Leaving Nashville was difficult, we wanted to stay longer and do more exploring, but West Virginia was calling our names, and we had some reservations to meet.
There wasn’t as much to see on our drive to WV as there was on our ride to Nashville. We did drive through some horse country in Kentucky that was absolutely beautiful though.
In the late afternoon on August 19, 2016, we pulled up to Hawk’s Nest State Park in Anstead, West Virginia, buried in the Allegheny Plateau of the Appalachian Mountains and whitewater rafting country on the New River and a section of the New River Gorge. Jake and I checked into our room at the lodge, explored to see some amazing views from the lodge, ate dinner, and took it easy the rest of the night. We needed our rest for the big day we had ahead of us.
Early the next morning, we ate some breakfast and headed out to Adventures of the Gorge; an adventure resort situated right on the New River and offers zip lining, climbing and rappelling, fishing, kayaking , whitewater rafting, etc. That’s right! We were going whitewater rafting!!! My first time and I was so scared I didn’t talk for about two hours.
Since it was August, the Gauley was not open so we had made reservations for the Lower New River Whitewater Rafting Trip! A full day out on the water paddling through some monster waves and some excellent white water. Now, Jake and I always assumed that the classifications of the rapids meant the size of the rapid, but no. Once we were on the raft and out in the middle of the river, our guide, JD, informed us that the classification of the rapid really meant the chances that it could kill you. Pretty sure I peed myself a little bit when I heard this.
But the rafting was EXCELLENT!!! And after a while you completely forgot that these waves could kill you!
We ate lunch on the shore with about five boats worth of people, and it was actually pretty good! The guides had strapped in the coolers that carried all the food and drinks, so even if the rafts flipped (which some did, not ours though), the food was safe and secure. After lunch we had about an hour left of rafting when we ended the day floating under the New River Gorge Bridge.
This bridge alone calls people from all over the country to witness it’s glory. Standing at 876 feet, the bridge holds the record for the longest steel span in the western hemisphere, and is the third highest bridge in the U.S. At the time of its completion in 1977, it was the highest and longest (1,700 feet) arch bridge in the world. It is illegal to walk out on the bridge at any time.
Once a year on the third Saturday of October, the bridge is closed down for what is known as Bridge Day. Base jumpers from pretty much everywhere make their way to the New River to base jump off the bridge. If you are feeling so inclined, and are not a base jumper, you can tandem jump (SIGN ME UP!).
Once we were back on dry land and up at the lodge, we were able to change into dry clothes and purchase pictures (above slideshow) and a video of our ride! We ended up hanging out at one of the bars on the resort with JD and one of the other couples from our raft before heading back to the lodge.
The next morning, after waiting out some rain and fog, we set our GPS to home. We got soaked a few times and had to wait under some overpasses before our way was clear.
All in all, our trip was such an adventure and we almost hit 2,000 miles round trip.
We are already planning our next journey…