New River Gorge National River - 2009
The New River Gorge National River encompasses 53 miles of the New River. Its narrow gorge winds through the Appalachian Mountains from Hinton to the New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville, West Virginia. Contrary to its name, the New River is believed to be one of the oldest rivers in North America, originating more than 65 million years.
The visitors center . . .
Usually we go to the visitor center first. However, today we took advantage of the rain slowing a little and visited the overlooks first.
The lower overlook gave us a clear view of the bridge.
Fred would not like this 'hanging over the edge of the bridge' job.
The Upper Overlook . . .
Post in a overhanging rock . . .
The overlooks presented a lot on information about the bridge and the gorge. Fred wiped off as much of the raindrops as he could before making the photographs.
Inside, the visitor center provided more information using some very nice exhibits. The most-accepted estimate suggests that the river has been in its present course for at least 65 million years - before the Appalachian Mountains were formed. The river runs north, different from the rest of the waters east of the Mississippi.
Because of the rain, we made some photographs of photographs for 'dry' images of the New River.
A relief map of the New River Gorge . . .
This was an unusual arrangement.
As we talked to the ranger on duty asking what to see in the area, she suggested a scenic drive into the gorge and across the river. The Fayette Station Road loop is 7.5 miles long. It is a spur of the National Coal Heritage Trail.
She asked what type of vehicle we were driving and asked if were towing a trailer. She said our truck without the fifth wheel would be fine.
As soon as we turned onto the road, we knew why she asked those questions.
The road was winding and narrow - most of the way it was one-way. It was two-way only when someone needed access from a side road to a near-by house or business. The road is really okay for just about any passenger car.
The sun came out for this part of our visit. Making it pleasant for touring.
Standing under the bridge gave you an understanding of how high the rim of the gorge was at this location. By accident, the port-a-potty give us a visual comparison of the height.
Do you see it? The face?
It was a very pleasant ride through the woods as we drove towards the New River. A couple hairpin curves would have been impossible for a trailer of any size to navigate.
We finally reached the New River.
The ferry was replaced by the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge. The new bridge was built to replicate the style and design of the original.
The view from the bridge . . .
A wider view . . .
The bridge has a rich history.
We were touring this area at a time when the water was flowing nicely. This created water falls and creeks full of rushing water. The river was also at a high level. The concrete landing was for public use. A few yards downriver, Mary Lou is checking out the commercial landing used by rafting and kayaking companies. And the great news, the rain had almost stopped. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
Almost at the end of the Fayette Station Road Tour we saw a sign for another overlook. This one was near a new subdivision of homes. It was a nice stone patio like spot. The board at the beginning of the walkway included a map of available home sites.
Lots were also for sale near the landings we discussed earlier. You will note on the sign that these lots have NO UTILITIES and LIMITED ACCESS - what a deal.
Everywhere we go, bicyclists are riding the roads - up and down the hills.
The overlooks were nice. However, the ride on the Fayette Station Road was more interesting to us. Including all we saw and the number of photographs we made, we were at the New River Gorge for about four hours.
From March through November, the river is host to rafting trips. The staff member at the visitor station said during the spring it was advisable to wear a wet suit when running the river. Because the water from the Carolina's is often warmer than the air, she said there have been times when they would get in the water to warm up
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