White water rafting
Did a seven mile raft trip through the class 3, 4, and 5 rapids on the New River. Started at Cunard, got wet immediately, luckily it was sunny and warm. There were 4 other customers, (a couple from Hamilton, NY and a couple from Florida) plus guide, Bean, and his assistant Randy. They were pros at handling the raft and provided a good mix of history and banter. There were 17 rapids including the following, which are all class 3 or higher: Upper Railroad Rapids, Lower Railroad Rapids, Keeney’s Rapids (2 class 4 sections and 1 class 5). Double Dip, Double Z, Greyhound, Millers Folly, and Fayette Station Rapids.
Endless Wall Trail
with David and Amy. 2.4 miles Very crowded. Some great views. This trail runs along the top of the endless wall, a 3 mile stretch of sport and trad climbing routes. Great views of the New River Gorge Bridge, the longest single span arch bridge in the western hemisphere. 875 feet above the river, the Washington Monument and two statues of liberty could be stacked up beneath the arch. Every October they close the bridge for a day and let people jump off. www.officialbridgeday.com
It was 46 degrees in AM and still chilly as we started hike on Skyline Trail. We passed through groves of giant rhododendron towering 30’ above us. Different than ours in new England, taller, more open. Stopped at view points to view seas of green. Rhododendron leaves, brown and curled, crunched underfoot. Yellow leaves clung tenaciously to the plants resisting fall’s arrival. Red mushrooms popped up here and there through the leaves. A deer crossed the trail in front of us and didn’t even look up as we approached. The woods have a very open under story and are not troubled by invasives. A few scrawny hemlocks fought their way through the gnarled rhododendron. The trail was mostly dirt, a few sections with rocks surrounded by moss.
Island in the Sky
Drove down to Park HQ and gift shop. Checked out Glade Creek Grist Mill and hiked up Island in the Sky Trail. Short and steep, (0.5 miles) but no views – too many trees. Worked on blog while Janet checked out Swinging Bridge and some cabins.
Drove to Cunard, biked 14 miles on Southside Trail to Thurmond. Mostly single track. There was no one on the trail and no one at the town – it was a ghost town. Met Dale Stafford, a photographer.
Kaymoor Mine Trail
Walked 872 steps down to Kaymoor, an old abandoned coal mine and then 872 back up. Not really worth the effort.
Nuttalburg Coal Mine
Played 9 holes at Bridge Haven Golf Club and ended up at the wrong green on hole 9. Drove 4 miles down a two lane road that was only wide enough for one car and luckily no one came in the opposite direction. The ruins are of an old coal mining facility that was once owned by Henry Ford. Over grown and unmaintained, also probably not worth the effort. Ate dinner at Pies and Pints – both pizza and beer were delicious!