A childless retreat took us on an adventure deep into West Virginia, near Hinton. The highlight of our visit was a stop at Sandstone Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of West Virginia. The Falls, with a span of some 1,500 feet across and a drop of 15-20 feet over outcroppings of the sandstone for which it is named. We spent the better part of a day here, and wanted to share its beauty with you.
Here’s a look a little closer:
After we watched some people standing mid-river fishing for a bit, we walked down along the gray wood boardwalk into the woods. The sound of the falls rushing mingles with birdsong, and you are very aware that you are immersed in nature. Wild flowers poke up through the green leaves on both sides of the walkway as it switches to a brown metal bridge.
Just before we took a left down the wooden steps to the beach area, we saw this tree, an interesting bend to its trunk:
At the rocky beach, thick with the black and white discarded shells of some clam-type animal, more fisherwomen plied their trade, including a little old woman, spry as she pulled in her catch. From the beach, the falls look like this:
The Cabana Boy had a love affair going with butterflies while we were there–they were drawn to him, and he managed to get several pictures of these we later found out were black swallowtails.
Heading back to the van, we passed several beautiful vistas:
Later that afternoon, we took a small boat out on the river.
On land, we were besieged by butterflies of all kinds and colors–on the water it was dragonflies. Apparently it was mating season. Conjoined pretties were everywhere:
We sampled the local BBQ, which was fantastic, then checked out the personality of the river, which changed at evening to this:
and then in the morning to this, because after all it is still in the heart of the Smoky Mountains:
Ranger centers await at both ends of the Gorge.
At the other end is the New River Gorge Center by the bridge, , which offers base jumping one day a year. We stopped here because it’s one of the children’s favorites, with hands-on exhibits and overlooks that look down hundreds of feet.
And finally, as we snaked along highways hewn from sandstone and granite, we came upon this:
Here’s a video of the boardwalk at Sandstone Falls taken by another gentleman–you can hear the pervasive nature of the flowing water.