Author Archives: J.Bryant Baker

A light fog slides its way in and out of the river’s gorge, drifting through the trees and then down to the water’s surface.   We push off from the rocky bank and drift as well, our path almost as unknown … Continue reading

Posted in New River Gorge | Tagged | Comments Off

The first European settlers came to make a life along the banks of the New River almost 150 years ago. In it’s “hey-day,” there were over 20 coal mining towns throughout the New River Gorge. Once thriving communities, places like Nuttallburg, Kaymoor, Caperton, and Buery are all ghost towns today. Continue reading

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We make our way along the New River’s bank, cautiously stepping from one boulder to the next. Bundles of driftwood and debris are scattered in random pockets amongst the rocks and trees, evidence of the last high water event. Our boats are securely tied just upstream, near the end of a relatively slow moving flat water pool. As we boulder hop further down stream, the chaotic mess of whitewater that minutes earlier existed just beyond the horizon of current is now coming fully into view. Continue reading

Posted in Guide Training, New River Rafting | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

I pull the strap through the buckle, tightening down the last bit of equipment into the raft. I check my gear once more . . . carabiners are locked . . . my PFD is snug. As I look out on the gentle current moving by, I can hear the trip leader finishing up their safety talk behind me. I take a long, deep, deliberate breath. Every spring, there is always that “first trip back, ” and with it usually comes some nervous energy, an anxious anticipation. But this year’s first trip carries with it a little more weight. Continue reading

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