Jun 062012

Boonesborough to Valley View, part 2

By Cap. Wes Houp

Apparently Satan traversed the Kentucky ahead of the first white men and laid claim to every choice nook and cranny, a diabolical vanguard skulking about geological oddities so that god-fearing frontiersmen would remember to say their prayers at night.  According to our trusty barge maps, Satan preferred the stretch from the mouth of Red River to just past lock 8 (coincidentally the same stretch that the earliest white settlers preferred as well).  Here you’ll find Devil’s Backbone, Devil’s Meat House, Devil’s Pulpit, and Devil’s Elbow.  Throw in Bull Hell for that matter, and you’ve got a veritable geography of evil.

Chilly view from Devil's Meat House. Photo by Troy Lyle.

Within minutes we’re back in the boats, cutting wakes toward the Madison County shore and the steep, wooded slope beneath Devil’s Meat House.  A passable deer-trail angles up through the boulders and disappears inside the cave.  We claw our way, clinging from tree to tree, and pause periodically to stare down at the boats tethered to tree-roots exposed at water’s edge. Continue reading »

May 022012

Boonesborough to Valley View

By Wesley Houp

“Curiosity is natural to the soul of man, and interesting objects have a powerful influence on our affections.”

—Daniel Boone

On a sunny, 35-degree afternoon in March, we haul our boats down I-75, cross the river at Clay’s Ferry, hang a left on U.S. 627, and make our winding descent to Boonesborough and lock 10.  Our objective: reconnoiter the watershed below Boone’s famous fort, make note of all curiosities, and emerge from the river valley approximately 20 miles downstream at Valley View in two days’ time.  It’s my inaugural voyage with this particular coterie of slackwater venturists, and I find myself in the odd rank of newbie and Kentucky River native (river expert by association) simultaneously. 

The Brooklyn. Photo by Troy Lyle.

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