The Mountains Are Calling
Once as high as the Himalayas, the Appalachian Mountains are ancient. Geologists estimate they’re more than 480 million years old, in fact. They’re known in these parts as the Alleghenies, and the highest point rises more than 4,800 feet into the sky at Spruce Knob. They once were an arduous barrier for early settlers, despite native peoples—the Catawba, Delaware, Iroquois, and Shawnee—flourishing in the area. These days, more than 270 years after the first documented settlement in what is now Greenbrier County, they’ve become a playground for outdoor lovers and recreational enthusiasts around the globe. People flock here looking for epic adventures and now embrace the laborious landscape as a challenge worth taking. With so much wilderness out there to explore, isn’t it high time you spent more time in mountains?
Critical safety tips for safe exploration of any hiking trail
An afternoon of forest bathing on a nearby hiking trail might be just what the doctor ordered. No matter if the trail is familiar to you or brand new, being a responsible hiker is always key. A few must-know hiking tips can keep you safe and comfortable during your adventure.
You should avoid hiking alone anytime you can, and always pick a well-traveled or well-marked trail. Tell someone where you’re going before you leave and when you plan to return. Wear brightly colored layers, and be ready for rain. Remember a whistle—three short blasts signals distress—and carry plenty of drinking water with you. Consider taking a pack and carrying extra water, a watch, a pocket knife, sunglasses, a rain jacket, bug repellant, a flashlight, and a first aid kit. And always remember to hike out with whatever you took in, leaving no trace, including litter.
what kind of camper are you?
How you like to camp determines where you should go. Luckily, there’s something foreveryone in West Virginia.
“I’m a glamper”
Try the Three Otters Eco Retreat in Cacapon, Crumps Camp in Waitsville, Buffalo Trail Cabins’ Treehouses in Bluefield, the Cabins at Pine Haven in Beaver, or Holly Rock Treehouse in the New River Gorge region. Camp on the water with a rental from WV Houseboat Vacations and explore “the Little Bahamas of the East Coast.”
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“Leave no trace” starts at home. Limit the amount of litter you’ll create by leaving unnecessary packaging behind. Use established campsites any time you can. Don’t venture off the beaten path and create a larger footprint, which could disturb important habitat. Remember trash bags, and be sure to clean up after your pet. Spread out before leaving to search for any microtrash that your group might inadvertently be leaving behind.
This state park resort in Roanoke has all the amenities any camper could want.
The Briar Point Campground is centrally located within Stonewall Resort State Park. The park offers five deluxe campsites and one for a large tent, all overlooking the serenity of Sutton Lake. Another 40 sites offering full hookup of electricity, water, and sewage accommodate recreational vehicles. The camping area also features a central shower house,
restrooms, a playground, and an activity shelter as well as 12 mooring posts for use by campers.
Campers at Stonewall enjoy access to the dog-friendly Adirondack-style lodge on the grounds. Within the lodge there are two restaurants, a spa and fitness center, a gift shop, and a large patio and pool area providing hours of entertainment. Special passes
are available to campers for use of the pool during their stay.
Campers can take their own boat and use the mooring posts near the campground, or rent one from the Sutton Lake Marina. Single level and double-decker pontoon boat rentals are available for 2, 4, or 8 hours on the lake. If it’s just the two of you, consider renting a CraigCat for an afternoon of fishing.
There’s plenty to do at the resort, from hiking to boating and everything in between. You can even hit the links at the resort’s Arnold Palmer Signature Course or pamper yourself at the Mountain Laurel Spa. There are also special events planned year ’round, so keep tabs on the resort’s calendar to help plan your stay.
a new View
Enjoy the stunning mountain scenery from above in a glider launched from the Eastern Soaring Center in Petersburg. In less than a minute you’ll be catapulted 2,500 feet into the air, and during your 10-to-20-minute glide you’ll enjoy a bird’s eye view of some of the state’s most iconic natural wonders—like Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, the Potomac River, Seneca Rocks, and Spruce Knob. You can ride with an experienced guide here and even take lessons to one day man, or woman, your very own glider.
If paragliding is your preference, head to Canaan Valley Resort State Park to take off from the state’s only operational launch site. Take the chair lift up to the park’s hang
gliding/paragliding platform on top of Cabin Mountain maintained by the Mountaineer Hang Gliding Association.
Rock the Block
Jordyn Traux, co-owner of Climbing New Heights in Martinsburg, shares a few of her favorite climbing spots in the Mountain State.
Disclaimer: Climbing can be an extremely dangerous sport. Anyone new to climbing should always seek qualified instruction or a guide.
Rock Climbing Glossary
MULTI-PITCH CLIMBING A pitch is one rope–length of climbing; multi-pitch climbing involves stringing together multiple pitches to reach a summit, from which climbers can rappel back to the ground.
TRAD CLIMBING The traditional style of climbing, in which climbers place protection pieces in rock cracks to arrest a potential fall.
FIFTH-CLASS CLIMBING Climbing that requires a rope and protection (think rocks, trees, or protective trad climbing gear) to keep climbers safe while ascending a rock face.
SPORT CLIMBING A type of climbing that involves a leader clipping the rope into bolted protection points on the rock face as they progress upward. The rope starts at the bottom with the climber and belayer—as opposed to a top rope setup, where the rope is already threaded through the anchor at the top of the wall when climbers begin ascending.
Gear Up to Climb
Jordyn Traux shares her thoughts on what you need to get started.
Having a chalk bag will help your fingers stick better to small edges and rounded holds. Chalk comes in three basic forms: loose, liquid, and a chalk sock. I love FrictionLabs Bam Bam chalk because it provides just the right amount of friction without sacrificing rock feel. $15–$50.