New River Gorge + Flood Relief Trip

I took a trip to help out with the flood relief.  I was asked to bring fresh water, so, I loaded my truck and a trailer with 2.5 tons of bottled water.  I knew I was over loaded before I started, but I managed to distribute the weight and the drive was actually quite mellow.  Didn’t feel like I hurt the truck or the tires, and got the delivery done.  It was a good drive.

Afterwards, I did a bit of water-falling and checking out some new places.  I’m going to link to my website for trail descriptions and photos, so as not to congest this post with too much, but, I saw a lot, met a friend, and got a lot of new pics and info for the website.

First off was the drop off.  Fayette County Emergency Management Agency was utilizing the now defunct Nutall Middle School in Lookout, W.V.,  as a drop off spot.  When I got there, the line was out to the street.  Mostly it was single vehicles with personal donations, a couple of Humvees from the WVANG, and a poor guy from Michigan with the Red Cross whose vehicle broke down.  His tranny quit.  I felt for him, but he was cool with it and expected that the Charleston office was going to resolve the issue and send him home.

Here’s some pics of the drop off spot.  Lots of great people helping.

After checking into the hotel and dumping the trailer, I went off to find some new places.  I traveled to Prince for a few shots of the wonderful art deco terminal, then up McKendrie Road to visit Dowdy Falls, which, like the last attempt, was a bust.  After that, I drove a short ways to Glade Creek and did the walk up to the falls, and so glad I did.  It was beautiful.  I did almost step on a freaking copperhead that was about two feet from me as I walked the trail.  It’s funny how you never see the buggars until it’s too late.  I dropped my tripod and went back to take a shot.  By the time I was ten feet away, he shot off the edge of the trail like a bullet and I got nothing.  They are amazingly fast.

Next morning I was off to Coal Run.  I had been impressed by the photos I had seen of the big falls on Coal Run.  It wasn’t hard to find and is actually viewable from the roadside, but getting down in the creek is a whole nuther matter and I couldn’t figure it.  It would have been difficult at best, so I let it go.  I did, however, go to the bottom where I was rewarded with some nice water features.

After Coal Run, I stopped in at Butcher’s Branch Trail and hiked down to the falls.  I was really excited to see Butcher’s Branch because of the wonderful image by Bobbie Swan that I featured on my site.  Unfortunately, things have changed since Bobbie shot her fantastic image, but it was still a great hike and I was impressed being in the presence of the falls.

Later in the afternoon, I met up with someone I know, who just happened to have planned her trip to WV a while ago.  (Mine was spur of the moment because of the flooding).  Anyway,  it was her first visit, so I showed her the visitor center and then we spent an hour messing around trying to get down Fayette Station Road, which had been washed out by the flood.  I finally defaulted to what I know and we visited the falls on Laurel Creek along Beckwith Rd. and then down to Cathedral Falls in Gauley Bridge.  After that we went down into Dunloup Creek and Thurmond, where I shot a fall I hadn’t seen before and also found another on private property which I definitely want to shoot some day.   Additionally, we identified a future hike up Meadow Fork, which is located just before the parking for the Rend Trail.

The following day was what can only be described as a “barn burner”.  My friend, Ina, had an agenda.  Falls of Hills Creek, Sandstone Falls, Pipestem Falls, and Babcock State Park.  I didn’t think there was anyway in the world we would get all that in, but we did and even caught a sunset at Babcock.  Not all the pics in the links above are from that day’s travels, but only from the places.  New to me were Pipestem and Falls of Hills Creek.  I was not at all excited about Hills Creek as I had heard about the stairs down to the falls, and the tales were no exaggeration.  It was a difficult time coming back up, but once done, seemed like much ado about nothing.  After some Cajun cuisine at a local Fayetteville eatery, (Andouille sausage Po Boy with some red beans and rice.  Pretty good, but no beer.  They didn’t have their license yet. :-(>).  I was pretty well done.  Long day.  Five hours or more of just driving.  I was surprised we managed to fit all those falls in, because I wondered off at Sandstone for quite awhile.  Great day.

Saturday, I headed out around 6:30 AM.  I had a trailer to deal with and didn’t know how I was going to negotiate the next waterfall/creek location.   I knew there was parking and a river access at the bottom, but never having been down this road, I was quite nervous hauling my rig down this narrow dirt road.  I was right to be concerned, but lucked out and didn’t run across anyone on the way down.  I unhooked the trailer and parked it while I went back up the road to shoot.  Unfortunately, I met a lot of people, also with trailers, coming down, as I was leaving.  But, we were all gentlemen and worked it out.

Not having the trailer allowed me to drive back up the road and park on the side to stop and shoot a few falls and creek features.  It’s a beautiful place, this Mill Creek in Ansted, W.V.  I had been wanting to go down there for a long while, ever since I first saw Fred Wolfe’s shots of this creek.  He’s a master, and I think I have taken a lesson from this man when it comes to shooting nature and especially waterfalls.  I think he’s a master.

If any of you are planning a water-falling adventure to West Virginia, I hope you will check out my website for some good information.  Additionally, check out the Facebook page for West Virginia Waterfalls.  There’s a lot of info there as well.

I also have an adventure map on Google.  It’s not West Virginia centric, but you can zoom into any state that I have tags in and get some information, if not specific information.  Used in conjunction with my website for West Virginia Waterfalls, I’m sure you will find it a useful resource when adventuring in the Wild and Wonderful State of West Virginia.  Have fun and shoot me questions if you have them.


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