New River Gorge 2020 Expedition

Dee and I set off for a 2 day Expedition into West Virginia and the New River Gorge National Park.  

We got a mid-morning start from Akron.  We stoped for lunch at  a cool brewery,  the  Marietta Brewing Company right on the Ohio River in Marietta.  After crossing into West Virginia and following the Kanawho River around Charleston, and through the hills we made it to the New River Gorge vicinity.  The weather was closing in with spotty thunderstorms, we worked on Plan B at the Prince, WVA Train Station.  Getting out of the heavy rain, we were able to look at the weather radar, and the local maps and figured that heading South a few miles would get us out of the strengthening  storms.  

Following county roads, we ended up at a river crossing.  After talking to a few guys fishing, they said that the road continues with what they thought were some good camping spots.  We crossed and a short way down the road found a great spot right on the river.  We set up camp, Dee started a fire and I got to work on making dinner.  Dinner tonight was beef/steak fajitas.  Using the Adventure Outback Tailgate Table was a huge help.  More surface area to cut peppers and organized cooking supplies.  

We woke up Saturday to a fun planed day.  We broke camp and head out.  First we wanted to find where this trail leads to, on the maps it shows us following upstream to a major road.  After a few stream crossings, the trail just ended.  On our way we picked up alot of trash, seam like many come down these trails to camp and have fires, but the forgot to take their empty beer cans with them.  We worked our way back out the trail and into the New River Gorge National Park.  On our way out we stoped at a station, dropped off last night garbage, and looked to get some fire wood.   No luck on the fire wood, so Dee went back to the gas station where we got wood the night before after we met up on the way to Prince, WVA, where we would start the roads through the National Park.

On the way North we spotted and Geo-Tagged potential camp spots, as we knew that a trip back here in the fall was a must.  There was by-pass through the town of Thayer.  Between Thayer and Claremont there was a land slide that took out the road, the detour was the service road of the railroad tracks.  On our way we are the land slide, and it’s going to be alot of work to get the road reconstructed.  Just past Claremont we came across as old structure, looked like some old coal loading for railroad cars.  It was fun to explore.  

Next was the train town of Thurmond, WVA.  This is a town that you have probate seen online.  It is all abandoned today, but it’s in its best of days it was a thriving town, where coal miners would cash checks at the local bank, one of the bushiest in the country, use the hotel before or on their way out of the area.  When mining closed so did the town.  Alot of the town structures  are still standing and great to see.  It’s also on the double mainline tracks for CSX Railroad, so there is alot of traffic.  

We continue our trek North.  There was slot of side trails went went to explore.  Most of these were over grown, and we had to turn around.  We also passed alot of closed gates, not sure when or if they open, but will talking to the local rangers next time we head down this way.  Once again we Geo-Tagged potential camp spots.  There is a fire tower that we didn’t get to, but can’t see eve thing the first time down here.

Next was we passed Babcock State Park.  There is a famous gris mill that we stoped and looked at.  This park was very popular and busy.  We got maps and intel if we wanted to stay here.  

Last to see was the Nuttalburg.  There is a coal chute that Henry Ford designed to get the coal from the mine to awaiting coal trains for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.   The National Park has been restoring the buildings and its quite an impressive site to see.

Driving the Fayette Loop, which is a paved road crossing under the New River Gorge Bridge for Highway US19.  It’s a fun road, but seeing the bridge is difficult as your right underneath it.  We were able to get a few good photos.  

Finding a camping location was a must.  It was getting late, both of us were getting hungry, so we continued to search for a spot.  This far North into the park, it was getting difficult to find one. We needed up finding a boat launch and there was an area just big enough to fit our Jeeps.  It was tight but we made it work.  

Dinner tonight was pizza.  I’ve seen many on YouTube make these, and it worked out well.  Figuring out how to not burn the bottom of the crust was a learning process.  It was a quick night as we had a long day exploring.  

We got an early start we have a 5 hour drive home, we followed the New River to where it joins the Kanawho River.  This was a fun drive through many small towns with gear views of the river.  

This was high pace trip, as we knew that we would come back here, so we emphasized  scatting new camp locations, and trail to explore further.

Published by Expedition Team. Overland

As a Boy Scout Eagle Scout, camping, camp fires and maps have always been a passion. After getting my professional carrier established as a Boeing 737 Captain for a Major US Airline, I was able to get back to my routes of playing in the woods, mud and building things. I got my first Jeep in 2012. It was a 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ, I did not modify it, and it had many mechanical problems, as I was a novice, and not mechanical, I sold it for a new 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited. In 2014 I installed an American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) 2.5" lift with Kelly Safari 35" tires. In 2015 I continued my build with AEV front and rear bumpers, snorkel, skid plates, and off road lights. Up until now, I did off-roading at the local Southington Off Road Park, Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania, and Badlands Park in Indiana. was an outstanding resource and I was able to make life-long friendship. In 2015 I did my first big trip with the jeep, first we stopped in Ouray, Colorado. We had two days of trails and did Imogene & Engineer Passes. I left part of myself in the San Juan Mountains and my want to return has been strong since. After Ouray, we went to Moab, Utah for Jeep Jamboree. Moab is "Jeepers Paradise". Endless miles of trails, from dirt roads to the most extreme, Moab offers endless possibilities for the Jeeper, hiker, mountain biker, everyone. Since 2015 I have returned to Moab in 2017 & 2019. In 2018, I traded in my 2013 JKU Sport for a 2018 JKU Rubicon Recon. I did this drastic move, because I was at the point in my build where I needed to upgrade my axels. I made the very difficult decision and striped as much as I could from my 2013 Jeep to move to the new jeep, as they were both the same style of jeeps; JKU's. I spent the spring and summer of 2018 to build my jeep. I once again installed an AEV 3.5" lift, 35" BFGoodrich KO2's and AEV front and rear bumpers. With this build I wanted to move from the "Rock Crawler" to an Overland build. I can still do all the difficult trail of Moab, Rubicon Trail, but also the fire roads and cover many miles full of camping and off road gear. With Overlanding in mind, I have build a cargo platform for my ARB 50q Fridge, and specific loading of the camping gear. Where is the Future? Buying an Earth Roamer and exploring as much of the country as possible? Thats a goal, but I hope in the coming years to get a roof rack, roof top tent, and then doing more Expeditions though Appalachian, Rocky Mountains, desert of New Mexico and Arizona, and the National Parks west of the Rocky Mountains.

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