Our New River Gorge Adventure

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.

This was our first view of the falls.

This was our first view of the falls.

Here’s a look a little closer:

The falls at their broadest point

The falls at their broadest point

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.

Bridge over the New River

Bridge over the New River

Come into the deep woods with me...

Come into the deep woods with me...

Just before we took a left down the wooden steps to the beach area, we saw this tree, an interesting bend to its trunk:

What could have caused such an odd twist?

What could have caused such an odd twist?

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:

A view of the falls from the rocky beach.

A view of the falls from the rocky beach.

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.

Black swallowtails in all their glory.

Black swallowtails in all their glory.

Heading back to the van, we passed several beautiful vistas:

An underhang below the falls

An underhang below the falls

Water coming off the sandstone

Water coming off the sandstone

Virginia creeper climbing up the tree trunks

Virginia creeper climbing up the tree trunks

The water in this little inlet was still--you could see to the bottom. I rescued half a dozen of the little clam things that had scooted above the water line.

The water in this little inlet was still--you could see to the bottom. I rescued half a dozen of the little clam things that had scooted above the water line.

Later that afternoon, we took a small boat out on the river.

Floating on the river, downstream from Brooks Falls, near our B&B

Floating on the river, downstream from Brooks Falls, near our B&B

The water was so clear!  And delightfully warm.

The water was so clear! And delightfully warm.

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:

Passion on the wing

Passion on the wing

We sampled the local BBQ, which was fantastic, then checked out the personality of the river, which changed at evening to this:

The New River as sunset comes on

The New River as sunset comes on

and then in the morning to this, because after all it is still in the heart of the Smoky Mountains:

Mountains in morning mist

Mountains in morning mist

The mist cools the place off early in the evening and keeps it cool until the sun burns it off.

The mist cools the place off early in the evening and keeps it cool until the sun burns it off.

Ranger centers await at both ends of the Gorge.

At the Hinton station, where we met some very helpful rangers as baffled as we were by flowers we'd found.

At the Hinton station, where we met some very helpful rangers as baffled as we were by flowers we'd found.

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:

Little Miss was amazed by these, and promptly christened them "mountains of flowing rock." I can't do better than that.

Little Miss was amazed by these, and promptly christened them "mountains of flowing rock." I can't do better than that.

Here’s a video of the boardwalk at Sandstone Falls taken by another gentleman–you can hear the pervasive nature of the flowing water.

2 thoughts on “Our New River Gorge Adventure

  1. Pingback: So Long, and thanks for all the Mice « Awalkabout’s Weblog

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