My Scariest Moment Ever

... Falling head-first, backwards off the side of a cliff!!!

TJ and I had been dating for only a couple months or so. It was fall of 1999, and we were camping down in Red River Gorge in Kentucky. Mountains, leaves changing colors, beautiful fall weather, and young love. The perfect romantic weekend getaway for two people who love nature!

Picture found on

Hiking, we came to a cliff where we had to climb down 10 feet to a narrow ledge, and below that it was a 30- to 50-foot drop down to the bottom of the ravine. Did I mention that the ledge was NARROW? Just enough space to walk on, one person wide.

There was a rope around a tree, dangling over the edge, and I thought no problem. Just use the rope to climb down like they do in the movies, right?

Really strange for a girl who’s been afraid of heights since high school. I think I wanted to show off for TJ.

Red River Gorge has loads of cliff faces just like this one.
Though this is NOT the one I fell from.
Picture found at the Red River Gorge Rustic Cabin Rental site

I grabbed the rope and started down, but then the rope slid right through my hands and I was falling backward. No longer upright, I had turned almost head first.

I held on to the rope as tight as I could, but it still slipped through my hands. I didn’t exactly have my life flash before my eyes, but time did slow. I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m falling. If I can’t get a hold of this rope, I won’t land on the ledge. I’ll fall the whole way down.”

And then suddenly – YANK.

And I stopped with my feet inches from the ledge. A knot at the bottom of the rope stopped my fall, and I let go and landed safely on the ledge, my heart in my throat.

If not for that knot, I’d be dead.

Other than being extremely shaky and having horrible rope burn, I was fine!

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