Deep in the backwoods of Kentucky, a group of adventurers encountered something so unexpected and frightful that it changed the course of their friendship…forever. I was among that group and have lived to bring you this harrowing tale.
In the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, there is a place known as “The Zoo”. To get to this place, one must ford a river, hike up a steep hill and fight your way through a deep forrest to get to the place that only climbers dream and write love ballads about, a bolted rock cliff. It is at this destination that our story begins.
As we stood beneath this beautiful bolted cliff, my friend Shane put on his shoes and I prepared the rope. Little did we know what lay ahead that fateful climb. With a little struggle through the opening moves, Shane slowly made his way up the cliff. At last he reached a one foot wide ledge about 25 feet up, a great place to rest before making the push to the top, and that is when it happened.
On the ledge, about 5 feet away from Shane was the creature. It slowly creeped closer to him. He stood frozen, not knowing what fate bestowed him should move, but gathering his courage, he took decisive action and slowly waved his right foot at the beast, letting it know not to come any closer, but also not trying to threaten its existence.
The creature did not back down or back up as expected. No, the creature did something so stunning that my fingers tremble as I type this. It lept off the ledge.
A shout from above startled me, and as I tightened my grip on the rope, I glanced up with my belay specs and that is when I saw it. Hurtling down at me through the air was a two foot long Kentucky Black Flying Snake. Reacting quickly I paid out some slack in the rope and took two steps back. That quick thinking is why I am still here today, because the following instant that snake landed with a crash exactly where I had been standing. And without the slightest hesitation or need for recovery, the black creature slithered off into the woods, past my stunned friends Ben and Duane.
That creature may still be out there. It certainly lives on in the tales we tell about it around the campfire.
Happy New Years from Adventures with Failure!