Cunard, West Virginia
Camping. Not Glamping.
We spent the weekend at "our" spot in West Virginia. More specifically, at Cunard, West Virginia and the Brooklyn Campground. Unbeknownst to us before last year, the New River Gorge area in West Virginia is a world class destination for adventure: hundreds of sport and trad rock climbing routes, class IV white water rapids on the New and nearby Gauley River, mountain biking trails, and hikes - all with panoramic views of never ending forest, rising up from the path the New cuts through it all.
We started coming to this particular camp spot last summer. It's quite frankly off any beaten path - hard to find, difficult to navigate (there's no address, so forget Google mapping your way here), and very much lacking in cell service. If those things aren't enough to lure you to go camping, it's also free (we don't pay to camp - sorry, we just don't). We actually enjoy how far removed it feels and there are three nearby biking / hiking trails, of which we've now completed two.
Brooklyn Mine Trail
We haven't been camping since January due to various life and adult things, so we eased ourselves back into the trip and kicked it off with a hike. Most of the trails are actually old coal mine trails, so the "hike" is more or less on a gravel/dirt road that rises in elevation and presents beautiful views, like watching fog roll over the New in the mornings. For this particular 2.7 mile (one way) hike, our goal was an abandoned mine shaft.
Rainy Camp Days
It started raining on our hike back down (we scrambled to don our rain pants and coats quickly) and didn't let up until late Saturday afternoon. While it has rained off and on nearly every trip we've taken here, it has never been such a deluge of water. This didn't put a damper on our trip one bit - we set up our enos, took long naps, read lots of books and listened to podcasts and enjoyed being out in nature. We also took this opportunity to learn new rain shelter building skills. Our first ever attempt last year was actually to buy a pop up tent (which we ended up not using and returning, thereby retaining our camping cred). Our next effort including flipping our picnic table on it's side and tying off a tarp to it. Effective, but not pretty and not realistic when your table is bolted to the ground. This go round, we tented things quite nicely and even built a shelter for our enos. We dubbed it Lester Tent City since we ended up with our tent, shelter over our table and shelter over our "lounge" area.
We spent one of our mornings in Fayetteville, the closet town, where we visited the small farmer's market, split some delicious pumpkin bread, wandered around the antique mall, and then grabbed sandwiches at the Secret Sandwich Society (which is coming to Richmond by the way. You heard it here first!).
Sunday morning dawned sunny and beautiful. We packed up gear and began planning our November trip. Some might say the rain ruined the weekend, but for us, it was just the opposite. After all, when you take on nature, you have to take what she throws your way. We hiked, explored, watched the rain and the river, and enjoyed the most relaxing weekend. Next up: winter camping. But first: gotta buy some puffer jackets.