this shelter spend time doodling on this rock? Or perhaps a form of communication, a written language if you will, that has passed with the ages along with those that created it.
Maybe these are the workings of our mysterious John Swift. After all, this stone boulder was found on the South Fork of the Red River in cliff country just like the Gorge. Perhaps, Swift and his company of miners and counterfeiters carved out a map on this rock that was used to locate their precious mines and caches of counterfeit silver crowns. As noted in a previous post one very interesting mine searcher conducted excavations a very short distance down the mountain from this rock. Though he never stated anything about this rock I often wondered if it was an identification marker that help him determine the place to start his actual dig for the ore.  He did find some kind of ore on that mountain, I do not believe it to be silver but it was near this carved boulder.
  Perhaps the carvings represent some group of humans that we have yet to discover their existence. Or maybe the carvings and symbols of alien visitors. The fact of the matter is that no one knows the meaning of these strange markings on this sandstone boulder. I invite you to share your thoughts and post in the comment space below. And you can see the boulder yourself if you drop by the Red River Museum in Clay City, Kentucky. The museum is open on weekends and has an amazing collection of historical artifacts representing the history of the region.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Bluegrass Railroad Museum Train Ride

    So on my recent birthday my intentions were to climb the Cloud Splitter Rock in the Red River Gorge. Oh, I had climbed it many years ago but as a matter of self pride, dealing with the inevitable aging process, I had convinced myself to undertake this climb for the self satisfaction of saying I could still do it. My daughter Allison had agreed to accompany me on the trip, probably just to make sure I made it. That was my plan. That was until mother nature decided to create a 90 degree day on my birthday. Too much heat and I folded and withered from the macho cliff climbing attempt. 
    The Cloud Splitter is well named. One of the massive stand alone outcrops in the gorge it provides beautiful vistas of the Red River valley. Though not an official trail is marked, one certainly exists because of the many hikers that make their way up to the top of the cliff.
    So, instead I ambled on down to Versailles, Ky to the Bluegrass Railroad Museum. I specifically went to take the train ride that is offered each Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM. I spent a few minutes talking with the engineer (driver of the train) about the train and his background. Arthur Richie is the engineer and a very pleasant fellow that will try to answer any question about the locomotive and operation. Other nice conductors provide commentary as the train travels through beautiful bluegrass farms.
After purchasing tickets we boarded the passenger cars that were built and operated in the 1920's and 30's.

 I found myself on a car was used to transport people to work in New Jersey and New York. The train left promptly as promised and slowly made its way down a 1 percent grade for miles traveling through bluegrass horse farms before arriving at the end of the high Tyrone bridge.  The giant steel-trussed bridge is now long been closed to trains but still standing and really is quite the bridge to see.

  The engineer and his brakeman successfully bring the train to a halt only a few yards from the end of the bridge. After a look about the grand overlook of the Kentucky River Valley with the famous Wild Turkey distillery on the opposite of the valley of our vantage point, we boarded the train to head back up the tracks to our starting point. This time the train is going in reverse but the old rail cars had ingenious designed seats that flip over and face the opposite direction. No passenger has to ride backwards.
  There are very few places in Kentucky that one can take a train ride and this is one that offers an enjoyable afternoon experience for the family. You can find out more about the scheduled times and seasons and the museum at Bluegrass Railroad Museum.

    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...