Tag Archives: Endless Wall

Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Other Galleries

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Epilogue

Interestingly enough, I wasn’t the only one on this adventure.

And, thankfully for everyone, some of the other adventurers are excellent photographers.  You may have noticed that, while leafing through the various pictures that I posted, I don’t feature in a whole lot of them.  Funny, that.  Turns out that being behind the camera (or cell phone, in this case) is pretty non-conducive to being in the photos themselves.  I tried for some selfies… but let’s be honest.  The front-facing camera isn’t really doing my beautiful face justice.

Thankfully, those other excellent photographers also had cameras.  And some of those cameras are really good!

 

So please.  Sit back, relax, forgive us for any repetitions that you might see, and enjoy Daniel’s rather massive photo gallery.

 

Link:  https://photos.danielbostwick.com/Public/New-River-Gorge-2018/

Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Friday, 01-June

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Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Friday, 01-June

A West Virginia adventure – Spring Break in the New River Gorge, 2018

Saturday, 26-May, through Saturday, 02-June, 2018

 

Life is old there, older than the trees. Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze. Country roads, take me home… to the place, I belong! West Virginia, Mountain momma… take me home, country roads.”

I’m pretty sure that the first real spring break I ever had was with Daniel, years ago, when we drove down to the New River Gorge to climb, and attend the New River Rendezvous. Since that year, we’ve done our best to always link up and go on some glorious climbing trip on or around Memorial Day. This year was a tough one, with Sarah breaking her leg, but she insisted that I go anyways, and let her live vicariously through me as she convalesed at home. I’d already cleared the week as vacation with my boss, even before I was hired for the project, so I was free and clear for a throwback adventure…

 

 

 

Friday

Our last full day dawned, and we gorged on bacon, eggs, and sausage. Tradition is comforting, especially in the face of imminent flights, long drives, and significantly decreased climbs per day. Breakfast was no exception, so we helped ourselves feel better by having a glorious spread to put on the table.

 

Our goal for the day was Orange Oswald, and some hiking afterward – We’d been to Orange once or twice, depending on who you’re talking to (twice for Brian and I, once for everyone else), but the combination of hard routes and interesting moderate routes was perfect for us… and the fact that it has a max-rated 5.10a was definitely a pretty major draw for us. It did take a little bit of convincing for the group, since everyone was pretty tired out after a full week of adventure, but hey. That’s totally fair, and in the end we had a plan that everyone liked.

We drove out! In two cars! It… wasn’t that exciting, I’ll be honest.

Then we parked! With two cars! It also wasn’t particularly exciting.

The hike in was also non-exciting. It was more exciting than the driving or parking though, so… that’s a plus? Also, definitely a good warm up before climbing.

Which… it turned out we sort of needed! Because rain!

 

Daniel was already on the route when the skies opened up. I was racking up and getting ready to start onto my route. He was on a powerful 5.9, and I was on the highest rated 5.7 in the New. Daniel kept going, but I was unsure… climbing in the rain is pretty difficult and unpleasant at the best of times… leading on these routes was definitely a daunting task.

For me, at least. For Daniel… not so much. Maybe he’s a badass. He was halfway up, so maybe he just figured it was better to press onward. Either way, he battered onward, ignoring the rain and pulling through powerful move after powerful move.

Do you think I stood back, and let him show me up like that?

Absolutely. I was scared. Rain is scary when climbing, man. But after a minute or two the rain started noticably tapering off, and that was the sign that I needed. I don’t like letting Daniel one-up me if I can help it, so as soon as I felt positive that I could climb the route safely, I was blasting off trying to catch up.

 

The route honestly wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected – the rain had been pretty heavy, but thankfully hadn’t really seeped into the rock, and since it was partially shielded by the foliage that left me with very climbable terrain. Very enjoyable, even though I’d already done this exact route four times earlier in the trip. Just because you’ve done a route before, doesn’t make it any less fun.

The rest of the climbing was even better – the route Daniel had set up was a super fun challenge, with big moves on a really interesting sequence. And that’s even before we got to climb the namesake route for the wall, Orange Oswald…

  • Hippy Dreams, 5.7, Lead – Yep, the same route as before. Still super fun, even in the rain.
  • Chunko Goes Bowling, 5.9+, TR – This route was glorious. Interesting start, powerful moves, and a wandering sequence led to sustained, super pleasant climbing. It was tough going for everyone else though, so definitely a route that takes a lot of power.
  • Orange Oswald, 5.10a, TR – Ohh man. The samesake for the wall, this route was tough and fun. I’m glad I didn’t lead it… but ohh man I want to lead it.

The climbing did take a while, but after everyone got their fill of pulling on rocks, we packed up and headed toward our next adventure – actually hiking the endless wall trail that I had aimed for the day before!

 

Since everyone was pretty exhausted, we hadn’t planned on spending the whole day climbing – as a trade to accommodate low energy reserves, we rolled out, parked, and headed in to finish up the hike that I’d started yesterday.

We didn’t go directly though – we did stop in at the visitor’s center first. Originally just to grab some more water and use the restrooms, but after looking around for a minute we decided to spend the 11minutes to watch their history of the Gorge video.

And honestly? I’d recommend it to anyone visiting the New River Gorge. It was partially propaganda for the forest service… but hey. They made the movie, I can’t blame them. The rest was really interesting and informative though, specifically about the origins of the Gorge, industry, and how it was settled.

 

With the movie fresh in our minds, we headed out onto the hike to get some good views of the entire area. I’m still a bit unconvinced that USA Today is right about it being the best hike in the US… but hey. The trail definitely had some pretty impressive overlooks, so that’s pretty cool, right?

Honestly, the hiking was pretty straight forward. We descended the ladders once as a group, but since Daniel and I were the only ones really interested in the cliffs, he and I were the only ones who descended the second time, after the overlooks.

I should quickly mention the photoshoot that occurred a the overlook, though… It was pretty impressive. And it happened twice, since we found two really beautiful overlooks. Now, don’t think that we didn’t enjoy the views! We definitely took our time appreciating the impressive panoramas around us! But we did also take time to pose. Repeatedly. A lot. Everyone. Like… just… so many poses.

It was really fun.

But yeah. Descending. Daniel and I did that. Erin, Lauren and Thomas continued on while we descended the Honeymooner’s ladder, with Brian hanging out at the top taking pictures and keeping watch (Against bears? I assume?). But that meant that the three of us were pretty far behind the others… which clearly meant that we needed to run!

And you can’t run without singing cadence, right? Right.

But… none of us have been in the military. We don’t actually know any cadence songs.

So, instead, we made stuff up. They were great. I’m not going to admit to any of them here. But trust me. Great. Super intelligent, and not poorly rhymed at all. Just trust me.

Once we caught up, it started raining. I mean, not immediately after we caught up, of course, because that would have been creepy. But pretty soon after. So we threw on what rain gear we had and hustled out.

 

Why did we hustle?

Well, we didn’t want to get too soaked… but let’s be honest. If you’re more than 10min from the cars, you’re going to get as wet as you can get, and hustling won’t help you one way or the other.

The real reason was dinner. Once we were in the cars, we could drive home. And once we were home, we could get changed. And once we were changed… well, once we were changed we could drive to eat BBQ!!!

 

Our goals always involved getting good BBQ – from the first time Daniel and I visited West Virginia, this has always been pretty critical to our trips. And back then, we’d found the ideal place to go; it was a shack by the side of the road, with a few beat up smokers outside slowly cooking away next to an old truck or two. And it was called Dirty Ernies. So, you know. That’s the kind of place that you can trust to have some legit, down-home delicious BBQ.

Dirty Ernies had closed, though.

Instead, there was Firecreek BBQ and steakhouse.

Firecreek was… well, it wasn’t Dirty Ernies. The pictures looked upscale, and the website made it look like the place you’d go to on a Sunday night after going to church. But as they say, it was the only game in town… so we all got dressed up and headed over for our last night in the West Virginian mountains.

 

Ohh my lord did we eat. While Firecreek doesn’t quite have the je ne sais quoi of Dirty Ernies, it still had damn good food. I ordered the trio: brisket, ribs, and chicken, and I absolutely didn’t regret it.

  • The ribs were some of the best baby back ribs I’ve ever eaten, no exaggeration. We’re not talking “fall-off-the-bone”, we’re talking “try to pick up a bone and it cleanly slides out”, tender.
  • The brisket was glorious; not over seasoned, but perfectly flavored. Not as impressively good as the ribs, but still amazing.
  • The chicken… ehh, it was BBQ chicken. I’ll be honest, after the other two it was definitely a let down. It was a bit dry, and not super flavorful… but that might just be because of how good the other two were.
  • Brownie a la mode – YUP, we had dessert. It was awesome.
  • West Virginia Mule – Like a Moscow Mule, but with Bourbon. It was awesome.

 

After gorging (heh, gorging in the New River Gorge), we rolled our way home. We were supposed to make an early evening of it, just packing up and going to bed, but ended up staying awake a lot longer, just hanging out and talking.

Trips like this are always too quick; no matter how much time we spend exploring and adventuring, it never seems like enough, and I always leave wishing that I’d been able to hang out with people a bit more.

Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Thursday, 31-May

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Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Thursday, 31-May

A West Virginia adventure – Spring Break in the New River Gorge, 2018

Saturday, 26-May, through Saturday, 02-June, 2018

 

Life is old there, older than the trees. Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze. Country roads, take me home… to the place, I belong! West Virginia, Mountain momma… take me home, country roads.”

I’m pretty sure that the first real spring break I ever had was with Daniel, years ago, when we drove down to the New River Gorge to climb, and attend the New River Rendezvous. Since that year, we’ve done our best to always link up and go on some glorious climbing trip on or around Memorial Day. This year was a tough one, with Sarah breaking her leg, but she insisted that I go anyways, and let her live vicariously through me as she convalesed at home. I’d already cleared the week as vacation with my boss, even before I was hired for the project, so I was free and clear for a throwback adventure…

 

Thursday

Thursday.
A sad day.
A day without climbing.
The saddest of days.

It started out well enough; I woke up and, per what’d become a very pleasant “normal”, made bacon and eggs. Or… sausage and eggs, if I recall. They were really good. Then the sad bit: everyone headed out to go rafting, and I stayed in to write and nap for a bit. I’m not a huge fan of white water rafting, honestly… not only was it fairly expensive, but it’s just not my jam… as far as activities go. Not a huge fan of water, of swimming, or of being out of control. And, funny story, rafting has all of those things in spades.

So instead, I went hiking and scouting.

Specifically, I drove out toward Lower Meadow wall, to check out a specifically beautiful 5.14a called Mango Tango.

But… after spending 15min looking for the parking lot, I gave up. I’d planned on parking on the side of the highway, but when it came time to actually do so, I decided that was silly and dangerous, and instead I’d park at the official parking lot. Which… is invisible? Maybe? I don’t know, man. I couldn’t find it.

I moved on to my next destination: the Endless Wall. A massive fortification of stone, a rock face 3 miles long, consistently 80ft tall, and covered in brutally hard routes.

I started on the far Eastern side of the cliff, planning on hiking the whole wall and then following the Endless Wall trail (a nationally renowned hiking path) back to the car.

I met a guided group. They were cool. They told me where I was, and gave me a bit of information about there area… but we mostly left each other alone. Since, you know, they were guiding people.

I explored an open-air museum for the abandoned nuttall mine. There were placards and rusted buildings, and mine cars with plants growing out of them.

 

I hiked West bound, and ran out of trail repeatedly. Let’s talk about this bit for a second: The New River Gorge has between two and three gagillion routes. And I found an entire section of cliff with almost no routes. No joke – I didn’t see more than two or three bolt lines for hundreds of yards along the cliff bottom. There’s so much room for development here, you don’t even know.

After I got turned around and I lost the trail for the fifth time – I could have kept bushwacking my way through… but my guidebook mentioned something about a “sea of poison ivy, hip height in summer” that made me slightly cautious about continuing. Instead of risking ichy devastation, I turned around.
Then I tried to stop at the general store for lunch. They were closed, which made me sad and hungry.

Sadness and hunger were drowned out by parking at the next trailhead, and starting into what USA Today called the best hike in the country. Instead of getting food. Which was a decision. I’m not quite sure I agree that this is the absolute best hike in the United States, but it was definitely quite pretty – I got some really awesome views, and that’s even before I descended three ladders, a cave, and a few short drops to get down to the base of the cliffs.

The trail around the bottom of the cliffs was amazing – It reminded me of the Gunks, but with smoother rock. Cliffs towering a hundred or more feet above me, continuing on unbroken for miles. I never did make it to the far end (or even the sea of poison ivy), but I did very much enjoy the hike and exploration.

After exploring the cliffs, the rest of my day was pretty simple and boring – I got lunch at Burger King (because I wanted to), picked up some groceries, and hung out with everyone at the house. Nothing particularly exciting, except for maybe the volume of food that I bought at BK, though dinner was really good – Lauren and Thomas cooked up some burgers and bratwurst, which we gorged on while washing it down with some pretty excellent beer.

A good rest day.