This individual in question is an avid off-trail explorer in The Red River Gorge. It absolutely blew my mind that he had never heard of what is probably one of the greatest mapping utilities ever made for the backcountry explorer! So, today we are going to right this atrocity and take a look at just what CalTopo is and how we can use it.
I spend a lot of time alone in the backcountry. Everything from a quick hike to clear my mind, to a multi-day photography excursion.
Don’t get me wrong, hiking with others can be great fun, but sometimes you need to fly solo. This is especially true in the case of the backcountry photographer. Afterall, there aren’t too many non-photographers that will put up with the lunacy that is backcountry photography! Plus, hiking solo can be a lot of fun!
Here are my 5 tips to help ensure that you have a safe, successful solo trip in the backcountry.
My two previous weekends has been spent on top of an amazing rock formation located in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge; Ravens Rock. This large rock formation can be seen throughout The Gorge (especially from Auxier Ridge), but people seldom go up there and take advantage of its breathtaking views. This means that Ravens Rock is a great place to find some solitude!
I visited Ravens across two separate trips, a quick trip to photograph the sunset, and an overnight where I photographed the sunset, milky way, and the sunrise.
My plans for this past weekend originally included heading out to the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia for a backpacking trip. Unfortunately, however, events unfolded that led me to cancel this trip. Such is life.
The upside was that I had three days with absolutely nothing planned. Rather than sit around and lament the fact that I couldn’t go on my backpacking trip, I decided to throw my camera gear in the car and head down south to The Gorge. This wouldn’t be my typical photo session though. This time the goal was to shoot for the stars… literally!
By now you probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear me say that Kentucky’s Red River Gorge is one of my favorite places to spend some time! I’ve spent countless hours exploring the plethora of trails, sandstone arches, waterfalls and breathtaking vistas over the years. Recently, however, I’ve been finding enjoyment in exploring off the beaten path in The Gorge. You see, the Red River Gorge is just full of unofficial hikes that will take you off the officially maintained trails to some amazing places. It is, in my opinion, the best way to find adventure and solitude in our ever crowded Gorge!