This set of photos is from a trip last weekend to the frigid winter of the central Appalachians to commence a now annual event with some lifelong friends. We have coined the moniker “Man Weekend” (somebody just said it and it stuck, as cliche-ish as it is). Every year for the past 5, we’ve gathered in some rustic outdoor location to spend a long weekend hanging out and catching up. We do this mostly in memory of a fallen member of our circle, who’s life was cut short a few years ago in a cycling accident involving a motor vehicle.
This year’s spot (and for the last 3) was the Red River Gorge. This little gem of a recreational area is on the northern edge of the Daniel Boone National Forest, in central Kentucky. It’s a beautiful area, filled with geologic formations and deep forested valleys full of wildlife. It’s a hiker’s and climber’s paradise with literally hundreds of miles of trails and seemingly infinite climbing spots. There are very sparse accomodations in the way of rustic cabins with rather spartan appointments, inclusive of minimal heat and hot water, but it makes the adventure a bit more real. It makes for a great getaway and “reset” from life – chuck some things in a bag and go literally “off the grid” for a few days. There is no television, cellular service or wifi once you enter the 1/4 mile long tunnel into the gorge just outside of Slade, Kentucky, so once in, you’re a bit of a captive audience to nature and the environment. I loaded up my iPad with books and magazines, took a fair amount of camera gear and spent the 4 days hiking and shooting with my longtime friends. When we weren’t hiking, we ate simply, yet well and spent the remaining hours of the days playing cards, telling and reliving the same old stories from days gone past (remember that time on the spring training camp when Travis…). We simply enjoyed the camaraderie that we once had and all miss since life and it’s complexities got the best of us in some ways.
This was an exceptionally good year, in spite of the fact that the weather was atrocious (highs in the low 30’s and lows in the teens) because for me, this year served as a bit of a “detox” of my recent diet and gave me time to ponder a great many things – most notably how unique our friendships are and the importance of maintaining them.
Here one I captured over the weekend:
Canon EOS 7D, Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 58mm, f/4, 1/125, ISO 400
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