Campers rescued from gorge after high water cut off way out

WOLFE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Three women camping in the Red River Gorge woke up to find themselves cut off from their way home after Swift Camp Creek flooded.

Search and rescue teams from Wolfe County and Powell County helped them get out safely - not the way they planned on having to leave.

"We came down here for a girls' excursion," said Mables Marbles, one of the campers.

The women had been camping in the gorge since Sunday.

"It's been nothing but a sunny, beautiful trip," she said. "We've been mountain climbing, having a great time. Last night it started raining, and it just kept raining and raining and raining and raining..."

When they woke up on Friday, the creek might well have been an ocean, Marbles said. But it wasn't like that when they first crossed it.

"It was only to your ankles when we were passing," said Bianchi Willy, another camper.

A fellow hiker spotted the stranded campers and went to get help, a forest ranger said.

The Wolfe County and Powell County Search and Rescue teams came to help. One crew member paddled across the water in a kayak so they could set up a high line to get the women to safety.

"That way the girls were never in the water, keeping them safe, high and dry," said Drew Stevens, coordinator of Wolfe Co. Search and Rescue.

"Being the first one to do it, I was freaking out a little bit. But it was kind of like a cool way to end this experience, I guess?" Willy said.

"We're lucky to be alive. We're lucky we made it out," Marbles said. "We're lucky a team of people from two counties came and saved our lives."

The campers said it was their first time at the gorge, and they do plan to come back. But next time they'll stay in a different spot, they said.

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