After two months locked in my apartment, amidst a pandemic, I made an escape to West Virginia to see my friend Rhett. We took a couple trips out to New River Gorge, and after the past couple months I'd never so appreciated open air.
I've been to the gorge many times. About an hour southeast of Charleston, last summer Rhett and I went whitewater rafting on the river. Years ago I'd ventured to Thurmond, a ghost town that once boomed along the C & O.
But this time we spent a day hiking up on the ridge, looking across the rocky walls encasing the river and the New River Gorge Bridge spreading across the horizon. Then we spent another day hiking along the bottom of the gorge, looking for fishing spots on the pebbled shores.
It feels like a rainforest, at times, when you're in the depths of the gorge. There's an unmistakable presence to the Appalachians. Experiencing it again, particularly after the apartment lockdown, left me yearning. So a few weeks later I rented a cabin in Boone, and headed back to the Blue Ridge mountains...