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This past weekend my husband and I rented River's Roost Cabin in Red River Gorge. Being relatively new to Kentucky, we had never heard of Daniel Boone National Forest before living in Louisville (actually the joke of the weekend was that I kept referring to Daniel Boone as "the guy with the raccoon hat", but apparently that's Davie Crocket). Various people told us that Red River Gorge was beautiful and great for camping, so when my husband had a spontaneous 4-day weekend we seized the opportunity to go.

I am not the most outdoorsy individual so I knew that a tent was out of the question. I began googling to find cabin rentals and stumbled upon River's Roost Cabin which is owned and operated by Red River Adventures. It was a great price ($99 for weekdays and $119 for weekends) so I booked it on Tuesday and off we went on Thursday.

A two hour drive from Louisville, as we passed Lexington and started onto Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway, the first thing you notice is that you lose all cell phone service. Then when you enter the forest by car you have to go through Nada Tunnel which is a 1/4 mile long one lane tunnel...we suddenly realized we were now in Kentucky, not Louisville, but Kentucky; big difference.

The cabin was absolutely gorgeous (get it!) and as soon as we arrived the owners, Ken and Judy, walked us through everything and even gave us a hiking trails map with recommendations. The couple moved there after Ken retired from the Army and they spent their first year building 100% of their home and then built the cabin across the street directly on the river. When I say "they built" I mean they brought a wood mill out there and even cut all of their own lumber. Now that's hardcore.

The cabin had everything you could need or want; porch overlooking the river, electric cooktop, mini fridge, separate bathroom with shower, satellite TV (though we made a no TV rule) fire pit, BBQ, even a hammock! It could have slept 6 comfortably, but my husband and our two dogs were enough to fill the small cabin. There is a onetime fee of $25 for bringing your dogs (understandable). Also, they offer 10% discount for military families and then you receive 20% off on any canoe or kayak rentals (from Red River Adventures) while staying in the cabin.

We hiked to all the major sites; Sky Bridge, Rock Bridge, Chimney Top Rock. All of the trails were clearly marked for milage and were well groomed. Dogs were allowed everywhere as long as your had them on leashes. We were blown away by the rock formations and natural bridges.

On our second day we went kayaking. Ken loaded us up and dropped us off 4 miles downstream from the cabin. It took us 3 hours with our two dogs (neither of which had kayaked before). The water level was low in some spots, but Ken reassured us that if you come in the spring the water levels are so high and fast that you can do 8 miles in an hour (of course that's Ken and he built two homes with his bare hands and is retired Army Special Forces). Kayaking was our favorite experience, minus the discovery that our Boston Terrier cannot swim (sink or swim? Quinn sinks!). After our adventure we played cards in our cabin and later made a fire and had S'mores. We had no contact with the outside world and it was heaven.

We only spent two nights there, but absolutely hated leaving. I wanted to throw my iPhone into the river and live in that cabin forever. Even though we were only 2 hours away form Louisville, I felt like we had jetted off to Utah for the weekend. During one hike to Rock Bridge I said to my husband, "Are we in Costa Rica or Kentucky" because the forest was so thick that you felt like you were in the rain forest. We were in awe of what Red River Gorge had to offer and there is no doubt in my mind that as long as we live here we will go back regularly.

Photo courtesy of Red River Adventure

Maggie moved to Louisville from Buffalo, NY in Dec. 2009. She has also lived in London, Chicago, and Louisiana.  Find out more about her business Weekend Wedding Warrior, LLC and her private counseling practice.

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About Maggie Heely

Maggie is the owner of Weekend Wedding Warrior, LLC specializing in Wedding Day Coordination. She is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in St. Matthews. She moved to Louisville from Buffalo, NY in December 2009. She's lived in NY, Chicago, London, and Louisiana before coming to Louisville.

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