THE NEW RIVER GORGE AND BRIDGE
IN WEST VIRGINIA
APRIL 18, 2010
Carl and I were driving south from Pittsburgh to Charlotte and part of the journey takes you along Route 19 through the
middle of West Virginia. In the past we'd often stopped at the visitor center on the north side of the New River Gorge and
we decided to do so again today. This time I spied a wooden walkway leading out through the forest and as we'd not been
out on it before, headed first in that direction. I don't let such things as the fact that every step I take now hurts get in my
way when it comes to photographic opportunities.
It was a beautiful day and all the myriad greens of spring, dotted with white dogwoods and the purple-pinks of the redbud
trees were lovely to look at.
There was a meadow to my right with a just-barely-leafing tree and the shape of the branches caught my eye as we got close to
the beginning of the walkway.
Redbuds were everywhere in WV. These are just across the meadow.
I took this partway down the walk and you can see the roadbed of the high bridge a bit through the central trees.
This was off the walkway to my left where you can see the top edge of the gorge across the New River.
One, alas, cannot always take pictures without others in them...though I do manage it quite often!
This is the plaque at that observation point showing the construction of the bridge. The old white bridge is below it (gone now) and later when we
drove down to go under the bridge on the right-hand side of the gorge, we weren't lower than where the base of the arch touches the side of the
gorge. That's important to give you some concept of how much deeper the gorge is than where we were on that drive and also to give an idea of
how high the roadbed is for folks (like my friend Linda) who jump OFF it with bungee cords or parachutes.
View of the bridge from the observation deck.
Looking down off the walkway at the understory of wild rhododendrons that were everywhere.
Linda bungee jumped from there when she was 18.
Wooden steps kept going down and down from the observation deck but I do sometimes have a bit of sense when it comes
to long flights of stairs. Doesn't keep me from wanting to, though.
Heading back along the walkway, which cuts back and forth through the forest so you get views of other sections of it.
The meadow and that tree again. It was such a beautiful day!
The large visitor center we were heading toward.
A maple I walked under on the sidewalk and liked the way the small leaves just coming out were mingled with the peachy-pink
of the 'windmills' that maples make in early spring...and the blue sky as a backdrop.
Redbuds near the front of the visitor center.
I took this from a Plexiglas-covered huge photo in the visitor center to show a larger view of the gorge.
This one I took out a window on the back side of the center, looking east.
This, too. There is a lot of white water rafting on the New River.
More out the window.
This was from a small balcony on the back of the center.
As was this...
This one I took out a side window of the center.
The bridge is 3,030 feet long and for many years was the longest in the world of its type. The single arch is
1,700 feet wide and now is the third largest arched bridge in the world. The roadbed is 876 feet above the
river and is still the highest vehicular bridge in the Americas and the second highest in the world (passed in
2004 when the Millau Viaduct in France was opened). It was built between June of 1974 and October of
1977 and turned what had been a 40+ minute trip from one side of the gorge to the other into one of less
than a minute. There's a 70,000 acre park around it.
The bridge and gorge have become the symbol of West Virginia and in 2005 appeared on their state quarter:
This is a file photo showing the height of the bridge and you can see the right-hand end of the arch where my little road was above.
And this is a file photo of someone base jumping off the bridge.
ON TO PAGE TWO WHERE WE DRIVE UNDER THE BRIDGE
BACK TO JO'S OTHER PLACE