Baby, it’s hot out there! I’m talking about the New River Gorge in West Virginia. Y’know, the big backyard for our cabin rentals.
I remember when I made the move here in 1992 from Central Florida. My dad and I rented the box truck, loaded it and made the trip. It was July and it was H-O-T in the old F-L-A. When we arrived here, the temperatures were in the high 70’s, and dad was digging for his sweatshirts and long pants. We were only here for a day or two before we headed back, just long enough to unload the truck.
The mountains of the New River area are usually a cool retreat from the hot south. Even when the temperatures are in the 90’s you can always find relief in the shade of the hemlocks or an old maple. Mom and dad would come for several weeks during the summer to visit, and when the temps went up you could find dad in the shade of the big maple in the front yard. He was always amazed at how much cooler it was there. “It’s gotta be twenty degrees cooler under here” he’d say, and invite me under to sit a while.
There are plenty of cool things to do here when the heat is on.
One hot afternoon on the way home I decided to take a drive down to Fayette Station, just for kicks. When I got there I ran into some friends who were cooling off in the river. I kicked off my shoes and joined them in the water. We floated and caught up since it had been a while. Floating with friends is a pretty cool way to spend an afternoon.
Summersville lake is another cool spot that’s close to Opossum Creek Retreat. There are some great swimming holes, and you can enjoy the cool clear water of the lake, fed by the Gauley River. My daughter Al and I have had some great times playing in the water at Battle Run Camping area and beach.
Of course a whitewater rafting trip will give you plenty of opportunities to get wet and cool down. That always helps beat the heat. On the Lower New River there are a few long pools that are great for swimming alongside the boat. And if a more controlled environment is what your after the Fayette County Park has a pool that offers some refreshing public swimming, and lifeguards too.
There are also plenty of hiking trails that wind through the heavily forested areas of the New River Gorge. Remember “it’s gotta be twenty degrees cooler under here,” from my dad? Fern Creek trail is a “cool” walk with some beautiful views of the gorge.
So, when it gets too hot where you are, come try the New River Gorge National River. It’s our backyard. And we’re pretty sure it will quench the fire.