Saturday, October 12, 2013

New River Gorge

When we road tripped to Chattanooga two weeks before the wedding, we made a brief stop at New River Gorge in West Virginia. It is such a beautiful place; one day we intend to go there just to camp and enjoy the outdoors. 

The New River Gorge Bridge, built in the 1970's, is the third longest single-arch bridge in the world. When it was built, it was the world's longest. Though it is hard to tell from this photo, it is also very high: 876 feet above the river. That means the Statue of Liberty could stack twice on top of the Washington Monument under the bridge and there would still be room to spare! 

You can get a bit more perspective from this photo; look how small the old bridge across the river looks here in the bottom left. 

This section of the New River is famous for its white water rapids. The river drops 200 feet in 14 miles, producing some of the best rapids in North America. 

Abandoned mine tunnels in the hill posed a major structural problem, and engineers had to design special supports for the bridge. 

Though these photos were taken last month, they are now timely. Next weekend, New River Gorge holds its annual Bridge Day Festival, which is the biggest event in the region and brings in close to one million dollars in revenue each year. During the festivities, the bridge is closed to vehicle traffic, and it is the only day people are permitted to walk on the bridge. People come from all over, some to participate in BASE jumping and rappelling. This year, there will be 22 teams of 16 people from all over the country and two teams from Canada rappelling from the bridge to the valley below. 

This wooded walkway led part way down the gorge to the observation deck from which we took our photos. 

Being surrounded by greenery was a pleasant break from being in the car all day. 

I'm sure all these leaves are being painted with Fall's colors now. 

We stopped to look at interesting plants. 

If you are in West Virginia, have a safe and happy Bridge Day! We'll look forward to our next visit to New River Gorge. 


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