New River Gorge
Trip Start Aug 31, 2010
20Trip End Jan 04, 2011
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Where I stayed
We're camping at the truly unique Cooter's Campground. It's very peaceful - apart from the omnipresent sounds of crickets, a rooster, chickens, cows, birds singing and the occasional round of dogs barking and the whistle of a train in the gorge at night. The campsite has all mod cons in the luxurious bath house, a water tap only yards from our secluded clearing in the trees, our own picnic table and campfire ring, and at the moment, we're the only campers there! Cooter zips about in his electric buggy and keeps us stocked up with firewood. All this for only $12 a night, with the 7th night free!
This area is beautiful. The New River Gorge is spectacular - about 300m deep - and the bridge across it is the 2nd longest single span in the world. The gorge is heavily wooded, but every time you get a clearing the views are amazing, although quite scary when you're standing near the edge of the canyon rim!
For those of you interested in the climbing, it's hard, grainy, featured sandstone. The cliffs are big - mostly about 30m - and usually shaded by trees, which is good because the daytime temperatures are still in the mid to upper 70s (about 23 degrees C). The only problem is that they're HARD! Well, either that or we're even more unfit than we thought we were. Actually, the other problem is that because they're in gorges, you hike down to them, which means a long hike back up again at the end of the day.
In case you're worried about whether we're staying well fed - no fear! The well stocked hamper of goodies from Sinnet has come in handy and we've managed to rustle up some good food on the camping stove that Amanda's Dad lent us - after cooking on a Trangia for years, having 2 rings is the height of luxury! We visited a local farmers' market and bought a small bag of vegetables for only 50 cents, and that evening we tried fried green tomatoes for the first time ever (Amanda loved them, Darrell wasn't too keen). We've supplemented the camping meals with a visit to Pies & Pints, a legendary pizza restaurant, and the Cathedral Cafe (which is in an old church) where we had a HUGE breakfast on our rest day (we had pancakes, French toast, lashings of maple syrup and endless cups of coffee, plus free internet access for 2 hours and very friendly service for only $15/£10).
Thank you all for your comments - it's a really good feeling when even though we're so far away we feel like we're still in touch with friends and family back at home. Keep 'em coming!