When we heard about the New River Gorge 100 Mile Challenge last year, we knew that we wanted to participate. We love The Gorge, we love hiking and we love challenges, so the idea of putting in 100 miles in the calendar year seemed perfectly suited for us. We wasted no time, putting in our first 5 miles on New Year’s Day on the Fayetteville Trail.
|New Year’s Day – When 8.3 miles per month seemed like cake.|
A goal of only 8.3 miles per month seems easily attainable when the challenge was announced in late December of 2015. For us, huddled under snuggies on our couch, hot, humid summer days were like a distant memory, but as the heat and humidity increased, our hiking productivity fell. We actually didn’t log a single mile in July or August, which meant we had a lot of catching up to do once the more comfortable days of fall returned.
We also had a lot of catching up to do with our hiking peers. It seemed like everyone we knew started the Challenge like a house afire (not all of them quite like Melvin Hartley!) and we felt the pressure of falling behind in mileage to our friends Gary & Gary and Bill & Sally. But we pressed on and last Sunday we were able to complete the challenge with a final hike to Long Point. Then we immediately jumped in the car and headed over to the Canyon Rim Visitor’s Center to register our accomplishment with the authorities. There we were told that we were hikers # 108 & 109 to complete the challenge and received a nice little window sticker to officially proclaim our achievement to the world!
Kudos to the National Park Service for coming up with this challenge that motivated so many people to get out and enjoy everything the park has to offer! We really enjoyed it and I’m sure that many others did as well.
For our next hiking challenge, we’ve decided to branch out in 2017: Our goal is to have hiked in every West Virginia County by year’s end. Wish us luck!
In the meantime, here are some of our favorite photos from this year’s hiking in and around The Gorge.
|In early spring, 7 miles from Anstead to Fayette Station with friends.|
|Beautiful silver maples on Gwinn Ridge Trail|
|Sometimes it pays to get up early – The Endless Wall in September.|
|Beautiful woodland scene along the Burnwood Trail|
|This Chicken of the Woods came home with us for dinner!|
|Amy cools her feet while a deer crosses the Bluestone.|