The Good

10 years ago, Alice and I went on a whirlwind tour of southern England.  It solidified our friendship and despite the physical distance between us, we’ve kept in touch quite well through the years.  Since Europe, we always said we’d do a reunion tour in 2014, something just as epic and fun.  2014 became a running line with us: “Ohhh, maybe we can do that in 2014!”  “X more years til 2014!”

Well, 2014 is here.  While we didn’t have the money to hop across the pond or go international, we decided to meet halfway in between our home cities.  Our plan was to meet in Charleston, West Virginia and hike New River Gorge (it’s that place with the big arched bridge that’s famous).  We’re both outdoorsy people with a flair for adventure.  It was perfect!

Now, I’ve only driven through West Virginia.  We figured it would boring, but downtown Charleston was quite fun.  We spent the day wandering around; it was a beautiful, scenic, and well kept city.  We had an amazing (and affordable!) dinner here and then got dessert here, which just made the night.  We had a bit of map adventure trying to reach these places, but as it always is with Alice and I, the journey is more important than the destination.  We also stayed at a semi-posh hotel right in the heart of the city with a beautiful view of the river.

The next day, we headed to the gorge to hike the mountains.

The New River Gorge Bridge (its on the back of the West Virginia quarter)

The New River Gorge Bridge (its on the back of the West Virginia quarter)

A secret waterfall off the beaten path

A secret waterfall off the beaten path

We hiked up the mountain, down the mountain, and around the mountains.  It was so gorgeous, a vastly different environment from my sea level home.  Off one of the trails we found this waterfall – if you look closely you’ll see a woman in a pink top – that’s me! – I decided to be crazy and climb up this waterfall.  It felt so good to be on the rocks again!

We had a picnic lunch of Kind Bars, Cliff Bars, and water here, with the river far down below us:

"The Lord provided this rock," said Alice of our lunch spot.

“The Lord provided this rock,” said Alice of our lunch spot.

Overall, it was such a wonderful experience to share with a dear friend.  We decided after this hike, we’d go see Sandstone Falls on the other side of the park.

And that’s when the real adventure began.