New River Gorge White Water Rafting ft. Heather from River Expeditions

We sit down with Heather from River Expeditions, a rafting outfitter and adventure property just outside New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia. Heather has been in the business for decades. In this interview Heather shares her first memories of rafting, how the business has grown, what America’s newest national park has to offer, and all the fun things to do at River Expeditions, including zip lining, the bridge walk, massage, horseback riding, drinks at the saloon, hiking, and of course – rafting!

Learn more about Heather and River Expeditions at ⁠raftinginfo.com⁠ and get 20% off your River Expeditions adventures and accommodation when you call to book and mention promo code TSP.

Trip Meet Up! We’re hosting our first trip meet-up at River Expeditions June 7-10, 2024. Visit our ⁠travelsquadpodcast.com/new-river-gorge-adventure-trip⁠ for all the information and to book!

New River Gorge White Water Rafting – Episode Transcript

4 (59s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. We have a very special guest joining us today, Heather, the owner of River Expeditions, a Whitewater, Rafting outfitter and adventure property in West Virginia.

1 (1m 12s):
In this episode, we talk with Heather about her Whitewater Rafting company, River Expeditions in the new River Gorge National Park. River Expeditions specializes in Rafting and float trips offering a variety of different options for every level of adventurer and River. Expeditions also has 180 acres with lodging available, ranging anywhere from camping to luxury cabins so you can rest well before and after your adventure filled days.

3 (1m 39s):
I really love this episode with Heather. You can really tell how passionate she is about this. She’s been doing it for most all her life now, and it really shows, not only was she a great person to talk to on this episode, but she was also generous enough to offer all of you squats, 20% off if you wanted to book a float trip, Rafting trip, a stay on the property, she’s offering all of you 20% off. All you have to do is call in to book and mention TSP as your promo code and you’ll get 20% off any of those Adventures there. Just remember to call, don’t book online. Now, this episode’s gonna get you really, really excited because Whitewater Rafting is a hoot.

3 (2m 23s):
I mean, you two have already done it, so you know, and just talking to Heather in this episode got me really excited about it. So I know you will too. If you wanna go ahead and book your trip now and get into it this summer, since the season goes from about May until October for prime time, then hell yeah, book it. You won’t regret it, you’re going to love it. But if you’re thinking about this trip and maybe wanna take it next summer, and then we have a very special trip in store for you, we’re actually gonna be staying at River Expeditions June 7th through 10th of 2024. It’s gonna be a long weekender. And on this trip we’re gonna have a day of floating and zip lining, another day of Whitewater Rafting, a little campfire, s’mores social action in there.

3 (3m 12s):
It’s gonna be a really, really good time. There’s a ton of other stuff to do on the property too, like massages, there’s a saloon there. You know, we’re gonna be getting some late night drinks, I can tell you that right now. So we’re welcoming all of you squads onto this trip for the very first time. We’re actually hosting a trip where you can join us and you can be an honorary Squad member here with us. The great thing about this trip though, is that you don’t have to book it as an all-inclusive package with the same exact dates and the same exact trips we’re doing. If there’s anyone out there that’s a little afraid of whitewater Rafting, you don’t wanna do that part perfectly fine. So how it’s gonna work is we’re gonna put all of the details on our website with the trip that we’re taking, exactly what we just said, all of the information that you would need to book the exact same thing.

3 (3m 57s):
Or you can come a little earlier, stay a little later. They do have a book three nights, get your fourth night free all year round. So if you wanted to extend your trip out, you totally can. We’re gonna link this website on our show notes so you can go there easily find all of the information. And if you wanna book this trip, call River Expeditions. Let them know you’re with the Travel Squad Podcast. Remember to give them that TSP promo code. Get 20% off your trip and join us on this trip in June. I think also what’s really cool about booking this way is because they have so many different lodging options on the property mean you could stay in a tent or a rustic cabin, or you can get a group of 10 together and stay in one of the luxury cabins with a hot tub.

3 (4m 38s):
Whatever approach you wanna take, it’s really customizable. And so think about who you want to join you on this trip. Get your group together, call in, let them know you’re with Travel, Squad Podcast, and they will hook you up with the same itinerary that we’re on. We’ll go Rafting together, we’ll go zip lining together. You’ll get to witness Jamal’s freakouts for yourself in real life.

4 (4m 59s):
There’s gonna be no freakouts from Jamal on this end of pigs, and we’re really excited to have you squads come out and join us. We’ve been talking about hosted trips for a while now we are finally making it happen. So come out, join us on this one. And with that, let’s welcome Heather to the Travel Squad Podcast.

3 (5m 20s):
Hello Heather and thank you so much for joining us on the podcast this week. It is my pleasure to join you everyone. We’re so happy to have you here, mostly me. I’m excited to have you here. I’ll speak for myself here. I know that you’re coming to us from the New River Gorge. From River Expeditions. It sounds like an amazing adventure, a wild and crazy adventure for someone like me that isn’t the adrenaline rush junkie. And we’re gonna get all into that. But before we start, we like to go way back and I usually ask, what’s your first travel memory? But because this one’s all about adventure and experiences, what is one of the first adventure memories that you have?

6 (6m 2s):
Well, it’s funny that you mention that because my first really adventure memory is going fishing with my father. So we would go, he would let me skip school and go fishing, just trout fishing in, in local strains and creeks. So that was awesome. And then when I turned 12, he announced I bought a whitewater Rafting company and it was so new in really its infancy in West Virginia, the industry that I didn’t know what that was. So I said, oh, sounds great, I’d love to go. So at 12 I went on my first Rafting trip and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m 54.

1 (6m 40s):
Had he ever been weight water Rafting before that?

6 (6m 44s):
He had, he was like I mentioned an outdoor Abbott outdoorsman. So he had been fishing on a raft in the past and he had been whitewater Rafting several times, but an opportunity just availed itself. And so he, he took a chance. That’s

3 (7m 2s):
Funny you say that because I have been whitewater Rafting one time and I think I was probably around 10 or 12 years old myself there, and it was with my father and a, a few other family members, and I have a memory of us going over a rapid, we were all sitting on the edges like you do, and he fell in and just kind of like landed on his tush

6 (7m 24s):
And I don’t

3 (7m 24s):
Know, but I have that memory sticking in my head and I, judging from the video that Brittany and Jamal had from their past experience, it sounds like that’s the least crazy that it gets out there. Well

6 (7m 36s):
It’s, it’s pretty common. Sometimes you can pop out, but generally you just end up right beside the raft. But my first experience was incredible and I just can’t get enough. Every trip is different, so there’s, there’s always something exciting to experience on the river.

1 (7m 54s):
So New River Gorge National Park is in West Virginia. Tell us a little bit about New River Gorge and the draw to the area.

6 (8m 3s):
Well, one of the only good things to come out of the pandemic was that in 2020, the New River Gorge National Recreation Area became a national park and preserve. So with that designation, you know, that’s, that’s a pretty exclusive club where one of only 63 in the country. So in, in 2020 and 21, we’ve seen an incredible boom to travel in our region and we couldn’t be more pleased. We’ve, this has been America’s best kept secret and we don’t wanna keep it a secret anymore. So it’s been wonderful.

1 (8m 44s):
It’s funny you say that because Jamal actually had shown me a picture of the New River Gorge Bridge and he said it’s in West Virginia. And we actually at that time had a trip planned to Virginia. We were going to Shenandoah and the surrounding area and he goes, but you know, it’s like a four hour drive so we probably won’t make it. And, and I said, okay, that’s fine. And then New River Boards became a national park. And so then I was thinking about the picture he showed me and I said, well, while we’re in Virginia, we might as well just go to West Virginia, even though it’s a four hour drive from where we were staying because one of our bucket list items is to hit all 63 national parks.

1 (9m 24s):
And we’ve been, oh right, We’ve been to 47 out of the 63 and I believe New River Gorge was like number 42 that we had been to. But we specifically made a trip out of our way to go to New River Gorge just because it did become a national park. And also while we were there, we usually collect ornaments from our trips. And so I was looking for a new River Gorge National Park ornament or even magnet. And at the time, the signs hadn’t even been changed yet. So it still said like preserve and recreation areas. So I think I ended up with like a magnet that said it, but didn’t get an actual ornament because it was just so new.

1 (10m 4s):
And I think it’s still America’s new, it’s National Park.

6 (10m 7s):
Yes, you’re correct. And I love that you are fly by the seat of your pants kind of girl because yeah, you would’ve missed out on that great adventure.

1 (10m 16s):
Yes. How would you say

3 (10m 18s):
Tourism has increased since it became an official national park?

6 (10m 22s):
I would say by at least 20% in the last two years it’s just really exploded. So we have a lot more hiking, a lot more, you know, day users to the park. But we tell everybody don’t make a trip to the New River Gorge National Park without going Rafting because truly it is one of the highlights. So while we do have all that other great stuff, biking, rock climbing, hiking, Rafting is our pretty much premier excursion.

3 (10m 52s):
I imagine there are seasons for Rafting too. What would you say is the prime time for Rafting out there?

6 (10m 57s):
Well, you’re correct. We usually start Rafting in April or May in the early spring and then go all the way through mid-October. So as I mentioned before, each trip is different. So in the spring you’re gonna get a little bit higher water level, it’s gonna be chilly temps. So we wear wetsuits and have some cool weather gear available in the summer. It’s nice and sunny. The river level is normal, what we call a summer pool. And then in the fall you’re gonna get some incredible foliage and the public temps come back. So we’re fortunate, I know a lot of Western Outfitters have a very short window that they can raft with certain release dates and the new river flows sp freely.

6 (11m 42s):
So we have releases, you know, we could go January one if we want to. Hmm, yeah. And then we run the Gly River also, and that is a damn released river. So there are only 21 days that we’re guaranteed a flow on that, and that starts the weekend after Labor Day.

4 (12m 1s):
Well, I know you mentioned the wetsuits and so when Brittany and I had been to New River Gorge, we went in the month of May and we thought, okay, well it should be warm by then. And we woke up in the morning and it was freezing outside and we were so, so worried and we had no clue that we were gonna be given wetsuits. So obviously it changes by the season, but around what time of year would you really say you don’t need the wetsuits anymore, just in case somebody really wants to be out there and be like, I want to be in either my shirt off by Bikini Sud Hitty Bee versus the wetsuit.

6 (12m 33s):
Well, since you just proved the point that the weather is so unpredictable, typically it warms up by the end of May and and usually in June we’re, you know, safe from that. We do have splash jackets that we rent just in case it’s a chilly morning. But yeah, wetsuits are typically in early spring and late fall. So if you’re not coming during those times, you should be able to go in a just a swimsuit and some shorts.

1 (13m 1s):
What is your favorite time to float down the river? Do you have like a favorite season or time of year?

6 (13m 7s):
I mean, I love the golly season in the fall, and so I usually go the first or second weekend that that’s available. And it is a rush. It’s unlike anything that you’ve ever experienced on Whitewater

3 (13m 22s):
And Heather. You said your dad had a similar company when you were a kid. I have two questions, I guess. Is this the same company and then have you always been in this area?

6 (13m 32s):
It is an iteration of this company. In 2008, I bought his company out. So there from, from 96 to 2008, we were friendly competitors and actually he was much larger, so we would get their overflow and, and it worked well together. So in 2008, two other outfitters, my dad and another gentleman were going to retire basically. So we bought out their companies and we didn’t see the whole economy crashing in 2008. It wasn’t a great time to really grow our business, but we’re still here, we made it. And yes, I am a native West Virginian and my husband runs the company with me.

6 (14m 16s):
So we are the only technically mom and pop operation in the west, Virginia Rafting Outfitter business.

3 (14m 24s):
Oh, I love that.

1 (14m 26s):
And you guys both do raft tours?

6 (14m 28s):
We do not, no. I do accounting marketing. I pick up cigarette butts, I do all the glamorous things like that. My husband admin as well, so he used to be a guide and he doesn’t guide anymore. He can drive a bus, he can, you know, repair a bus, he can paint a bus. So we we’re, our skill sets really compliment each other. We’ve been in business for 27 years now.

1 (14m 53s):
Love that. And so for all of our listeners that may not know a lot about Rafting, but wanna learn a little bit about it, what type of rapids can you find in the New River and what levels do rapids go to?

6 (15m 6s):
Yes, we offer float trips for children as young as six. So okay, that is just a very mild section, probably not a section that you experienced during your spring trip, but it is just a glimpse of Rafting at its finest. It’s a wide canyon and you’re gonna see some fall foliage, you’re gonna see some beautiful flora and fauna. So it’s, it’s incredible. And the kids love it. You can, you know, get them to unplug from their devices for about seven hours. And then the next level, the one that you did, you have to be at least 12.

6 (15m 51s):
So graduate up to that. And then the Golley River that I mentioned, we take minimum of 16 H 16 on that section. It’s very intense. It’s the biggest white water that we do.

1 (16m 3s):
And when you’re Rafting the New River, do you come across all classes of rapids from swimmers rapids to, is it class five or classics, the the highest?

6 (16m 15s):
Well on, on the different sections. So on the float trip, the the scenic section where we take the children as young as six, you’re only gonna experience up to class three rapids, and that’s just very moderate, gentle moving water, you know, nothing too big. And then on the lower New River Gorge, that’s our signature trip, the most popular, you’re gonna see Class five. So yeah, you experience some of the big stuff and then the Golly River has class five plus. Ooh yeah.

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3 (20m 13s):
So I mentioned I’m not the most daring adventure loving person, but I, I think it looks really, really fun. What would you say to someone like me that is a little hesitant but wants to do it?

6 (20m 26s):
I think you should, you know, start slowly just warm your way up. Everybody enjoys a float trip so you can get out there in nature. And we do have inflatable kayaks that we take on that section and they’re called duckies and those are super fun to paddle. So you know, I would suggest trying that on the first day. And then if your schedule permits, do some Rafting on the lower New River Gorge the second day. And all our trips are guided, so you’re gonna be given instruction how to paddle, when to paddle, like like you mentioned Brittany, what to do if you happen to fall out of the raft. And we provide all the necessary equipment, a paddle helmet and life jacket.

6 (21m 10s):

1 (21m 10s):
And yeah, wetsuits and the rain jacket can, you can rent from your business.

6 (21m 15s):
Yes, yes. We have rash guards, you know, some waterproof shoes and things available that we sell in our souvenir shop in case people forget sunglasses or hat before the trip. So yeah, everything that you need. We’ve got,

4 (21m 31s):
I kind of want to go back just a little bit. You mentioned earlier that your favorite time to do it is kind of fall that way. You could see the fall foliage color change, I know that happens to be around the time of Bridge day. Could you let everybody know what Bridge Day is? Who doesn’t know, talk about the bridge and can you do Rafting at that time and be under it when people are jumping?

6 (21m 52s):
Yes, Jamal, I’m glad you mentioned that because Bridge Day is West Virginia’s single day largest festival hands down and that’s when they close the bridge and we allow base jumpers to go off the northbound side. So it’s incredible. It’s a huge festival. We have tons of arts and craft vendors and personally I think the best place to experience Bridge Day is on the river. So you’re gonna be beneath the bridge and you can actually see the parachutes as they open. So if you’re on top of the bridge, once they jump over, you’re not gonna see ’em anymore.

6 (22m 32s):
So we do Rafting on that day on the New River and so we set up our lunch just at the, at the base of the bridge so you can sit there, have your lunch, chill out and watch all these base jumpers going over the bridge and their beautiful parachutes as they open. And then sometimes you’ll even get a water landing. That’s exciting too. That sounds

3 (22m 54s):
Really cool. And so is that what a typical raft day looks like, a seven hour day and in between you stop for lunch?

6 (23m 1s):
We do, yes. Our full day trips include continental breakfast in the morning, just something light before the trip we shuttle you there. It’s about a 45 minute bus ride. And then we break about two or three hours in and have a nice deli style Riverside lunch.

1 (23m 20s):
Can you talk about some of the highlights that you’ll see along the standard trip? Like I know typically there’s, if the water permits, swimmers rapids and Jump Rock, get our listeners excited about some of the things that they’ll experience while they’re Rafting down during that day.

6 (23m 37s):
Absolutely. So yeah, if, if you have the time, the full day trip is really the best way to immerse yourself in the New River Gorge. So in addition to all the major rapids that are classified and have names, you’re gonna get to just take time to, you know, check out the scenery, it’s called a pool drop river. So you’re not constantly paddling in white water. You’ll go through a set of rapids and then you’ll have time to catch your breath and really, you know, just absorb your surroundings. There is a, a rapid that is probably a class two and you’ll get the opportunity to jump out.

6 (24m 18s):
The guide will tell you where to swim, which direction, and then you can actually feel yourself, you know, being one with the river and you’re gonna go right through the vortex of the rapid. You can feel the pull of the water and yeah, it’s thrilling. I don’t know if, if you and Jamal got to experience that when you went in the spring, did you get out of the boat voluntarily?

1 (24m 43s):
Yes. I think one of our, the one of the people that was in the raft with us was like, I heard that there’s swimmers Rapids, are we allowed to get out? And the guide was like, yeah, I’ll let you know when. And so I am a big FOMO person. I have that fear of missing out and even though it was cold and I was in my wetsuit, I wasn’t originally gonna do it. But then other people were like, all right, you guys ready? And they started jumping out and I, I looked at Jamal and I was like bye. And I jumped in. Jamal did not, he stayed in the boat, which was helpful because he helped pull me in. It’s so hard to get back into the raft, you know, it sounds easy in theory like use your arm strength, pull yourself up.

1 (25m 23s):
But when the raft is moving and things are happening, you have like that adrenaline rush, your body doesn’t always cooperate. So he was able to help me back into the raft and it was an exhilarating moment floating down the river and just being able to experience that.

6 (25m 40s):
Yes, I think that’s great that you just hopped right out and you’re right, it is trickier getting back in the raft. And then did you experience jump rock on your trip? ’cause that’s another highlight of our full day trip.

1 (25m 52s):
Yes, we both did jump rock at that point. I think it was after lunch though, he had warmed up a little bit. Jamal does not like cold water. All of our know that he is not a fan of cold water. So by mid

6 (26m 4s):

1 (26m 6s):
We had had lunch, it had warmed up a little bit and so we both did jump rock and

4 (26m 10s):
That was my thought process exactly. I said we’ve bided little Rapids so far, I haven’t even gotten wet. I don’t wanna get wet now let alone before lunch and the sun is really peaky. But once I was already wet I was like, I’m for sure doing jump rock. So I wasn’t opposed to the rapids, but I wasn’t like died to do it because you know, we’re all of us originally from Northern California, I’ve been tubing down the rivers of the Sacramento, the Americans, so like cruising down the river isn’t anything new to me in that way, although Whitewater Rafting was at that point in time. And I told Brittany, I said, I can’t believe we lived here our whole life by like a premier river to do whitewater Rafting. Yeah.

4 (26m 50s):
Did it. So that was really exciting. But I, I know you had mentioned that Whitewater Rafting is the main thing really to do at New River Gorge, but tell us a little bit about River Expeditions in general because beyond Whitewater Rafting, there’s so much to do. And even before it was a national park, it was a recreation area. So it’s a big encompassing experience to go. So tell us a little bit more about your business and what people can expect when they come.

6 (27m 16s):
Sure. So we have about a hundred acre base camp and we offer camping. We’ve got a beautiful campground and we have RV sites. So a lot of people, especially over the last couple years with the pandemic, as I mentioned, they’re hitting the road in their RVs. So we have, you know, self-contained RV sites and we have cabins every different category, so like a, a very rustic bunk style. So you still need to bring a sleeping bag and your pillow all the way up to a five bedroom hot tub fireplace. Yeah. So everything in between, every price point we wanna make it easy to accommodate families or you know, folks on a budget who just want to really just a soft dry place to sleep overnight.

3 (28m 9s):
I love that you’re accommodating everyone that wants to see it. That’s, that’s fantastic.

6 (28m 13s):
We do, one of the other things I was gonna mention is a couple years ago we started to offer the fourth night free just during our winter month so we could, you know, let people experience the quiet season a little bit longer. So November through April we, you know, we’re not Rafting we’re just getting, getting started getting air breath and gearing up for the next season. And so someone said, why don’t we do that every, you know, year round, let’s just make the fourth night free. And I thought that’s fantastic. So now it gives people an exper a chance to really stay longer and experience even more in, in the New River Gorge National Park.

6 (28m 57s):
So we still offer that with every lodging, whether you’re staying in a tent on our campground property or if you’re staying in one of our luxury five bedroom hot tub fireplace cabins.

3 (29m 10s):
Oh, that’s fantastic. When people are staying longer and enjoying that quiet time. Is are there campfires allowed in this area?

6 (29m 19s):
Yes, absolutely. We have a little sundry shop and we do sell firewood and ice and, and we encourage it, you know, when, when our campground security is doing a little perimeter check in the evenings, you know, you’ll hear some people bring in their guitars or having s’mores, you know, we sell all the, all the kit for that. So yeah, it’s, it’s your typical campground experience and we do have an outdoor pool and hot tubs so people can experience that as well during the summer months. We have a lodge, which is, it has conference space as well. So we host corporate groups sometimes and we also have a massage studio here.

6 (30m 2s):
Yeah. That you guys have it all. I am so excited to come check out. Yeah, I’m excited to host you. And we also have a saloon, so after the trip that’s where everyone gathers to watch the video and go back over their day’s experience, catch the highlights. And I don’t know if Brittany and Jamal got to have your trip videoed, but it’s, it’s something to see it set to slow motion in music. It’s really fun. Yeah,

1 (30m 29s):
I think it’s really fun. And when we went, there was someone that was obviously videoing it and he just had like, just a funny personality. And that’s one of the things too is all of the guides usually have like a lot of experience. They are very knowledgeable, they are funny and they make it just a really fun event so that even though you’re nervous, like you might be Kim, it’s easy to relax because it just feels like they know exactly what to do in any sort of situation. And before we even started Rafting, like you had mentioned, there was like some slow parts and then the excitement with the rapid. So as we’re getting close to a rapid, they would tell us, okay, this is a plan, this is how we’re going to paddle, listen to my direction.

1 (31m 11s):
If you happen to fall out, this is where you’re gonna go. So it just, I felt like so secure even though it was my first time.

6 (31m 18s):
I love hearing that. And yes, our staff is amazing. They’re really engaging and they’re, they’re really committed to sharing their passion with, with all their guests. So yeah, they’re just very calming. They, they relax the folks who it’s their first time and they might be nervous or you know, if you’ve been 20 times and this is your 21st time, they’re gonna make it exciting. They’re gonna tell you some new jokes, they’re gonna give you a little bit of history and yeah, that they’re entertainers so they do a great job.

1 (31m 51s):
And yeah, so we did have our trip videoed and we did, we go into a saloon as well afterwards, little restaurant and you guys put it together really quickly from like, right from being on the water to where it’s like full production and like able to purchase. So we ran to watch the video and got some good laughs and we have ours and we’ve taken some still shots from it because there was one point where Jamal and I raft almost did flip over. So we, we got footage of that too. But it’s very, it’s a different perspective of course watching it versus feeling it.

6 (32m 31s):
That’s true, that’s true. Well we do have the, the trip videos that you can watch in the saloon. You know, on weekends we have karaoke or sometimes live music and some themed events so people can stay on site and and really just unwind there. Or we encourage everybody to get out and explore the local small towns and just really soak in the flavor of the community. So you can do whatever you want, if you wanna be just chilled out at your campsite or if you wanna really go into town to dine around, check out some antique shops, anything you wanna do.

6 (33m 11s):

3 (33m 11s):
Far is the property from where you’d go into town?

6 (33m 14s):
It’s about three miles.

3 (33m 16s):
Oh, not bad at all.

6 (33m 18s):
It’s easy. Yeah. And it was voted one of America’s coolest small towns by budget traveler a few years ago. So that’s, that’s a moniker that we get to put on our highway sign.

1 (33m 28s):
And for all of our listeners that don’t know, what is that small town called?

6 (33m 32s):
It is called Fayetteville. I’m sorry, yes, Fayetteville West Virginia. And we’re right on the rim of the New River Gorge.

1 (33m 41s):
And you’ve mentioned so much that your property has, you guys have the tents, the RVs, the cabins, the pool, hot tub, massage studio, the restaurant saloon. But I know you guys even have more than that. I know I looked and you guys mentioned zip lining. What are some of the other things that people can experience on your property?

6 (33m 60s):
We have our own zip line course and it’s a shorter course so you don’t have to spend half your day out there. It’s like a two to two and a half hours with about five platforms and zips. We have a cargo net climb to get on the course, which is exciting. Some people are like even a little bit apprehensive about, you know, getting onto the course and then there is a belay at the end of the course, which is exciting and we have a sky bridge. So yes, the zip line is a perfect compliment to Rafting. Even if you’ve been out Rafting for seven hours, there’s still time to come back and, and get on a short zip line tour or we partner with other vendors in the area.

6 (34m 47s):
So we offer horseback riding a t v tours, standup paddle boarding is really popular now Paintballing. So yeah, we, we do Rafting well, so we concentrate on Rafting and zip lining and then we vendor supply the other Adventures that they do well. So it works well. It’s a good partnership and we’ve had, you know, lasting relationships with our vendors for 20 plus years.

3 (35m 14s):
That’s great because instead of having to make multiple bookings and do all that searching, you can really simplify your trip and go through your property and have, have y’all organize it with a trusted partner. That’s fantastic.

6 (35m 28s):
Yes. And, and we like to, you know, we do what we do well and they do what they do well. We don’t have to be all things to everyone and keep it contained in house. We want folks to get out and, you know, explore and enjoy other, other exciting Adventures. One of the things that has really grown in grown in popularity, especially since New River Gorge became a national park is bridge walk tour. I don’t know if if, did you see anything about that when you were in West Virginia Brittany? It was

1 (36m 0s):
One of the things that I had mentioned to Jamal that I wanted to do, but Jamal I actually learned, we’ve been together for 16 years and I’ve learned kind of recently he’s kind of afraid of heights

6 (36m 11s):
Along recently. Oh, off

4 (36m 14s):
A thrill seeker. I love rollercoasters. I don’t mind being up in plass or tall buildings. What I don’t like and she’s referencing on a very recent trip that we all took, it was a glass bottom over like glacier, kind of elephant valley in Canada. Right. But it was glass bottom. Oh wow. I don’t like that stuff. I’m not opposed to the grate at the bottom of the bridge and walking across it. That’s fine. She loves to throw me under the bus when I think really didn’t have enough time because we went out the way to go specifically whitewater Rafting. and of course, like you said, that’s the main thing to do if you’re at New River Gorge. But if we went back I would definitely walk the catwalk under the bridge.

6 (36m 56s):
Oh good, okay. Yeah, well it’s, it’s a really cool tour. I would recommend it to, you know, obviously not people who are super afraid of heights because you are almost 900 feet above the river, but the views are just glorious and I think the experience of walking across a two foot wide gird underneath the bridge is quite remarkable. So yeah, I’m glad that you’ll, you’ll get to experience that when you come back.

3 (37m 23s):
And is that glass bottom or are you fully enclosed?

6 (37m 27s):
You are tethered with a, a carabiner, but there are railings so there’s no way you can fall off of it. And,

4 (37m 36s):
And it’s not a glass bottom Kim, but correct me if I’m wrong, Heather, it’s a steel grate that’s at the bottom, but there’s openings but it’s a steel grate.

6 (37m 44s):
Yes, you’re correct Jamal, it’s steel grates and there are railings.

1 (37m 49s):
Yeah, it just sounds like such a thrilling experience and I, I really am looking forward to it ’cause I felt like we missed out the first time and now seeing the New River and the Gorge, it’s gonna be just amazing to cross the bridge locked in. I know. Kim, you’re gonna be so thrilled to do that to you.

3 (38m 8s):
I think while, while you guys are walking the bridge, I’m going to be enjoying the s’mores and the massage parlor.

6 (38m 16s):

4 (38m 16s):
Thought you were gonna do the zip line, Kip,

3 (38m 18s):
I’m, I might do the zip line. Yeah, that sounds fun.

1 (38m 21s):
And we forgot to mention this early on in the episode, but correct me if I’m wrong, Heather, the new river actually flows in the opposite direction, like it flows south to north, is that right?

6 (38m 32s):
That is true. And several rivers do also the Nile, which is another very old river. So unlike the new river that is named new, it’s really, really old and it does flow from south to north. So those are two really unique distinctions that we, we share with the Nile River.

1 (38m 53s):
And so you had mentioned that tourism has picked up to New River Gorge area. What’s the closest airport to fly into if you’re flying in?

6 (39m 3s):
Our state’s capital is Charleston. And so Jager airport in Charleston, west Virginia is the closest major carrier. So it was named after Chuck Yeager. And that’s exciting. So it’s about, yeah, an hour from us.

1 (39m 19s):
Okay. So not too long. So you do need a rent to car if you’re flying in because a lot of the places that we went through while we were driving through Virginia and West Virginia were pretty remote. So it’s not a national park that you can just show up on a tour bus. You, you do need to rent a car to like fully experience the whole area.

6 (39m 36s):
Right. And I, I think the, the joy is half the journey and I’m sure since you travel so frequently and you visited 44 national parks already, that you know, just, just being on your own, just getting to experience and, and be able to stop when and where you want, that is a really big advantage too, as, as opposed to being, you know, limited in that ability. So yeah, and, and since we offer the fourth night free, that gives folks a little more incentive to stay longer and truly check out more of the area

3 (40m 11s):
And you really need those four nights with how much there is to do there.

6 (40m 15s):
I agree. I think so too. And you know, even for folks who are just traveling through, we get a lot of people on our corridor just coming from Canada to Myrtle Beach or Florida, you know, they’re just hammering down and sometimes they’ll stop because the signage is up. Now Brittany, you’d be excited. We have our new signs and so we offer short, abbreviated, we call them express trips on the New River Gorge and we have two departures daily. So even for time sensitive travelers, we have an option so they can at least get to experience Rafting even if they’ve gotta a jump in their car and, you know, drive another eight hours to get to their golf trip in Myrtle Beach.

6 (41m 0s):

3 (41m 1s):
Fantastic. How long in advance would you recommend someone book a

6 (41m 5s):
Trip? Well, we used to see folks book their trip months in advance, but the norm lately, people are so last minute and almost like weather dependent, but as you know, you’re gonna get wet, rain or shine and, and we go regardless. So, you know, as much notice as you can give we would like to have. But obviously if, if we’re able to accommodate some last minute add-ons, we will take you. It’s all based on availability. So we, we really don’t ever wanna turn anyone away, but if you know a good two weeks out that you’re gonna be coming, give us a call and, and we’ll let you know what trips we have available.

6 (41m 48s):

3 (41m 48s):
Fantastic. And I think that’s a big plus to anyone listening because it is the newest national park and still a little bit under the radar you can get in with those last minute bookings, whereas there’s other national parks like Zion or Yellowstone where you need to book six months to a year out not getting anything. Yes,

6 (42m 6s):
That’s true. And especially on some, you know, grand Canyon Rafting, you’ve, you’ve gotta put in a draw and, and so we are, we’re much more user-friendly I would like to say.

3 (42m 19s):

1 (42m 19s):
It’s been such an honor to talk with you today, Heather. Is there anything else that you wanted to share with our listeners?

6 (42m 25s):
No, I don’t think so. I’d just like everyone to visit our website, Rafting info.com or give us a call at (800) 463-9873

3 (42m 36s):
And we’ll link everything in the show notes to make it really easy for everyone to find you. And we are planning to take a trip out there next summer. I’m so excited. We’re gonna do another episode after that so we can recount everything and, and really get people out there because it was a really fun trip for Brittany and Jamal and more people need to experience this.

6 (42m 56s):
Excellent. I’m, I’m looking forward to hosting you. Well

1 (42m 59s):
Thank you so much for being on our podcast Heather and we look forward to seeing you in person.

6 (43m 4s):
Thank you so much. It was my great pleasure. Thank

4 (43m 6s):

6 (43m 7s):

3 (43m 8s):
Pleasure too. Thank you Heather. Okay, bye-bye. Thanks so much for tuning into our episode this week. We cannot wait to see you in New River Gorge National Park. Make sure to keep the Adventures going with us up until that trip by following us on Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast. And send us in your questions of the week.

4 (43m 26s):
Found the information in this episode to be useful or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune at every travel Tuesday for new episode.

1 (43m 40s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have some more amazing Adventures and tips in store for you.

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