Bourbon and Bouldering: A Weekend Escape

If you saw my Photo Friday post from this past week, you may have noticed that the rolling farm fields looked a bit out of place for my typical city and suburban shots.

That would be because Brian and I, along with our friends Tim and Steph, quietly snuck away for a weekend trip this past weekend - surprise! Why do you think I was plugging away making all that jerky?

Anywho, we headed out to our friend's place in Indiana after work. We were planning on picking them up and heading straight to Georgia that night, but we had a few delays. First, I had a big delay in an after-hours work meeting. Then, when on the way to pick me up from work, Brian was in a car accident. Fortunately, he is completely OK, but the Subaru has a bit of front and rear end damage. The crash wasn't his fault, so fortunately the offending driver's insurance will cover the damage.

By the time we got to our friend's place, we all realized it would be best if we got a few hours sleep before hitting the road. So, we crashed until about 4 a.m., packed up the car, and started the nine or so hour drive to Georgia. We had picked Georgia because we had heard it had incredible bouldering, and we definitely weren't disappointed. Bouldering, for those who don't spend their weekends climbing big rocks, is a form of rock climbing that doesn't involve harnesses or ropes, instead climbers focus on shorter, more powerful bouldering "problems." After a quick stop at Waffle House and the Jim Beam distillery in Kentucky, we made it down to Rock Town just in time to set up camp and head out to the boulders for a few hours.

Not too shabby of a view for a Friday evening, huh? We didn't get too much climbing in that night, but saw enough to get us super excited for the next day. All day Saturday and most of the day Sunday were spent at the boulders, some of the time was spent just trying to figure out where we wanted to go!

Not only was the climbing incredible, but the views and even just the rock formations were absolutely gorgeous.

And after long days of climbing, it was nice to come back to camp, cook dinner, sit in front of a fire, and crawl into our tents for some sleep.

But, after a few solid days of climbing, we started to realize how exhausted we were. Climbing takes a lot of strength, plus, consistent climbing of rough sandstone boulders isn't too friendly on your fingers and hands. By Sunday afternoon, we had all decided we'd had enough for the weekend. Instead of staying until Monday and then making the nine plus hour drive home, we decided to drive halfway and stay in Elizabethtown, Kentucky overnight. In addition to giving our hands a rest, this also meant that we could make a few stops on the Bourbon Trail, something I've wanted to do since Brian went for his bachelor party last August.

After waking up in an incredibly comfortable king size bed Monday morning, we made a quick pit stop at Waffle House before heading to the trail. Eating at Waffle House twice in one weekend might seem a bit extreme, but I've been stopping at them on road trips since I was a kid. Since they don't have them in the north where I live, we make any excuse we can to stop as many times as we can any time we are in the south. Just another reason to move down there, methinks!

After filling our bellies, we headed to our first distillery of the day, Heaven Hill. It was really cool to learn about the bourbon making process that Kentucky has become famous for. Not to mention seeing a warehouse that contained 20,000 barrels of bourbon that each held about 53 gallons!

As cool as Heaven Hill was, I was most excited for our second and final stop, Maker's Mark. While the Bourbon Trail has several stops, we really only had time for two. Maker's Mark has always been Brian and my favorite bourbon, so I knew this was one I had to see. It was everything I had hoped for. We learned about the history of the company, the process of making their bourbon, and even got to taste the sour mash and see the bottling process.

Of course, I would argue that the best part was the bourbon tasting, where we were able to sample the whisky straight from the still, a perfectly aged bourbon, an over-aged bourbon, and their special Maker's 46.

We also got a good laugh out of some of their old advertising signs, though I can't say I could complain about a Monday spent sampling great bourbon...

We finally dragged ourselves out of Maker's Mark and made the final few hours of our drive back to our friend's house. After a quick dinner, Brian and I drove the final hour and a half home. It's funny, but even being away for an amazing four day weekend makes you realize how much you love and miss your own home and bed. Of course now that I'm back at work, I am missing the beautiful scenery in Georgia and bourbon in Kentucky much more...

What did you do this weekend? Unfortunately for us, we're now back to the grind for the next several weeks. How about you?

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