Sunday, July 22, 2012

My wife eventually grew sick of me singing "Country Roads" by John Denver and committed to going hiking in West Virginia with me. I have been once before, but having her and a group of my friends made for an exciting day. The New River Gorge is a really impressive area with the world's largest single arch bridge spanning the gorge over 800ft above the river. Although named the New River, it is actually the second oldest in the world with only the Nile River being older. It's only a three hour drive to the gorge and traveling through two tunnels, beautiful scenery, and hilarious conversation, your there before you know it.
New River Gorge Bridge
Amber and I on the Fayetville Station Bridge
New River
from observation deck at Canyon Rim Visitor Center

Several weeks ago, a devastating storm blew through the area and when we arrived two weeks later, some facilities were still without power. It was extremely hot, and I was really looking forward to the drink in the visitor center but it was closed so we visited the overlook and continued down the gorge via a one lane road to Fayetville Station and crossed the New River on an older bridge that looked back toward the massive arch bridge. I was surprised at how the deep the river was and a set of rapids just downstream made me wish I had a raft with me, but gave me a reason to come back. We had to ditch my friends fancy sports car along the road because it kept dragging and pile in Misty's jeep, I really enjoyed watching my buddy fret over his car while we traveled through the gorge. We also visited Summerville Lake which is the source waters of the powerful Gawley River, which features class V rapids, and we were able to safely retrieve the sports car from the parking area, unscathed.
Lake Summerville
from Summerville dam

Afterwards, we set off in search of Cathedral Falls, which according to most websites is one of West Virginia's most photographed and beautiful waterfalls. When we got there however, the creek was completely dry and the only thing we found was a rock wall and where two other visitors had took the liberty of lightening their loads. The heat added to the aroma and I couldn't help but laugh at our waterfall bust. The trip to the waterfall wasn't a complete loss though, on our way we passed Hawk's Nest State Park and we stopped on our way back and it had some fine views of the New River Gorge. Here's a few pictures of our day in the wild and wonderful, hope you enjoy and happy trails!
Cathedral Falls (trickle)
view from Hawk's Nest
river bend at Hawk's Nest
Hydroelectric plant on New River just above Kawahna Falls

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