January 19, 2020

The New River Gorge and Grandview

Over Fall Break last year, a portion of my dads side of my family were all able to meet in Beckley, West Virginia for a white water rafting trip. My dad had been planning to take us here for years based on some white water trips he’d been on in the past. The Gauley River is some of the best white water in the United States and only has a six week season when you can paddle it.


Jason and I wanted to do some adventuring out there before everyone else got there, and we started to do our research. We quickly found out about the New River Gorge. Ya’ll this place is freaking gorgeous. Like how had I never heard of this area with it being so close?!

Grandview is an overlook of a horseshoe bend in the New River and we read that it was one of the destinations for landscape and night photography in the state. We decided to drive up to the park late the night before so I could try my hand at my first night/astro and sunrise shoot.

Before we left I’d researched the new shooting situations I would be in, learned some, and knew I was shooting without of a lot of preferential gear to help.  However still, shooting at night presented all these issues I hadn’t really thought of. Like how in the world do you focus? Full disclosure – I never used the manual focus on this new to me Sigma lens I got for my birthday so I didn’t even know how. *yikes* So, I spent a lot of time in the freezing cold darkness on Google. I’ve got some more to learn about the night sky and how it works with cameras.

There were a few other photographers who showed up right before sunrise, and I didn’t want to be Googling next to them. We knew there were a few other overlooks not to far beyond where we were.  So as the sun rose fully, we hiked on to find them.

The All Trails app was a little misleading, and we wound up not at another overlook, but below one. I wasn’t necessary mad.

We hiked back and met a very nice park ranger thrilled to tell us about his park. He let us in on the secret about how to get to the other overlook. It was simply just up off of a road not too far, but no one else was there. What an incredible view!!

We poked around the park a bit more and then headed out to Beckley, ate at Chili’s, showered at Planet Fitness, and took a lap around Dicks Sporting Goods before meeting up with the fam. The rest of the weekend was spend white water rafting, zip lining, eating, and catching up with family I don’t get to see often enough.

Photos Courtesy of ACE Adventure Resort and Dad


We cleaned the cabin and ended the weekend with one last meal together at Tutors Biscuit World, the most glorious breakfast place in that tiny mountain town. We said our good bye and headed back to our own corners of the country.


There is never enough time to spend outside with those lovely humans.



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