Let’s Go Hiking!

Ok, maybe not all of us at once, that would be weird. But we should all enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. I’ve spent these last few days in the New River Gorge area in West Virginia. It is a beautiful section of our country. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves just being outside.

There are plenty of trails to choose, from the easy walk in the woods to the more challenging ones geared towards the seasoned hiker. I was able to hike two of these, both of them in the moderate range. When you actually get out and enjoy nature, its true beauty will astonish you.

The first trail I did was the Long Point Trail. This was a 3.2 mile round trip that culminated in me standing on a ledge overlooking the gorge. To my left I had an incredible view of the New River Gorge Bridge. To my right was a section of the Endless Wall. But all around me was, simply put, nature at its finest. You feel like you can see the entire world, as if you can see into forever.

The second trail was the Endless Wall itself. I ended up at Diamond Point atop the wall. This round trip was just a few miles as well. And once again, it ended with an amazing view of the gorge, but from the other side of the river this time. Seeing the bridge from a distance is awe-inspiring. A man-made structure that big, it’s hard to wrap your brain around it. The New River Gorge Bridge is the 3rd highest bridge in the country. Just driving over it is an experience.

And then we have the Bridge Walk tour. I forked over my $80 to do this. It’s a guide led tour with every safety precaution in place. You have a sturdy walkway, handrails, and you are tethered to a safety line that can hold 6,000 pounds. The guides are very well-versed in the bridge and the history of the area. This morning, on my tour, it was very windy. This added to the experience. Feeling the bridge move, all 88 million pounds of it, while standing on it must be experienced in order to appreciate it. Nervous yet? Well, don’t be. As I mentioned earlier, it’s very safe. The views up there are priceless. You can see the river wind through the gorge with the mountains around it adding to the scenery.

If you can’t make it to West Virginia, then find a place closer to home. This country has so many beautiful areas. I’ve hiked in the Appalachians in Tennessee, the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, and Clifty Falls in Indiana. Just get outdoors, it breathes life into you. So put the phone down and get off the grid for the day. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

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