The second leg of our Fall 2015 search for gold meant leaving the beauty of West Virginia’s Pipestem Resort State Park for one of the state’s proudest prouds: New River Gorge Bridge. But getting there was a treat in itself.
As you know from some of our other posts, we brake for scenery — some planned, some random with a screeching, “pull-over-here” shout-out from one of us to the other. Like the stop at Bluestone Dam where we chatted with fishermen dropping lines into rushing waters. Catching anything? I asked. Whatever’ll bite, one guy said, grinning.
We most always stop where lookouts are set up by the park service — like the overlook to Sandstone Falls. We stop. Get out. Read markers. Take pictures. But here, we lingered. It was the sound of rushing water and the frame of fall colors — a welcome delay.
Next stop — our destination: New River Gorge National River. And after roaming through the National Park Service Visitor Center (highly recommend!) to take a look at the map and watch the video, we braved the wooden walkways and stairs (lots of stairs) with glimpses of the river on several levels.
And then the view opened up to what we came to see: New River Gorge Bridge. One of the longest (3030 feet) single-arch steel span bridges in the world, the New River Gorge Bridge rises 876 feet above New River — a structure that’s massive, elegant, and truly iconic.
We missed Bridge Day by a week. But from what we’ve heard and read, thousands of visitors walk across the closed-to-traffic bridge to watch jumpers parachute and to enjoy the views from a vantage point not available any other time. We stood a long while gazing at that bridge and then took our time climbing all those steps back up, stopping at almost every landing. (Not tired, of course. We just wanted to take in the autumn beauty!)
As we journeyed toward Beckley, another find presented itself: Hawks Nest State Park from a beautiful stone overlook.
As if one serendipitous find weren’t enough, a small sign on a random rural road in Greenbrier County directed us to the charming Herns Mill Bridge.
Adventures have a way of finding us when we 1) get off the beaten path and 2) keep our eyes open. And, oh yes, it helps that we have good brakes!
Hope you’ll continue our Fall Tour 2015. Next up: Colors of The Greenbrier.
And if want to see fall color next year, remember this state: West Virginia!
Bert and Rusha