Pretty House Arch
Daniel Boone National Forest
Jackson County, Kentucky
Many of you probably don't know it but I have a serious fear of heights and falling. Though she meant well, my Mom instilled these fears in me when I was a child. She wouldn't allow me to climb the ladder to help Dad on the roof of the house or if we were off in some state or national park I wasn't allowed to climb or jump on the rocks or anything else of that nature. She was worried I would get hurt or even die, as I was her only child. Years later my passion for visiting things in nature, and this primal fear have been at constant odds. 10 years ago I had trouble walking out on Sky Bridge, but over the years I've pushed myself to face this fear and push beyond it. Today I go places I could have never imagined I could go, the fear is still there but I work with it and through it, most of the time. Which brings us to tonight's post. This past weekend my good friend Jason Haley and I made the relatively short hike to Pretty House Arch in the London District of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Jackson County, Kentucky. We followed an unmarked mostly uphill trail to a massive rock outcropping on a ridge top. We made our way around the base where eventually we came to where we could see the arch, high above in the cliff line. "You've got to be kidding me." I thought to myself. "And it is a beauty too." Scanning my options I saw there was the possibility I could scramble up a section of sandstone in the face of the cliff, but from where I was standing I didn't like it at all. Off in the distance I saw that the towering rock eventually met the flat top of the ridge. "Perhaps I can come in from there", I thought. I continued along the base of the cliff line to see if it was an option and as I made my way atop the rock complex I was able to move closer and closer to the arch, where eventually I found myself above it. With sheer 40 ft. drops on each side I started to panic and I was realizing that I wasn't going to be able find a way down or around, but Jason who had made his way from below called out to me and said there was a way down to the arch from where I was. It certainly didn't look like it from where I was standing. The area I had to walk across was only about 5 feet wide before I could even give it a look. I thought to myself, "I didn't do all this work for nothing." So I walked towards the arch to have a look and I saw that the scramble down was a very comfortable decent outside the fact that off the to right was straight down and I had about a 3 foot width to work with. Again I was hesitant, but I told myself I wasn't going to miss this arch, "there's no turning back." Swallowing my fear, I made my way down and hopped to it's base. Boy, was I glad I did, what a beauty! It was so worth it! Due to the tight spaces compositions were limited, but this perspective here was my favorite! And that ascent I was concerned about? Well, it wasn't so bad to go down at all!
Pretty House ArchDaniel Boone National Forest London DistrictJackson CountyKentucky natural arch