The Secret To Paddling The New RiverJuly 9, 2009
If you come to the New River Gorge for a visit, it’s a good bet that you’ll want to see the river. And by “see”, we mean “do”, of course. More specifically, “paddle”.
Paddling the river has some prerequisites. The place you’ll be going is, after all, a national park, and you’ll need to be ready. And there’s the secret.
If you take just a little time to plan your day on the river, you’ll be so much happier. Trust us on this. A little preparedness goes a long way. It’s worth going over a few things before your trip, just to make sure you’re covering all the bases.
Here things to check off your list before heading to the river:
Know Your Outfitter There are lots of raft companies in the gorge, and each one has a different personality. Look through our links, and go over several before deciding on one. Many offer additional activities to add after your trip is done.
Get Your Timing Down Did you know that you could avoid crowds on the river even on the busiest day of the year? Timing is hugely important when it comes to booking your trip. Go for the earliest or latest trips of the day if you want the river to yourself. Book mid-morning if you want a lot of people around for atmosphere.
Understand The Sections Each outfitter can walk you through this, but there are basically four sections of river around the gorge. In ascending order of difficulty, they are: Upper New, Lower New, Lower Gauley, Upper Gauley. Remember, the point is always to have fun- pick the section that’s appropriate for your group.
Come Early, Stay Late The one guaranteed way to destroy a white water vacation is to rush things. Everyone’s time is short, so it’s understandable; it’s just unfortunate. The way to enjoy the river is to take your time and relax. Come a day early and stay the day after. Once you get here, you’ll be on river time.
Take It All In Rafting is best enjoyed loudly. If you yell, scream, and have fun, you’re doing it right. Do everything you have the chance to do- swim, surf, explore. Get the video, buy the T-shirt. There’s a lot to experience down on the river; make sure you get all of it.