This unique 5 Mile Run started and finished in downtown Dayton. The race supported and raised funds for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Each runner received a coin shaped medal (photo #2) made from materials removed from the Statue of Liberty National Monument during its restoration from 1982-1992. We ran the race with friends Donna and Jim. It was a beautiful fall day and Rosie ran a nice 34 minute 43 second race. I must have had a couple of Stroh’s before the race (or had to go to the restroom really bad because of it) as I was close behind her for once at 35:29, a seven minute 6 second pace. Very good for me. We also ran, three years later in September 1988, the Stroh Light Night Run V. Rosie won her womans 25-29 age group with a blistering 19 minute 29 second run.
Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Nick Kelly, Jacque Kelly
Date: 1977, 1978, 2017, November 16, 2023
This vast national forest stretches through multiple counties and includes thick rugged forests, great hiking trails and picturesque Red River Gorge that has scenic rock formations, towering cliffs, and sandstone arches. We hiked almost a dozen trails through the years in this vast forest. On the recent trip we visited the DBNF icon, the Nada Tunnel. The tunnel was built in the early 1900’s by a lumber company to accommodate a narrow-gauge train that would carry logs from the gorge. The tunnel is a single lane, not very wide or tall. I yelled out the window to hear my echo as we slowly drove the darkened tunnel.
This famous tunnel, an icon of the Red River Gorge Geological Area, has a haunted claim although it smells more like an urban legend. Built in the early 1900’s by the Dana Lumber Company to carry logs from the gorge, it was a small tunnel barely big enough to fit the narrow-gauge steam locomotive. Two different crews worked on each side of the large ridge carving through the solid sandstone by blasting with dynamite.
One day during construction, a worker named Charlie McNabb was thawing frozen dynamite next to a fire. Both Charlie and his dog Spike were blown to bits. Many claim the spirit of Charlie is in a state of unrest and haunts the 900-foot-long tunnel. Locals have reported on some summer nights blue orbs are seen floating through the tunnel and a growling sound (perhaps the ghost of Spike) can be heard. Standing in the long, tight, dark tunnel is unnerving since you never know when a vehicle might approach. As for a ghostly blue presence there is a possible explanation. Park rangers claim that the tunnel ceiling is home to a bioluminescent phenomenon that is a larva similar to fungus gnats. In late spring/early summer the larvae give off a blueish light. This type of bioluminescence appearance occurs in only a handful of places in the world. This reminds me of seeing similar luminance on a night scuba dive trip when I turn the night light off and the ocean lights up. I hope to return to the tunnel some night in the early summer to see this fantastic nature light show or instead, see a ghost that smells like dynamite.
Next to Graining Fork Nature Preserve we hiked on private land. The trailhead immediately climbed about forty feet which taxed my lungs since I was fighting an upper respiratory virus and wanted a more level, easier hike. Most of the leaves had fallen from the trees as the trail snaked through the quiet forest. A spur took us another .3 miles to the base of a sandstone cliff where the Lower Ancient Falls was bone dry. In the distance I could see Upper Ancient Falls was not flowing either. Sadly, Kentucky, like Ohio, had lots of areas that were close to being labeled a drought.
After the hike we had hot soup and pizza at the famous Miguel’s Pizza. Behind the building dozens of tents were pitched as rock climbers from around the country could camp here for free and climb the gorge cliffs.
This trail was tough and descending from the trailhead into a deep gorge under towering cliffs. The trail wound through the trees until descending steep steps. We crossed another slope and descended more steps. The trail was lined with thick hardwood trees and rhododendrons. Farther on is a cave depression that Daniel Boone allegedly used as a shelter. Next to it is another large rock shelter that was once mined for saltpeter. Since I was recovering from an upper respiratory virus, we did not proceed further along the trail since I knew I had a big climb facing me to return up the gorge. An opening in the trees gave me a look at a connector trail and a great view of the sandstone cliffs and two large hueco (holes) cut into the cliff.
This 3.1-mile course took us through the college town streets of Oxford. Historically, several of the streets were made from red bricks long ago. I hit the finish line with a 22:25, a good time for me. Rosie had already smoked me and finished the race. She is standing second from left oblivious to me coming across the finish line.
We enjoyed this new Red Trail which meandered through trees, a tall grass prairie, past the Woodland Wildflower Area and a new playground area for younger kids. The kids’ area had a small slide and a climbing wall for kindergarten and younger kids. After taking his photo, a large hawk sitting on a branch only 15 feet up in a tree and came swooping down very close to a small child and right in front of me. The trees had changed colors and we got beautiful photos of them and picked up red, yellow, green, and orange leaves.
This was a refreshing 18-mile bicycle ride on a new part of the GMRT for us. We began at Rentschler Forest Metropark where the trees had turned beautiful colors. Photo #1shows Rosie beginning the trek and to her left is remnants of the Miami & Erie Canal and a State of Ohio Historical Marker and on her right was the Miami River. A mile later we crossed a bridge over a beautiful creek which was a side channel that feeds the Miami River. Along the creek I saw turtles, a blue heron, and ducks. Eventually, the creek ended at the Hamilton Electric Plant. The trail turned south at the Miami River and Two-Mile Reservoir and took us through several miles of downtown Hamilton passing Rivers Edge Park, a massive city sculpture of a soldier, beautification ponds and Riverside Natural Area. We arrived at Joyce Park at mile 8 where Cincinnati Red player/announcer Joe Nuxhall was honored. We turned around and biked back to Rentschler and added an extra mile by biking the hilly Cascades Trail.
As we drove north along I-95 we could see the giant Mexican sombrero tower lit up by lights in the distance at the South Carolina/North Carolina Border. It was part of South of the Border, one of the east coast’s largest roadside attractions and tourist traps. We had to stop. Shop after shop of stores, restaurants and large yard art animals and gimmicks. Inside the Mexico Shop West Gift Emporium situated in a glass case was the World’s Largest Beer Stein. Made from stoneware, it measured 4 ft high, holds 8.4 gallons and weighs 35 pounds. Staff told me I could buy it for $3,300. Rosie said “No”.
Along famous Route 66 he stopped at the Uranus Fudge Factory and while touring the hilarious buildings we came upon the World’s Largest Belt Buckle which was 13.37 feet wide and 10.12 feet high. It was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2017. Proudly Uranus Mayor Louie Keen stated, “It’s Gotta be big if it’s in Uranus.” Since then, Abilene, Texas now holds the world record with their 19 feet x 10-foot belt buckle.