Yesterday morning a few coworkers and I headed to New River Gorge for a white water rafting trip. We boarded a bus at Hawks Nest State Park and drove 25 minutes or so to a little town called Fayetteville in the heart of West Virginia. We were the guest of the NCNR (National Committee for the New River) and the NARR (North American River Runners). The NARR is a commercial rafting company that specializes in rafting tours of the New and Gauley Rivers. The NCNR was on a tour of the entire river, from North Carolina to West Virginia.
We entered the river on the outskirts of Fayetteville. I'd say it was close to 7 or 8 nautical river miles from the famous New River Gorge Bridge (the second highest bridge in the world). We passed through a few "warm-up" rapids that were appropriately named. We were even allowed to jump out of the boat and float through a set of rapids that were anything but dangerous, but interesting enough to get some adrenaline pumping. We stopped for a quick lunch and then headed back in the river.
The real fun was approaching. For the next two hours we paddled through a series of rapids that some would consider class threes and fours. Rafters have a scale that ranks their rapids anywhere between a class one and a class six. A class one rapid is the smallest, requiring little skill. A class six rapid is the most dangerous. According to our tour guide, you have a 50% chance to come out of a class six rapid alive. So, needless to say, class three and four rapids were highly entertaining to me.
After passing under the New River Gorge Bridge and a quick stop to enjoy the festivities at "Jump Rock" (yeah, I jumped) we came to the end of our trip. Our raft was then hooked up to a motorboat and escorted the next 4 miles back to Hawks Nest State Park where we took an air tram up the hill to the lodge.
My first rafting trip was an enjoyable one. We all came away unscathed... unless you count the ridiculous sunburns and sore muscles. So if anyone's interested in taking a rafting trip, let me know. I'd be more than willing to do it again.