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Week 2, Adventure 2 | Underground Glow SUP

Good to see you again! 🙂

This week’s adventure was a blast and took me to Red River Gorge on an absolutely gorgeous Sunday.  This week, along with my friend Christina, I spent my Sunday morning SUPing (is that how you make it a verb?) through an old abandoned, flooded limestone mine … cool right?!   My SUP adventure was a joint venture by two really fabulous companies in the Kentucky area – Explorer Chicks and SUP Kentucky.

What is SUP?  SUP = Stand Up Paddleboard.  If you have never seen one before, it kind of looks like a cross between kayaking, surfing, and windsurfing.  Am I the only that sees that connection?  Basically, you stand in the middle of  board that is about 32 inches wide and use a single bladed paddle to propel yourself through the water.  The challenge of SUP is to balance yourself on a  floating, semi-wobbly board while still managing to move your board forward.

As some of you know – I am not the most graceful.  In fact, I am probably one of the klutziest people you have ever met.  I am not joking, at all.   So, me floating on a board in dark cave above extremely cold water is probably not the best combination.  But I didn’t let that stop me!  😉

Don’t believe me on klutz level?  You should.  In high-school, I fractured my patella walking down the street.  Just walking down the street.  Then in college, on my way to an exam, I somehow stepped of the sidewalk and fell into mud, while wear white corduroy pants.  Graceful, huh?

Any way, back to this week’s adventure.  In our abandoned limestone mine, the air was 57 degrees (due to being underground, like a cave, the mine stays constant at 57 degrees) and the water was a very cold 42 degrees!  

Have you ever been in a limestone mine?  If you have you would probably not have bene surprised by how spacious it was.  Me, I was surprised.  I had visions of tight cramped coal mines running through my head.  But alas, the mine was not like that all. Apparently, limestone mines are massive, ours was 30 feet tall throughout the mine.  Apparently excavating limestone must require a lot more space than mining for coal.

When this mine was active in the 80s, the miners punctured an underground aquifer, flooding the mine. Releasing the aquifer was bad for mining, but great for a really cool underground paddleboarding experience 30+ years later!

It was incredibly neat to start in semi-light at the front of the mine and then transfer to total darkness in a matter of minutes.  In the depths of the mine, the darkness was only alleviated by our headlamps and LEDs mounted under the board (casting a neat blue tint on the water).  The lack of current in the mine made for easy paddling and allowed us to comfortably meander our way through the mine, encountering all sort of neat sights in the mine (rock formations, mineral deposits, mining leftovers).

By the end of the trip, I was feeling pretty good on my paddleboard – my feet were no longer cramping from griping the board and I could go in a semi-straight path!  It’s the simple things in life! 😉  Though I was definitely not as comfortable enough as some of the ladies in the group.  Several of them were rocking yoga poses on their boards!  Yoga poses on a paddleboard in 42 degree water!

So, would I do SUP again – totally.

Would I tour the mine again?  Once was probably enough, but I would 100% recommend that each of you give it a go!  I will also be keeping an eye on the Explore Chicks and SUP Kentucky for other fun outdoor adventures.  If you all see one that looks like fun, please let me know!

Christina and I took full advantage of our day in the Gorge and continued our adventure with a delicious lunch at the Red River Rockhouse and hike in the park.

If you have never made it to the Gorge, you need to plan a trip.  And while you are there, may I recommend a trip through an old-abandoned, and flooded mine?!

Thanks for stopping by again and please be sure to come back next week.  Who knows what the next week will bring?!

Ali

(If you have any fun ideas for an adventure this year, please share!)

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