|Rhododendron in bloom.|
You see, I was kind of excited! All of the sudden 2 days of unexpected adventure was unfolding before me and I had no idea where I'd end up. I just got to sit back in the passenger seat and enjoy the ride. All I had to do was say yes. So I did.
As much as I love spending time at the ashram, I needed trails along cliff tops, raging whitewater with boulders as big as houses and waking up with the excitement of a 5 year old on Christmas morning. I needed dark sky and stars that make you feel small, hodge podge history lessons from crack guides and the best smoked ribs I've ever had in my life. I needed a motley crew of welcome faces and smiling eyes- people that love wild spaces and testing their limits as much as I do and the out of the way sanctuaries that harbor that lust for life. I needed fireworks on the 4th of July.
|From the Endless Wall.|
The next morning was like Christmas! I'll try to explain this concept. Sometimes I like getting into new places when it's dark and all that's really left to do is go to sleep but I just kinda lay there too excited to doze off in anticipation of exploring the next day. When I wake up, it's like Christmas morning. You never know what you're going to get. Life is too short to not pursue the things that excite us- the places that turn us on, the situations that challenge us.
|One or two bridges?|
I'm a mom and pop kinda gal. Lucky for me, I was rafting with New and Gauley River Adventures operating out of Lansing, West Virginia. They offer various river trips ranging from a few hours to multi-day for all ages and experience plus you can camp onsite and have access to their facilities. They also offer other outdoor adventures like horseback riding, mountain biking and snowshoeing.
They are a humbly brazen crew of guides who disguise their immense knowledge and respect for the river with quick wit, humor and stories.
|Blue skies peaking through on the New.|
There's something called surfing. It's where you wedge your raft into a rapid and ride the water until it kicks you out. I could've done that all day. I mostly got to sit there and after a while, I couldn't do anything but stare into the smooth crystal clear water cascading over the bronze rocks below. Time stood still that day, cradled by the water, sunshine on my face, a smile on my lips and a home in my heart. There is no place like the wild places and the people we share them with.
|The Tipple at Nuttallburg.|
Of course, it wouldn't be the Fourth of July without a barbeque, fireworks, and a bonfire, right? To my utter delight there were gluten-free cornbread muffins. I seriously think I let out a little cry of joy at the sight of them! Cornbread just so happens to be my favorite and there it magically was- along with kind faces (human and canine) who invited me in. We watched the fireworks explode over the New River Gorge Bridge, a magnificent 3,000 and some feet steel arch that spans the raging river below. There was a bonfire later and with tired eyes we gathered around and tried to make popcorn in one of those little foil pie pans that puffs up as it pops. We failed brilliantly at the popcorn but the company was good, the night was cool, and the fire was warm so all was not lost.
|The New River.|