The Mountainous Beauties of West Virginia
On Day #28 of our 30-day, 9376 mile, road trip to see more of America we visited both the New River Gorge Bridge and the Grandview Park in Fayetteville and Beckley West Virginia.
The New River Gorge Bridge is a 3,031 foot long bridge that’s 876 feet above the New River. When construction was completed on 22 October 1977 the drive across the gorge was reduced from 45 minutes on winding mountain roads to less than a minute. The bridge is the longest steel span bridge in the Western Hemisphere and the third highest bridge in the United States, and is made out of Cor-ten steel, which has a rust-like appearance that doesn’t need painting. The bridge was even selected as the image for West Virginia on the 2006 commemorative State Quarter series released by the US Mint.
73,000-acres of the West Virginia canyon was designated as the “New River Gorge National River” in 1978, and will be upgraded to “National Park and Preserve” in 2021; one of only five such designations from the National Park Service (the other 4 are all in Alaska: Denali, Glacier Bay, Katmai and Wrangell-St. Elias). Although this new designation will create a 7,021-acre park in the center of the gorge around the existing Visitor’s Center, and will designate the other 65,165 acres as a national preserve which will allow for backcountry hunting, the management of what will become the 63rd US National Park should essentially be the same as it was for the river.
Located approximately 40 miles (~50 minutes) South of the New Gorge Bridge (six miles after getting off of I-64 at Exit 129) is the 52 acre Grandview Park. Built in 1939 as a day park, and significantly upgraded by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) who built roads, shelters, and a picnic area during the Great Depression, the park provides some of the most dramatic views of the New River and is a popular place for hiking and sightseeing. Originally part of the West Virginia State Park system, it was transferred to the National Park Service in 1990. From the Main Overlook, which is 1,400 feet above the river, you can see more than seven miles of the New River and its surrounding forests. There are even better views from the Turkey Spur Path. Wildlife abounds and the vistas are pristine.
The New River Gorge Bridge is a stunning architectural achievement and the views of it, and those in the Grandview Park are spectacular – well worth the trip (click on any photo to start the slideshow):
If you want to learn more about the New River Gorge Bridge and Grandview Park here are a few links to check out:
Great Article from Outdoor Explorer
This week has been a busy week for our readers since we’ve had several of them reach out with comments or links to articles complementary to gear write-ups and blog posts on our website.
The latest was Louis from Outdoor Explorer, a new Australian website all about camping and the great outdoors. Louis had recently read our blog post about The “Outdoor Code”, “Leave No Trace” and Low Impact Camping and reached out to share his article about the 8 Benefits of Camping – Why It’s Fun AND Good For You.
We thought that Louis’ article had some great information – to include links to detailed references for each of the 8 benefits he cites – so we thought that we would pass it on.
All of us that love the outdoors know that being in the outback, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday city or suburban life, is invigorating and makes us feel better. But, as Louis’ article asks, what can you tell a friend that’s reluctant to head outside to convince them that “camping is not only fun, but also great for boosting your mood, lowering stress, building relationships and generally improving your overall health!” To help you solve that problem Louis “put together this list of the 8 major benefits of camping” so that you can “shoot it off to your friends that are having trouble finding the motivation to leave their creature comforts behind and go camping with you!”
The 8 benefits that Louis cites are:
To get all the details on these 8 camping benefits you should head on over to Outdoor Explorer and read the whole article.
We certainly agree with the article’s conclusions that:
So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors - and take a friend that needs a little convincing with you.
Best Pocket Knife Article from Sport Fitness Advisor
Last week Ray, one of the editors from Sport Fitness Advisor, dropped us a line to comment on some of the information that we have on our HCS website about knives. In his note Ray included a link to an article that they had recently published about Pocket Knives - to include their thoughts on the:
Although we’re not convinced that their pick of the Elk Ridge Personalized knife would be our pick for the best knife (but then that's the beauty of looking at and reviewing gear since it all depends on what you plan on using it for and what your specific selection criteria are), we really liked all the detailed FAQ explanations that they included in their article - especially since one of the things we always try to do is to detail the criteria we use to select our gear - and why we like the gear we eventually purchase.
The Sport Fitness Advisor article includes some great explanations on:
You can read the entire "Best Pocket Knife" article from Sport Fitness Advisor here.
In closing here’s our two cents on the best pocket knife topic. As you can see on our website’s Hiking and Camping pages we have several knives (and other bladed tools) for different jobs - but our favorite pocket knife is our Case Cutlery 135 Case Slimline Trapper. We also love our Buck 110 Auto.
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