This is a fun one! We’re exploring Shenandoah National Park and New River Gorge National Park – the newest national park in the United States. Since they are so close you can couple these two into a weekend trip and see the best of both without taking any PTO!
This east coast adventure features wild white water rafting, hiking, gorgeous overlooks, and road tripping through two states during a gasoline shortage. Since there are newer national parks we’re answering all your questions and inspiring you to go with our adventures too.
- Where is Shenandoah National Park? Located among the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.
- Where to stay in Shenandoah National Park? We didn’t stay in the park. We actually used Williamsburg, VA as our hub for a week long East Coast trip exploring several national parks and cities. We highly recommend doing this!
- What to do in Shenandoah National Park? There are tons of things to do in Shenandoah National Park! We only spent one day here and we hiked Old Rag Mountain and drove the Skyridge Parkway.
- Things to do in New River Gorge National Park? New River Gorge white water rafting of course! You cannot visit this gorgeous green park without seeing it by raft. You are in for a wild ride here!
Things to Do in Shenandoah National Park & New River Gorge White Water Rafting – Episode Transcript
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we were recapping our trip to Shenandoah and New River Gorge National Parks. And we’re going to give you the best squad tips to do this trip yourself.
3 (1m 10s):
Brittany and I had taken an east coast adventure back in early may of this year. We did many different things and visited many different states along the way, but the highlight and the main purpose of this trip was to visit these two national parks that Brittany had just mentioned. And in fact, New River Gorge is America’s newest national park, only becoming a national park here in December of 2020.
2 (1m 33s):
We just watched your white water rafting video. And it was so funny. I felt like I was on this trip with you right there in that boat. And it’s so cool that you guys were able to see America’s newest national park just a couple of months after it became a legit national park. It’s really cool. And just for everybody listening, this is also my first time hearing all the details of this trip. So I’m so excited. Let’s get right into it. Start us off with some of those tips. You mentioned Brit.
1 (2m 1s):
Yeah, absolutely. So number one tip as always is to download offline maps. You’re going through some remote regions of Virginia and West Virginia, and it’s really important to have offline maps already downloaded to your phone. So you can travel safely throughout the states.
2 (2m 17s):
Did you lose service a lot?
1 (2m 18s):
Yes. In and out of service between the two states.
2 (2m 21s):
3 (2m 21s):
And I just want to clarify here real quick before we get onto that second tip. So Brittany mentioned West Virginia and Virginia for these two national parks for you guys as information Shenandoah is in Virginia, New River Gorge West Virginia.
2 (2m 34s):
Thank you for that important clarification. It is
3 (2m 36s):
A very, very important clarification cause I don’t think we touched upon it earlier, but that second tip for you guys is bring some sunscreen. And the reason for it is you are sun exposed in Shenandoah here. It’s a very nice, beautiful mountainous area covered with lush greenery and trees, but there are certain points and especially depending on what hikes that you do, that you’re going to be sun exposed. So you do want to bring that sunscreen.
1 (3m 0s):
Yeah. And our last tip is to pack synthetic clothing and socks. When you go hiking, you don’t want to hike in cotton because if you get sweaty, then the clothing just stays really wet. And same thing when you’re on the river, you want synthetic clothing so that it dries really quickly so that when you’re in the water, you’re not super cold.
2 (3m 19s):
What is a synthetic material
1 (3m 21s):
Like wool or polyester or like spandex that dries really fast. Okay.
3 (3m 27s):
Yeah. And I forgot to mention when I said sunscreen also realistically there are hikes at New River Gorge, but if you can’t tell from the name, there’s a river, you mentioned that we went whitewater rafting earlier. So yeah, you’re going to be sun exposed while you’re on the water also too. So sunscreen for sure. And yeah, you do not want to be soaked whitewater rafting and then have that cotton material on you just really itchy, not dry, not doing anything it’s going to make for really, really uncomfortable experience.
2 (3m 54s):
All right. So let’s get into it. Tell us about your trip.
1 (3m 56s):
Yeah. So we’re going to go ahead and start with Shenandoah national park. It was the first national park that we visited on this trip. And like Jamal mentioned earlier, it is located in Virginia and it’s actually the closest national park to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.
2 (4m 13s):
The, how far away is it?
1 (4m 14s):
Only about 75 miles away from DC. Okay. So it’s a really popular park in that sense because DC is such a huge metropolis area. And so a lot of people from that area travel over to Shenandoah national park because it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away.
2 (4m 27s):
So was it really busy there?
1 (4m 28s):
Well, we went on a Tuesday and we went on one of the harder hikes. And so although it was busy, I didn’t feel like that area was super packed.
3 (4m 39s):
You don’t really surprise me about being out there in this area is that I know that the east coast is really, really densely populated more so than the west coast. Right. And you minus California, but you come to the west coast and visit the United States and it’s really just sparse. So I knew it was really populated in that area. And then I go and it really is, but there’s so much lush greenery and natural forest that’s around in that area. So as soon as you get out of the Metro area, you really in this rural mountainous region. And that really took me by surprise. So even though it’s only like 75 miles from a big Metro area of Washington DC, you get out here and it’s rather really remote and really, really breathtaking just that disparity between the two.
3 (5m 22s):
So it makes it unique in that sense.
1 (5m 24s):
Yeah. And it’s a really great day trip from DC. It’s also a really good weekend getaway and Shenandoah is a really long, thin national park and it follows the blue Ridge mountains and it has so many beautiful features like these rolling foothills, secluded hollows, creeks, forests, waterfalls, and really amazing Vista views of the Shenandoah valley. And one of the major draws to Shenandoah national park is it has a skyline drive, which is 105 miles that runs from the north side of the park to the south side of the park. And it has over 75 overlooks.
1 (6m 6s):
And it has just like really, really beautiful views of Shenandoah valley, which is to the west and the Piedmont area of Virginia to the east. So even if you’re not a hiker and you just want to take that really scenic drive, you can get out and enjoy all 75 of those are really beautiful overlooks. If you wanted to
2 (6m 24s):
Seventy-five, that’ll give you busy all day.
3 (6m 26s):
That’ll take a long time. I even think driving that 105 mile north to south or south to north, I guess, whichever way you decide to enter the park, right? But that’s crazy. It’s 105 miles and that’s the main road through the park, the skyline drive. And the reason for that is if you have the opportunity, you should really just Google Shenandoah national park and look at the border boundaries of it. It is the longest narrowest thing that you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s so oddly shaped because if you look into the history of when they were trying to form this park, this was obviously private land owned by people. So they had to do little buyouts here and there, but it really protects that mountain range, but it’s just one thin line all the way.
3 (7m 6s):
So this literally runs through that thin area of the mountain range.
2 (7m 10s):
That’s pretty cool. So when you took this trip, did you guys drive that whole 1 0 5 miles?
1 (7m 15s):
We didn’t drive the entire stretch. We drove probably a good 30 mile portion of it. Okay.
2 (7m 20s):
1 (7m 21s):
Which is just as beautiful. Like I feel like we got a really good experience, even only doing that amount
3 (7m 27s):
Because the hike that we did, which we’re going to get into very shortly here, you didn’t access it from that road. It was actually at the very edge end of the park and you get in there not through a main entrance. And so when we decided that we were going to be driving a portion of this, we actually had to leave the park, go outside of it and get to the north end and then come back down to do that 35 miles stretch. So it’s really odd that you can’t access everything even from that main road.
1 (7m 55s):
So the most popular destination in the park is old rag mountain. And we wanted to do the old rag mountain hike, which is a nine mile loop with huge elevation gain. You’re hiking about 2,600 feet in elevation gain. And I was reading online that it was going to take anywhere from five to eight hours. So it was going to be a pretty big chunk of our day.
3 (8m 20s):
And that’s why we didn’t want to do that whole 105 mile drive after doing that. I would be way, way too long for that. But like I said earlier, this is in that odd area where you don’t access this portion from the main road. And this is the most popular hike from my understanding within the park itself. So from the parking lot to start this hike, you just really ascend up that whole 2,650 feet that Brittany said. And while you’re here, this portion is really, really well shaded. It’s awesome. You’re walking through all these trees. It’s so green. It’s so lush. You even have greenery with ferns growing on the floor. So it’s just all around you.
3 (9m 0s):
But the climactic point is obviously getting to the top of old rag, but to get there, you have to do some bolder scrambling to the top. So it gets to the point where there’s no longer really designated trail. You have to hike these boulders. Obviously they direct you on which way to go and as the most efficient route, but it takes a long time. Once you get to that point to really summit it, because you have to take your time climbing these rocks, and then sometimes you climb and then you have to fall to only climb right back up because they drop you. So really, really fun. Really interesting hike.
1 (9m 34s):
Yeah, absolutely. The rock scramble is one of my favorite parts. It’s a really unique, you’re climbing over rocks under rocks between rocks. Sometimes you have to drop down in between crevices. So it was a really unique hike. And we have like a ton of squad tips for like this hike in general. So first off there are some blue trail markers. So when you lose the actual trail, you’ll see painted on the rocks like a blue rectangle. And so you follow those and you’ll know that you’re following the path,
3 (10m 8s):
The proper path of the Boulder scramble.
1 (10m 11s):
Yes. Another squad tip is to wear pants because while you’re scrambling over all of these rocks, you’re gonna get scratched up. So the pants are gonna protect you in that process.
2 (10m 21s):
We just did a hike here in San Diego Lawson peak trail. And there were Boulder scrambles in that one too. So then would you also recommend like a long sleeve shirt for that same reason?
1 (10m 32s):
I didn’t feel like my arms really got the brunt end of it. I felt like my legs did a long sleeve shirt would be nice, but if it’s hotter or you’re hiking in the summer months, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.
3 (10m 43s):
Yeah. And I think the pants are more essential than the long sleeve, simply because with your hands, you could at least push yourself up and use them as you know, your prop. But depending on how high you’re having to really scramble that you’re going to have to set your knee or your shin down on the rock to get that extra support. And so you kind of want that layer because that repetitive push off of that many times to the top is going to put some wear on tear. So the pants are clutch.
2 (11m 7s):
Was this one of those moments when you slap the ass and say good game?
3 (11m 10s):
Oh, I know I can’t wait to get to that part. The episode coming up at that was at New River Gorge, not here
2 (11m 17s):
Preview from the video that I watched earlier. Yeah.
1 (11m 21s):
And so also hike this hike clockwise. It’s going to give you those really amazing views and it’s a shorter ascend to the top. So it makes it quicker in that sense. And then it’s easier to Boulder and rocks ramble in this direction. Then I feel like it would be in the opposite direction.
3 (11m 39s):
Yeah. And another thing, going back to what Brittany just said, we didn’t mention about the trail for the doing it, the clockwise. It really is the best route because once you’re done with the Boulder scramble and you’re at the top and you go down, you are on a trail going through the mountains through the forest, but at some point you really get to a fire road that they have for service vehicles. That’s really part of the trail. And it’s actually really, really rather long in there. And even though it seems flat, like you can tell it’s actually steep. So you’re actually hiking up more in the opposite direction than you would be if you went the other way. So I think you have more of a downhill to reprieve yourself if you do it in the clockwise motion versus counter-clockwise.
1 (12m 20s):
Yeah. And because this is one of the most popular, not the one of the most popular, it is the most popular hike in the entire park go during the weekday, if possible, to beat the crowds, try to get there early in the morning to also beat the heat as well, and bring a lunch with you to take to the top. There was plenty of space to spread out and enjoy your lunch with really amazing views of the Shenandoah like rolling foothills and the lush greenery around you.
2 (12m 48s):
Okay. Two questions. What did you have for lunch and where did you get it?
3 (12m 54s):
Really, really good questions on that one. Yeah. You want to bring it because there is for sure, no place within that area on this hike to get lunch. So what we did, and one of my favorite things about going to the east coast is they have a grocery store chain called Publix. Maybe you’ve seen it in Florida, Kemp big in
2 (13m 11s):
Florida. They giveaway cookies.
3 (13m 13s):
Well that’s news to me and I love public. So next time I go back, I’m going to have to go. But they had a Publix that was by the hotel that we were staying at. So we got the sandwich the night before, cause we were leaving so early in the morning before the grocery store even opened. And so we got one of their deli sandwiches, which I love every time we go to a state that has Publix, we really get one. And so that was our lunch. And then we kept it in our collapsible cooler, which we bring, which we should put in the show notes here for you guys, because we love that. And it’s really clutch, especially if you’re gonna be doing hiking. And so we had a beautiful deli sandwich at the summit overlooking. So bomb.
2 (13m 53s):
Yeah. We actually have a page on our website where we link to all of the travel products that we recommend. So I’ll not only link it in our show notes, but I will put it on that page on our website. So anybody can go and buy it off Amazon real quick. But I have a follow-up question. You mentioned there’s a Publix next to the hotel you stayed at. Where did you stay? What city? What was the hotel? And do you remember how much you paid per night?
3 (14m 15s):
Yeah, so I said hotel, we actually stayed in a timeshare this time we exchanged our timeshare and it was in Williamsburg, Virginia. So we used Williamsburg really as our hub. And so I forgot. How long did it take to get from Williamsburg to Shenandoah was about three hours. Yeah, so rather far, and we knew from shin and Doha, we were going to be continuing on the next day to go to New River Gorge, to do the whitewater rafting. So we drove after that fact. So that was the only time after our hike here at Shenandoah that we did not stay at our timeshare.
2 (14m 50s):
And what was the timeshare called?
3 (14m 52s):
The timeshare was called the colonies. I believe the
1 (14m 54s):
Colonies at Williamsburg.
2 (14m 56s):
And would you recommend,
1 (14m 57s):
Yeah, we had a really nice timeshare. It was two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen living room. That really nice area. It’s
2 (15m 4s):
A space for you to,
3 (15m 5s):
Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, there was the option to do the one or the two bedroom and then it was like only one or two points more to exchange it for that. And even though we weren’t really using it or having anybody else with us, it’s always nice to have this space.
2 (15m 17s):
Did you sleep in both beds?
3 (15m 19s):
We did not. Well, I take that back Brittany and I got in a fight one night. I slept in the other room. I know, I know.
1 (15m 27s):
But you know, Jamal did mention that the drive was three hours and I was looking at the route trying to see if there were any like subways along the way and all of the subways along the way, didn’t open until like 10:00 AM, which was going to be much later than we wanted to get to the Trailhead plus still like a drive distance from where we were. So that’s why we got the public sandwich the day before and packed it in our collapsible cooler, which was super clutch.
3 (15m 53s):
And if you’re feeling concerned, oh, how’s the sandwich going to hold on me for a day? Well, Brittany was concerned on that and I was telling her like, we’re not really seeing anything else. And I love Publix. Like I get excited when I get to a state that has public. So I told Brittany, I said, I’m positive. It’s going to hold. Well, it’s fine. Like, let’s just get it, put it in the fridge. I had faith. And let me tell you something sandwich held like a champ. It was so good at the fricking top. It was good. Yeah. It held well. So don’t worry about that. I mean, if it was on like flat bread, like white bread, wheat bread probably wouldn’t have hold, but it’s like on a hoagie. So it’s good. Yeah.
1 (16m 28s):
Yeah. Another thing too, that I read prior to going on this trip was that there’s a lot of false summits on the trail. And although the views super beautiful, you’re not at the summit until there’s a sign saying you’re at the summit. So we would get to a point where like, is this the top? It looks like the top. How much further could we really go? Cause your sun exposed at this point and you’ve gone through parts of the rock scramble, but literally you’re not there. And tell the sign says you’re there.
3 (16m 53s):
Yeah. Because Brittany told me that as we were hiking out that there’s lots of false summits and then you do the scramble and because you’re so close to the rocks, you really can’t see further. So you think you got to it. And at one point, like we saw like, oh, the trail continues. But we really thought at one time we were actually at the summit. So we started taking like a few photos and continued on and then realized, oh, it’s actually just right behind here. And that’s where we finally had the sandwich. But actually the majority of our photos that we’re probably going to post, we were maybe about 0.1 of a mile away from it where we were taking
2 (17m 26s):
A picture of the sandwich.
3 (17m 29s):
I don’t think, I don’t think so, but just Google public sandwiches. They’re bomb.
1 (17m 34s):
Yeah. And as we were talking about the rock scramble, one of the biggest crevices and drops we had between the rocks was probably about a 12 foot drop. And so I’m sure I’m like five feet. So there were times that like you’re using your hands in your legs and then you’re scooting your body as down on the rock. And then you just kind of have to let yourself drop a little bit to like get to the next point. And that can be a little scary when you’re five feet tall. And that’s one of the things too is like, how do we done this hike in the opposite direction? I don’t know how I would’ve gotten back up.
2 (18m 6s):
Like Jamal would have had to prop you up there
1 (18m 8s):
Seriously. Like it’s easier to go down than it is to go up like a 12 foot crevasse.
3 (18m 14s):
I mean, that’s pretty much old rag. We made it to the top. So, so beautiful. Like I said, the opposite way down that we went, you’re going down a trail through the mountains. Eventually the majority of the way, if you go clockwise here is going to be that fire service road. It gets relatively flat. So it’s nice, but it’s still at an angle. So it’s a nice reprieve for you. And I think it’s best really to go that way. For sure.
1 (18m 40s):
Yes, absolutely. And then when we were done with the hike, that’s when we wanted to drive the sky Ridge Parkway and we did see some of those overlooks and we wanted to go to the visitor center to pick up our Christmas ornament and get some souvenirs. And there’s a lot of camping in that area. So there was actually a shop next to the visitor center that sold like beer and coffee and snacks and all of that.
3 (19m 3s):
Oh, we picked up some beer so that when we got to our hotel in West Virginia, we can crack one. I mean that was a nine mile hike. And it’s exhausting doing that. Boulder scramble well, well worth it, but we thought we needed some well-deserved survey says after the fact. So we picked up the beers there and for a visitor center to national park, they were selling it very inexpensively. I mean, they were selling like tall cans for like two 50. Yeah, yeah. Not too bad. And they had some of their local craft beer in that area there as well. So really good stuff.
2 (19m 32s):
Nothing like a hike and a beer that goes better together. Yeah,
1 (19m 36s):
It was so good. So they also had a gas station at the top. And did you hear about the cyber attack on the colonial?
2 (19m 44s):
Of course you guys were in that
3 (19m 47s):
We were in that mess. We had issues finding gas.
1 (19m 50s):
So if y’all don’t remember, or you don’t know what it was, there was a cyber attack on the colonial pipeline, which supplies a lot of the gas to like the east coast states. And so Virginia was one of the most effected states along with like North Carolina, South Carolina, I think, and into Georgia,
2 (20m 10s):
Even down to Nashville.
1 (20m 12s):
So we get to the gas station and we’re like, this is a good place to fill guests because we’re going to move on to West Virginia. And it was going to be quite a drive afterwards, like a three-hour drive when we were on our way to Shenandoah, it was pretty remote. So there wasn’t a lot of gas stations along the way. And we pull up to that gas station and it’s shut off and someone pulls up next to us and they’re like, have you heard about the cyber attack? And we’re like, what? No.
2 (20m 39s):
Oh, it just said start.
1 (20m 40s):
It had just started.
3 (20m 42s):
Well, apparently I had started a couple of days before, but no one really knew about it because there supply and then it started to gain news traction at this point. And so I hadn’t heard, I mean, we were driving that whole day. We’re on vacation. I’m not really listening to the news. So as I’m trying to fill, and there’s no gas, I’m waiting for Brittany to actually come back from the visitor center to bring me a red bull because I changed my mind was like, oh, you know what? I should probably just get it now if we’re going to fill gas here. So Brittany comes out and like, this lady is telling me that there’s absolutely no gas like whatsoever. Like there’s a shortage, there’s a cyber attack. And sure enough, luckily, you know, we actually had service in this area, ironically, so I Google it.
3 (21m 24s):
And the first thing I see is gas shortages on the east coast. I’m like, fuck man, I got a three hour drive ahead of me here to get to West Virginia. I already don’t really have a lot of gas. So it started to make me kind of like panic in a sense, because I
2 (21m 38s):
Was like freak out.
3 (21m 39s):
I did not have a freak out. No, but I was like, all right. I mean, we just got to drive. And so the first gas station that we saw as we were leaving the park, not the one, obviously by the visitor center, I told Brittany, I said, oh, I got to fill gas. And there was already a line there of people waiting to fill. So we spent about 45 minutes waiting in line for the gas and then some raggedy bitch. I hate to use that expression, cut the line. And nobody said anything to her. And then she took forever. Cause then she brought out her like gas, canister jugs then fills her own car. And it was taken all this time, which was rather annoying. Yeah. So we were in it and you know, realistically, we’re not gonna talk about it probably too much more on this portion here because we experienced it more.
3 (22m 27s):
Once we got back to like Virginia and did our other stuff, not when we’re at the national parks, but there was times where we had to go to like four or five gas stations before we finally found gas. And if there was gas, it wasn’t regular unleaded. It was premium. And that was all that was left
2 (22m 41s):
Premium in a car that takes unleaded.
3 (22m 44s):
Yeah. Because premium is unleaded. It’s just like a higher grade and stuff. Like
2 (22m 49s):
What a day to be on a road trip.
3 (22m 52s):
Yeah. It was kind of a, but when got real quick though, I know we’re talking about this. I just want to mention on that drive. It’s very scenic. And so if you can actually complete it, not going to be doing hiking, it would be nice. If you’re lucky, you can catch a lot of wildlife. You can see deer there’s even black bears in that area. We were really hopeful that we would see bear even on the old rag hike. We did. We saw the sign saying, be bear aware. So they’re in the area. We
2 (23m 17s):
Will have your bear spray.
3 (23m 18s):
We did not have bear spray. Now we’ve had this discussion before black bears don’t really concern me to get a bear spray. Although I say that and you know, knock on wood, it doesn’t happen. That’s going to be the one time I get attacked by a bear. It might be a black bear and then I’ll have to take it back, but you can see amazing wildlife. And that’s all I just really wanted to say. Cause I don’t think we touched on that
2 (23m 36s):
About the gas though. I can imagine Virginia West Virginia has a lot cheaper gas than California, where we live. What was the gas price like there with the shortage,
3 (23m 46s):
The governors of those states declared a state of emergency. So when they do that, technically people can’t raise the prices to price gouge on you. So they actually stayed the same. And I think the average gas price was around like two 50 to two 70 is what we saw. Yeah.
1 (24m 1s):
It wasn’t too bad
2 (24m 2s):
As is we’re over here at like four 70.
3 (24m 3s):
Yeah. Sometimes I think the highest we saw was actually 2 99, maybe three 15.
1 (24m 10s):
It was in the threes for sure.
3 (24m 11s):
The low threes. But consistently I feel like most of it was around 2 99. We’d find it in the 2 75 range though.
2 (24m 18s):
That’s such a good squad tip for someone looking to do an affordable road trip. If you want to fly somewhere and then rent a car, choosing a place that has cheaper gas, you can see more for less.
1 (24m 30s):
Absolutely you can.
3 (24m 31s):
And so from this point on, we were again, driving to West Virginia, we had just filled gas after waiting in that line and we thought to ourselves, okay, we should be fine in West Virginia because West Virginia shouldn’t be effected. They don’t receive their gas from the colonial pipeline. But where we were staying was so close to the border of Virginia, like five miles over that everybody there had a panic. So we were able to get gas, but one location was out and then the Walmart gas station was the only one that still had gas, but it was premium only. I think that, that
1 (25m 8s):
3 (25m 9s):
1 (25m 10s):
And then the Walmart only had premium and we’re like, we’ll take
3 (25m 13s):
It. So the panic bias came in to states that shouldn’t have even been affected.
2 (25m 16s):
Did we learn anything from the toilet paper? No,
3 (25m 19s):
No. We did not.
1 (25m 20s):
We’re putting gas in plastic bags. Like did you see those memes on the internet? Like people were putting gas in totes gas and plastic bags. Like they were just putting gas wherever they can put
2 (25m 33s):
It. And now there’s going to be a guest surplus.
3 (25m 35s):
I know. Well they said if people weren’t panic buying, there would be no gas shortage. If people were just buying it at the rate in which they needed it, where they’d be fine. But because it got out on the news, then it just created the whole panic and onslaught.
1 (25m 47s):
I saw someone with their what’s it called their lawn mower in the back so that they could feel like the lawn mower gas.
2 (25m 54s):
Cause it’s going to be really important to mow your lawn in that moment.
3 (25m 57s):
Maybe they thought it’s something that whole gas and I could siphon from here. I don’t know. I don’t know. But yeah, people getting crazy out there.
2 (26m 3s):
I mean, you didn’t really know what was going to happen with that ransom attack. And luckily the company, they actually paid over $4 million
3 (26m 11s):
In Bitcoin on the last I heard
2 (26m 13s):
1 (26m 14s):
Oh shit. Wow. Learn a lot from that. Hey travelers, let’s take a quick detour to talk all about our traveler itineraries that we’ve created just for you. We now have six different trip itineraries one week in Kauai
2 (26m 26s):
And American Southwest weekend or road trip
3 (26m 29s):
A week in Yellowstone and grand Teton, national parks,
1 (26m 32s):
The road trip adventure featuring all three of Washington. State’s national parks,
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Big island, Hawaii, and an Arizona road trip that features all three of Arizona’s national parks.
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We have story highlights on our Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, where you can see the full guides. We’ve done all of the research and have taken these exact trips, taking out all of the guesswork from the planning. So all that you have to do is show up and have fun
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1 (29m 13s):
But anyways enough, about the gas shortage, We didn’t go on this trip to talk about the gas shortage. So we did make it to Lewisburg West Virginia. And that was where we were going to stay for our adventure into New River Gorge National Parks.
2 (29m 27s):
And did you stay at a new place? Not the timeshare.
1 (29m 30s):
We didn’t see at the timeshare, since it was farther away, we stayed at a hotel. We stayed at a holiday Inn that had a breakfast booth fig oh, hell
3 (29m 39s):
Yeah. Yes. A Louisburg, like I said was like 10 miles over the border from Virginia into West Virginia. New River Gorge is about an hour drive away from here. Mileage wise, it’s actually relatively close. It’s just because the highway that you have to go on is not like interstate standards, right? It’s not like a double lane. You’re going through mountain roads. So mileage wise, not too far away. So we thought that this was a good spot for us.
2 (30m 3s):
Okay. And you have to take us through the spread. I’ve got to know. I haven’t seen a breakfast buffet in years.
1 (30m 9s):
My God, they had a lot of things. They had one of those automatic pancake makers that makes two pancakes and less than a minute.
2 (30m 16s):
3 (30m 17s):
Yeah. You know what the best part about that was Kim? You weren’t there to steal my pancakes like you did the last time we had that
2 (30m 22s):
Pancake and then have the dough run out. Yeah.
1 (30m 25s):
They also had like yogurt cereals, new meals. They had their cinnamon rolls holiday and always has their cinnamon rolls. There was fruit, there was a lot
3 (30m 34s):
Of the veggie omelet,
1 (30m 37s):
Cheese omelet, the Turkey sausages. Yeah. There was a lot of, I think
2 (30m 42s):
He just might have to go and just stay there just for this
3 (30m 46s):
Holiday Inn. And I feel like it has a pretty consistent breakfast buffet spread. I feel like a lot of the times that we’ve stayed at a holiday Inn and they’ve had a breakfast buffet, like 90% of the stuff that we just described, they always have other ones. Maybe there’s like one or two rotations on something.
2 (31m 0s):
I’ve seen all of that before at the holidays. And though we’ve stayed at
1 (31m 3s):
2 (31m 4s):
That’s amazing. So I
1 (31m 5s):
Had to post a story and I was like rare sighting Back.
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I will have to add it to our highlight on our page for the breakfast buffet.
1 (31m 15s):
Yeah. So this national park wasn’t on our original itinerary. We knew in advance. We were going to Williamsburg. We were going to use it as a hub and all of that and Shenandoah was on our original itinerary, but New River Gorge, National park wasn’t and Jamal had actually said, you know, I don’t think we’re that far from New River Gorge and its iconic bridge that spans the river. And we looked at it and we’re like, no, it’s too far away. But the moment it became a national park back in December, 2020, we’re like, we’re going to find a way to add it to this itinerary. Like we have to.
3 (31m 46s):
Yeah. Because if we were to drive from Williamsburg to here, it’s like a five-hour drive. And I don’t mind driving a lot in a day. And then we did a lot of driving for other stuff that we did on this trip when we went to DC and Maryland and whatnot. But none of them were really, you know, five-hour drives. And so like Britney said, we had that whole conversation, but it wasn’t a national park as this trip was planned, like from July or August of last year, we had made plans that we were going to be going here to Williamsburg and
2 (32m 13s):
Shenandoah trip 10 months in advance.
3 (32m 15s):
Oh yeah. Wow.
2 (32m 17s):
Yeah. And so did you have to change your dates to extend, to go to New River Gorge?
1 (32m 22s):
So we had some wiggle room in our original itinerary and we had originally thought we were going to pop down in North Carolina and instead we didn’t do that and went to West Virginia and stuff.
2 (32m 31s):
3 (32m 32s):
Yeah. So once this became a national park where like we’re adding it to the itinerary, we got to go and that’s why this is the one night we did not stay at the timeshare. We’re like, all right, we have to get a hotel and we made it work. And it was really, really fun. So again, it’s about an hour drive from Lewisburg here and it’s still so new. None of the signs there even really say national park, it was a national river and national recreation area, but it’s so new. Nothing says national parks still, but they do have a visitor center because it was still under the jurisdiction of the national park service. And then visitor center, I would highly recommend going to, not that the visitor center itself is spectacular, but there’s a walkway bridge that they build on the side of the mountain.
3 (33m 18s):
That gives you the amazing views of this bridge that spans the Gorge and the river. And it’s so iconic. I think it’s like the largest arched bridge in the Western hemisphere and super, super tall, super beautiful
1 (33m 32s):
Third highest bridge in the United States in general,
2 (33m 36s):
It was giving me vibes of big Sur.
1 (33m 40s):
Yeah, it does kind of have that feeling, but this does span the river. And the reason why it was created was to reduce a 40 minute drive down these mountain roads
3 (33m 49s):
1 (33m 50s):
Get to the other side, to under a minute.
2 (33m 52s):
3 (33m 53s):
So it really helped the local population. I think they built this in the seventies, right? The bridge in the seventies.
2 (33m 58s):
And it’s still, it’s an actual bridge.
3 (34m 0s):
Oh yeah. It’s really cool. If you go online, they have certain events on this bridge where they’ll close it down. They’ll actually put vendors out there. People can walk across like on the anniversary of its opening day. I forgot what that was.
1 (34m 14s):
There’s like a annual bridge date. So they like shut the bridge down and they have all these vendors out there and you can walk in.
3 (34m 21s):
Yeah. And they’ll have people base jump off of there, down the river and then land onto the side. Oh, I knew of that. They told us that when we were there and then I just came across a video when we got home that I sent to Brittany on Instagram of someone being launched off a catapult from the bridge, doing his base, jumping, just popping a shoot. And I sent that to Brittany and she was like, fuck, no, I would not do that.
2 (34m 45s):
That’s crazy. I’ve seen experiences where they’ll do like pop-up dinners with these huge long tables on bridges like that. And I’ve always wanted to do something like that. This bridge would be beautiful for something like that.
1 (34m 55s):
Yeah. And I feel like it has the adequate amount of space to do that too. And this bridge is one of the most photographed places in West Virginia because of the beauty of the bridge and then the surrounding area with the river flowing underneath it.
2 (35m 9s):
Do you think there’s a lot of other competing, beautiful sites out in West Virginia? How was it there?
3 (35m 14s):
West Virginia was beautiful. At least the area that we saw of West Virginia was really, really beautiful.
2 (35m 19s):
It’s beautiful in the fall.
3 (35m 20s):
Oh yeah. Everything was just so green. So green.
1 (35m 24s):
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I imagine that’s like red and orange and brown and green. Oh my gosh. The fall got to go.
1 (35m 30s):
So when we were thinking about New River Gorge national park, we were like, what should we do? And it’s like, when you go to the grand canyon, you can’t go to that area and not see the grand canyon. And so this is called New River Gorge for a reason. So we’re like, you know what? This area is known for whitewater rafting. We have to book a whitewater rafting adventure. And I am so glad we did.
3 (35m 52s):
Can you believe it? Brittany said, no hike a whitewater raft instead because there’s hiking in the area and supposedly there’s this one really good hike that will give you amazing views of the bridge. I forgot what it is called. So for that, I do apologize. But if I’m being completely honest, I would not do any hiking here. If you have limited time, you need to do the whitewater rafting. If you’re going to do one thing.
1 (36m 15s):
So I had looked up some companies and we settled on a company called adventures on the Gorge. And I wouldn’t say we settled. We were stoked with our experience. It was amazing. And they actually have a whole like recreational area where they have like cabins and they have a gift shop and like a little restaurant and a bar and they have a pool and the pool has a deck that has amazing views of the bridge from their area. So it’s a really good spot in general and their, their experience and their hospitality just was amazing. Like it was over the top. It was more than I was expecting.
2 (36m 52s):
What was the cost?
1 (36m 53s):
We paid about 110 per person.
2 (36m 56s):
Okay. And what did that include?
1 (36m 58s):
So it included your raft, all of your gear and the four hour adventure on the water plus a lunch.
3 (37m 6s):
Well, you shouldn’t say all the gear, it included pretty much everything you would expect. However, when we were there, even though it was in may, it should have been warmer. They were telling us it’s unseasonably cold, but they go rain or shine. I mean, you’re going to get wet anyway. So they don’t care if it’s raining on you. Right? Yeah. So they actually rent wetsuits specific wetsuits that are conducive to the whitewater rafting and then an over jacket, that’s water wicking and everything like that. And so, so
2 (37m 37s):
That was not included in the one 10,
3 (37m 38s):
That was not included because that’s an extra because realistically, if you’re going to be going during the summer, you don’t want that. It’s actually too hot. It’s going to be cool. So since that’s like something that’s more seasonal and for convenience, that was what, 25 a person extra to rent that, which was well worth it. Because by the time we checked in, in the morning, it was 49 degrees. I don’t want to be spending five hours in the water when it’s 49 degrees in the water’s just as cold. Right. So we did the wet suit. So that’s the only thing that, that one 10 didn’t include.
1 (38m 7s):
Yeah. When I said gear, I meant like your helmet, your paddle, your life vest, like that type of
3 (38m 12s):
Gear. I’d hope they’d provide that.
2 (38m 14s):
Yeah. No life vest. You were in West Virginia. So you booked it direct from them. Not through like Viator or something like that through
1 (38m 21s):
2 (38m 22s):
Okay. And then what did they give you for lunch?
1 (38m 25s):
So they had a little spread where you can make your own sandwich.
2 (38m 29s):
And how was the sandwich as compared to Publix?
3 (38m 32s):
I mean, I don’t want to knock on this cause I enjoyed adventures on the Gorge, much. Like Britney said, the hospitality and everything was just so great, but you cannot compare the sandwich. They provided me on the banks of the river here to a public sandwich. I’m just going to say that. But in general I was stoked with it. They had a whole selection of meats, your breads, obviously they had your Mayo mustard, they had potato salad, tuna salad. They had fresh fruit for you. Chips and salsa.
2 (38m 58s):
3 (38m 59s):
Velvet cake. Yeah. So I mean,
1 (39m 2s):
It didn’t look store, buy, it looks homey.
3 (39m 4s):
It was a good lunch for what you’re doing. Right. I mean, it’s not like someone’s coming to meet you at the banks of the river and providing it to you. They have to pack it. And so for what it is then packing it. It’s great.
1 (39m 17s):
Yeah. And I do have some squad tips for y’all Research that weather before you go. Because like Jamal said, it was like 49 degrees when we checked in, in the morning and I hadn’t really thought about it that much. And so I had brought synthetic clothes. I had workout shorts and I was going to wear a bathing suit underneath my get-up. And then I was going to wear a like windbreaker jacket and like a light sweater and whatnot. And when we got up to the point where we could check in, we said, do you think this is enough to where like, do you think we’re going to be cold on the water? He said, ma’am I would wear everything you’re wearing plus a wet suit.
2 (39m 57s):
1 (39m 58s):
So I was like, all right, I’m pretty ill-prepared
3 (40m 1s):
I don’t think we’re ill-prepared I think again, unseasonable cold weather for the time that we were there. I mean, if you’re going earlier on in the winter or fall and it’s that cold then. Yeah. Maybe you would have been unprepared, but
2 (40m 14s):
Where are you guys find though with like you’re actively paddling and I saw your face in that video and you were getting it.
3 (40m 20s):
Oh, I was trying, I was trying to get it that’s for sure.
2 (40m 22s):
Were you warmed up or were you still cold?
3 (40m 25s):
No, when you have the wetsuit, you’re good.
1 (40m 27s):
And I think the wetsuit, if I hadn’t had the wetsuit, I would have been miserable. It was really, it was a really nice addition. Okay. And then another squad tip Is to make sure you bring a towel and a change of clothes to leave in your car so that when you get back, you can change right away and get warm because sometimes the water was warmer than the air on the river, because there’s like that wind factor in the windchill. And so once you’re just kind of sitting there and you’re not actively paddling, you do get a little chili. The experience you’re going to have is so great. Like they don’t expect any tips, but it’s nice to tip your guide because you do build like a personal relationship with your guide.
1 (41m 11s):
You’re with him for four hours during the day, you have a really awesome experience. So it’s always nice to end on that.
3 (41m 18s):
Absolutely. But you know, we first got there at 10:00 AM. Cause that’s when they wanted us to go ahead and check in. But realistically you get there at 10. You’re not going to be in the water at 10. By the time they give you your safety demo, explain the whole situation too. You make the mood a little bit lighter with jokes, even though they’re telling you that possibly you can die here, which I don’t say that to scare you. I mean, that’s the reality, right? Anytime you’re on water. I mean, you go to the beach to go swim in the ocean. You could die, right? I mean, so they have to tell you this stuff. So they make it really informative, fun and light, but they make you feel safe because realistically it is safe. They’re very well-trained and you get there.
3 (41m 58s):
Then you have your ride on the bus, which takes about 30 minutes to the point on the river where we’re going to go ahead and launch. And then you’re on the water for about four to five hours. That includes your 45 minutes for lunch. And then you end and when you end, they take you on the bus back, they provide drinks for you at the end alcohol alcoholic beverages, beverages,
2 (42m 24s):
3 (42m 24s):
Have, oh, they had tons of stuff. I got a tall can of Sierra, Nevada. They had beer and all sorts of stuff. I think they even had like a mimosa mix.
1 (42m 33s):
3 (42m 34s):
So they take care of you at the end. So all around great experience. But why don’t you tell them a little bit of like what happened on the river bridge?
1 (42m 42s):
Well, before we even get on the river, Jamal was saying we were driving that bus and Ray, the main guy, he was just cracking jokes left and right on, like, if you fall out of the boat, how to get back
2 (42m 53s):
In and how do you get back in when you fall out?
1 (42m 55s):
So he was saying like, you basically have to grab on the boat and then use your strength to pull yourself up and just kick your feet constantly to try to like her over. And then someone in the boat can try to pull you in. And he was saying, and when you pull them over, you slap their ass real hard. And you say good game, because if you add the good game, that’s how you avoid sexual harassment out in West Virginia.
2 (43m 22s):
3 (43m 23s):
And so there was one point I was telling you this Kim, when we were watching the video, we were fortunate enough that no one really fell out, but they gave us opportunities to get out of the water and just like float down. And Brittany partook in that, along with someone else who was in our boat. And so that guy who was in our boat, who had gotten out, I happened to be closest to him trying to get in. So I was like pulling him in as he’s flowing his legs. And I mean, it’s tough to get back in. Everyone looks like a stupid beached whale, like trying to like get in and flopping around like a fish. But I grabbed him and you know, in the spirit of what Ray said, I wouldn’t have done this if it was a girl, obviously, but since he was a guy, I slapped him on the ass.
3 (44m 4s):
I was like, good game, man.
2 (44m 6s):
Strange man’s ass.
3 (44m 8s):
It was all part of the comradery and a adventure, like
2 (44m 11s):
A little SWAT back.
3 (44m 12s):
No, he did not. Cause I was still seated down. But then an opportunity came where Brittany was out and then like I pulled her in and I gave her like the double slap and I said, it’s okay guys, she’s my wife. And it was a good little laughing moment.
1 (44m 25s):
And they were really talking about paddle safety and to make sure to have your hands on specific parts of the paddle at all times. And like, if you don’t, you might knock out someone’s teeth. And if any of the women get teeth knocked out here, they’re not going to leave West Virginia because they’re going to be a hot commodity.
3 (44m 40s):
So they play on the stereotypes of their own state. I mean, all these people are from there, but yeah, they make the whole experience really, really fun.
1 (44m 48s):
Yeah. So then we make it down to the water. We meet our guide. His name was Mike. He was amazing. And then there was three couples in our boat, including us. So two other couples, us and then Mike, so seven people total. And you know, I didn’t know a lot about whitewater rafting. I just thought like, you sit inside of the raft, you don’t, you don’t sit inside of the raft. You sit on the edge of the rock. Like your, your butt is on the edge so that you have access to the water to paddle through when you get to those rapids. And I also didn’t know that you were actively paddling hard through those rapids. Like I thought, and this is my like naiveness and whatnot, not knowing the experience.
1 (45m 30s):
I was like, you know, like when you go through the rapids, like it’s, we’re just going to be writing these rapids. No, you’re fucking paddling. As hard as you can.
3 (45m 37s):
If you don’t paddle, the rapids are gonna win and it’s gonna like, just shoot you all around. So the paddling actually keeps you on trajectory as much as you can. I mean, nature’s going to win in a sense, but this really helps keep you straight. And on top of that, believe it or not the paddling and actively doing it. Like when you have your paddle in the water, it keeps a second point really on your body, like anchored in because you have that type of a resistance. So they’re like, you have to paddle for one safety and two, this will actually help you from falling out potentially because you have like a form of resistance, but they also tell you, okay, you’re on the edge. There are certain spots in the boat where you’re like you tuck in your heel and your toes to kind of like anchor yourself in and brace.
3 (46m 20s):
So they’ll tell you when you got to brace how to do it. So, I mean, it’s really comprehensive. You’re not just being thrown out into the wild in a sense.
2 (46m 27s):
We have some video footage, like we talked about of your experience, whitewater rafting. And we’re going to put it on our YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast. So go subscribe now. So you can see the video, but as I was watching this, I am shocked that you didn’t fall out. You guys are just like going up and down and waves are crashing over and you’re like under water, like, how did you survive this?
1 (46m 52s):
I think it was through like the active paddling. And then our guide was so great. Like right when we started and we were on calm water, he practiced some drills with us. Like, these are the commands I’m going to give you. So he’d be like paddle two strokes forward paddle, one stroke back. And then he was just like guiding us. And then before the rapid test, he would say, okay, this is how we’re going to enter the rapids. This is our game plan. If anyone falls out, this is what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna go to this area. We’ll come back. And then, you know, you’ll be able to swim to us. So it was a lot of prep talk and really good guidance from my,
3 (47m 25s):
Yeah. I mean, each rapid that you come and approach because it’s not like it’s continuous rapids, there’s calm. And then they ranged from class one to class five. So really mild ones to a lot more, you know, intense ones. The
2 (47m 38s):
Top class that a rapid can go to.
3 (47m 40s):
I think he said five. I think they have some places in other spots where they have like a special rating of like a six or something, six plus that he said, I don’t really remember. But he said, that’s so rare. Like true standard is like one to five. And
1 (47m 54s):
We went through a lot of fun.
3 (47m 55s):
Yeah. And they know every rapid that’s coming up. The name where the rocks are, how is the water supposed to move? So each rapid that you come across before you go through it, they’ll give you that briefing that says like, here, this one, if you fall out, you need to go to the right. If you fall out, you need to make sure that you go to the left. And so you always felt that comfort factor, because one, they know what they’re talking about. And two they’re advising you like, should this happen? This is what you need to do. So you really, really feel safe.
1 (48m 23s):
Yeah. So Jamal was mentioning the class of rapids one through five. So when we got to one of the first sets of rapids, they were pretty easy. It was like a class one. And Mike said, it’s a, swimmer’s rapid. If anyone wants to get out of the raft and swim these rapids, like go ahead and do so. And it was pretty early on in our adventure. And I’m like, I was getting real FOMO. Like if I don’t do it, like, am I going to regret not doing it? Someone else in our boat was like, I think I’m going to have to, I look at Jamal. Jamal’s like, you’re fucking stupid. I’m not getting in because it looks cold.
3 (48m 56s):
No, that’s not what it was for me. But finish what you’re going to say. And then I’m going to have to defend myself because Brittany. Yeah.
1 (49m 3s):
So when the other couple in our boat committed to getting out, I was like, yeah, I’m definitely going to get out and swim the rapids too. Cause like, when else am I going to have this experience
2 (49m 12s):
Basically swim through them instead of writing them on the wrath. Yeah.
1 (49m 15s):
Okay. So he said, when you get into the water, put your feet out in front of you, lay on your back and just float through them. And so I’m like, okay, no big deal. It’s just like, you know, lying in a bathtub and floating. Right. But no, even these class one rapids, the waves are crashing on your face. And when you get in the water, the water is cold. It’s probably like 50 degree water. If not cooler, although you are wearing a wetsuit and that helps you, there is still some like shock factor because your, your face is exposed. Your hands are exposed. All of that. So when I first got in, like, you kind of like gas because you’re like trying to breathe and then all of this water is like pouring on your face.
1 (49m 57s):
And so then I realized as I swam through those rapids, as fun as it was, I was like, I can’t fall out like throughout the rest of this, because I can’t imagine falling out in class three, class four, class five rapids, it would have been crazy,
2 (50m 11s):
But don’t, you kind of get hit by rocks.
3 (50m 14s):
Well, that’s why they’re the swimmer rapids. These were really, really light. And they said, this is like the only place where if you got out, it would be okay because the rocks are far enough from the surface that you’re not going to hit them. Like they create enough rapids for you to go through it, but you won’t hit the rocks, but that’s why they tell you feet first is because if you hit the rocks, they want your feet to hit it. And not your head, not the side of your body. And so that’s why you should float down that way. But they advised us that the rocks are away from this area. Like further under that you really shouldn’t hit it.
1 (50m 47s):
And so, while we were going through the first part of the rafting experience, Jamal and I were towards the back of the RAF, there was two couples sitting in front of us. And Mike was at the very end. And then we made it to lunch. And right before lunch, our raft almost flipped. Like we were vertical up in the air. We got that on video. It looked like we were going to flip in that one. And Mike and everyone else that was watching us also thought we were going to fit that
2 (51m 10s):
The one where Mike in the back goes like completely under,
3 (51m 13s):
No, that was somebody else that you had saw. So when Britney said there was seven of us in the boat, like the three couples, including us, plus Mike, there were more people on our tour. There were two other boats that were full. So the guide that you saw that went under in the back end, that was somebody else. I forgot what his name was, but that wasn’t our guide mic.
1 (51m 32s):
We kind of dropped down. And so everyone in the front, like move forward. So all of the weight was like going down and then Mike was popping up in the back.
2 (51m 42s):
Oh, that’s where you guys all tumbled on to each other and the guy broke his door. Yeah,
3 (51m 46s):
Yeah, yeah. And they tell you it’s actually a paddle, not an OrCam to throw that out there. But yeah, there was so much pressure from all of us falling in on each other. He hit it on his girlfriend who was with us and he busted his a pattern.
2 (51m 59s):
Oh, see, I watched the video and I feel like I was on the trip. Yeah.
3 (52m 4s):
But I want to go back real quick and defend myself. And Brittany was saying,
8 (52m 7s):
you get in the water?
3 (52m 10s):
No, that’s not what it was.
1 (52m 12s):
3 (52m 12s):
No, no, no. I just need to defend myself. I had this conversation with Brittany, which is funny because the couple in front, the one who broke his paddle, he was the one who was thinking first like, oh, I should get out. And then when he decided that he was going to get out, his girlfriend did. And I told Brittany after the fact, it was funny because I could read Brittany’s facial expressions pretty well. I would think. And hope after 14 years I could figure it out. And I watched her whole mental thinking process unfold through her facial expressions. It was like, oh God, should I get out now? And then I could see her getting the FOMO, but the thought process was, do I want to get wet this early, like fully, fully wet. And I, like, I knew it. I watched it.
3 (52m 52s):
And I told her what the breakdown was. She said, yeah, that’s true. But I did not get out because this was still like right when we had first gotten in. And like I said, we got onto the water around 1130. So lunch was sooner around the corner than not. And I said, I don’t want to be soaked wet for lunch. So I’m not getting out. And then our tour guide, Mike even heard him. He said, that’s actually a really, really smart idea. So I didn’t get out because I didn’t want to be soaked for lunch. I didn’t want to be wet and uncomfortable for that. That was my main reason.
2 (53m 23s):
Were there other opportunities later on after to swim through the rapids?
3 (53m 26s):
Not to swim because it isn’t voluntarily safe to swim through the rapids.
2 (53m 32s):
No more level one.
3 (53m 33s):
No, no, no, no. I mean, there was level ones, but not the ones that like you should swim in because the rocks are more exposed. I mean, if you fall out, it is what it is. But to just voluntarily, they’d say like, no. Right. But there was an opportunity in the sense that after lunch, they pulled us over to the side of the river in a calm area, like right before rapids where there’s a jumping rock. So we went to this rock and everybody decided to jump. It’s like 20, 25 feet up. And we get out of the rafts on the side, hike up and then we we’re able to just jump into the water. So I partook in that it, wasn’t not wanting to get cold. I didn’t want to be uncomfortable for lunch.
1 (54m 12s):
I also partook in that. And after lunch, we got to switch who wrote in way area. So Jamal and I got front of the raft. We were upfront and all of that action. And I felt like that’s when we hit more of like the class four class five rapids. So we were really getting pelted with like that water. And it was a, it was a crazy, really fun experience. It was super exhilarating.
2 (54m 32s):
So you guys were in the back at some point and then you’re in the front. Would you say like where’s the most ideal spot in the raft?
3 (54m 40s):
Gosh, I really don’t know if there’s a most ideal. It depends on what you want. Quite honestly. I mean, the front is fun because you are seeing it, especially when you have like the big dips that come and then you can actually see down there. Yeah. So, like I said, it depends on what you want in terms of like ideal. I think it’s a crap shoot by ideal. Do you mean less likely to fall out? I think anywhere you are, you’re probably likely to fall out depending on so, but in terms of what you want to see, I think the front is fun.
2 (55m 6s):
About least scary.
1 (55m 7s):
At least scary. I would probably say maybe in the middle. All
2 (55m 12s):
Right. That’s where you’ll find me.
3 (55m 15s):
1 (55m 15s):
Have someone like in front of you, you have someone behind you. Like you’re kind of like secure in there
2 (55m 20s):
And kind of pretend about all, but,
3 (55m 23s):
And if you don’t paddle, you’re going to get hollered at, by your guy.
1 (55m 27s):
So it was a lot of, lot of fun. We had a really amazing experience. It was like when we had gone to Shenandoah, I was like, this is a really awesome trip. Like I love the hike. And then Jamal at the end was like, which national park did you like? Four? And I was like, definitely New River Gorge because it was just such a unique experience.
2 (55m 44s):
I love national parks. There are so many cool things you can do. Like I naively in the past thought it was just hiking and mountains, but it’s not, you can go snorkeling. You can go cave exploring. You can go whitewater rafting. It’s insane out there
3 (56m 0s):
2 (56m 1s):
Yeah. Oh my gosh, God, I just want to go to a national park now.
3 (56m 5s):
And this was a really fun one. I enjoyed it. The scenery out there was great at the whitewater. Rafting was amazing. I told this to Brittany. I mean, it’s so stupid. We grew up close to Sacramento. We have the Sacramento and American river. The American river is more known for its whitewater rafting and good ones. And we never did it. And we live
2 (56m 22s):
Right by when I a kid. I remember having a really crazy time out there with family.
3 (56m 27s):
Yeah. See, I never done it. And it bothers me. Like I lived by it, the majority of my life and never did it. And it’s so
2 (56m 32s):
I did do cash creeks rapids and those are insane.
3 (56m 36s):
Well, those are pretty insane, but we didn’t do it. Whitewater rafting. We were stupid. I mean, I don’t know how you did it, but I’ve mentioned this to you guys before. I don’t know if I’ve ever said this on air. I would get inflatable tubes that you could get like at Walmart, Walgreens or target. Yeah. That should be for pools. You know what I mean? Rice calm water. And then we took these out onto these big rapids out there and went tubing down the river. And I’ve had instances where it’s cheap plastic and it pops off
2 (57m 5s):
3 (57m 6s):
Then your ass is scraping on the rocks. Cause it’s so shallow. I don’t know how I survived that. Let’s put it that way. That, that was crazy. It
2 (57m 14s):
Was correcting you for New River Gorge. It was.
3 (57m 16s):
It was. Yeah.
1 (57m 16s):
Yeah. And so one of the awesome things too, is like, when you get towards the end, we actually floated with our raft under the New River Gorge bridge, which was pretty cool to see that aspect from the water and looking up at it. And then we, we docked really soon after that and like, you help load up your raft and they get it all deflated. And then you load up on a bus as you walk up the bus, there’s a big ass cooler filled with beer.
2 (57m 43s):
That’s a sight to see.
1 (57m 44s):
So like, you’re just like, yeah, I made it through the day and what’s really cool too, is like the camaraderie with your group. Like you’ve never met these people before, but you’re having a lot of fun with them. And every time we like made it through a rapid, we would all put our paddles up and do like a paddle high five. And you know, we’re all like cheering each other on. And then like, we get to enjoy these beers with each other at the end.
3 (58m 5s):
Yeah. And our guide, it was funny as soon as we got on the bus, he said, drink up now as much as you want, because as soon as you get back to the base campus, that’s when you got to start paying for it. Because like I said, their whole area is really like a resort with the cabins, the restaurant bar, everything. So you’ll buy it at the bar if you want, but they’re like, get your fill now. I wish I could have, but we were driving after that back to Williamsburg, which was a five-hour drive. So I only had the one. And then we ate at the restaurant and had dinner after the fact, while we were waiting for that video to be edited of us, whitewater rafting for us to check out. So that was our experience and it was amazing.
1 (58m 44s):
Yeah. So we had dinner up at the bar and they played the video for us so that we could all see and like everyone kind of sticked around to watch the video. And then Jamal and I left to go back to Williamsburg that night. That’s
2 (58m 55s):
3 (58m 56s):
Yeah. It was super fun. I had a great time on both these national parks really, really unique. Both of them.
2 (59m 1s):
So New River Gorge, you guys did this whitewater rafting. Did you just do one day? They’re just this. Yes. What else is there to do there?
1 (59m 9s):
Lots of hiking. A lot of people also go rock climbing or bouldering and like free soloing because there’s a really big cliffs to go into that area as well.
2 (59m 19s):
But so if you could do it again, would you have wanted more time there?
1 (59m 22s):
Yes. I would’ve liked more time to go hiking there.
3 (59m 25s):
Like I said, give good. It only have time for one thing. You got to do the whitewater rafting. I would hike there if I had more time, but that wouldn’t be my priority over whitewater. Right.
2 (59m 33s):
I’m surprised you guys didn’t get up at like 3:00 AM. Get a hike in.
3 (59m 37s):
No, no, definitely. Didn’t why after that, the nine mile hike the day before it Shenandoah negative,
2 (59m 43s):
You know, I’m a little, I don’t know if I’m proud or disappointed, but I heard you guys slept a lot on this trip.
1 (59m 49s):
So not these two days, but the day that we left New River Gorge. So that night after we were at the bar, watch the video play Jamal and I had a five-hour drive back to Williamsburg and we get into Williamsburg. We need gas too. And I’m looking at like gas buddy. And almost half of the gas stations are at a gas. So we’re like we have to find a gas station tonight because we don’t know what the situation is going to be like
3 (1h 0m 14s):
Tomorrow. So by the
1 (1h 0m 15s):
Time we get settled, it’s like midnight, 1230. And the next day we were going to go to Busch gardens in Williamsburg for their food and wine festival. And they didn’t open the park until 3:00 PM. So Jamal and I went to bed at like 1230 and we slept until like 10 30, the next day.
3 (1h 0m 34s):
That was our biggest sleep in chem. So we were up early, we were up early.
1 (1h 0m 39s):
Yeah. And then all we did was like, literally get ready the next day and then go to Bush gardens. So we got a good amount of sleep after those two back-to-back days of super fun packed adventure.
3 (1h 0m 49s):
One thing I just want to say last real quick about New River Gorge. It was funny talking to our guide and other people in the area. I mean, again, it was a national river national recreation area, again, still under the jurisdiction of the national park service before it became a national park. But there’s talk saying how, now that it’s at national park level, obviously it’s going to drive visitors. That’s the main reason why Brittany and I went, right. We knew of it before, but opted not to do it. Then it became a national park and said we had to go. So they are concerned with the influx because they’re saying as a town and in that area, they’re not really ready in terms of like enough hotels, enough restaurants, enough other stuff. So if you go soon and there’s that influx just, you know, be patient, the city, this came unexpected, an unexpected legislation in December.
3 (1h 1m 37s):
They just kind of really threw it in. So they’re trying to figure it out themselves and how they’re going to do, but all around really fun in that area.
2 (1h 1m 45s):
Sounds like a fun trip. And you guys kind of use these two national parks to make a whole week out of it and see some of the other stuff in the area. So that’s awesome. I mean, America, the beautiful has so many different things, you know, West Virginia is like almost the complete opposite side of the country from where we live. So it’s, it’s just really cool that you guys went all the way over there to explore it.
1 (1h 2m 7s):
Yeah. And you know what? I would go back and do some more in both of those national
2 (1h 2m 10s):
Park in the fall. You have to see it in the fall.
1 (1h 2m 12s):
Yes. I’m really glad we thought in may because it was really, really lush and green, but yes, I think in the fall with all of the and Browns and yellows and oranges, I think it would be even more
3 (1h 2m 23s):
Beautiful. We need to go back when they have the bridge festival. Oh,
2 (1h 2m 26s):
3 (1h 2m 27s):
And we could watch people being catapulted off and do some base jumping off of it.
2 (1h 2m 31s):
Maybe you’ll even try it yourself. I
3 (1h 2m 32s):
Don’t know about that.
1 (1h 2m 34s):
Apparently two, there is a way to do like a catwalk underneath the bridge on like the steel ramps, I guess, or the steel structures you can be strapped in and do like a catwalk across the bridge.
3 (1h 2m 49s):
Oh yeah. They had, that was one of our thoughts of what we were going to do also. And obviously we didn’t do it. I wasn’t going to be that or whitewater rafting. We were gonna do that. And whitewater, if we could sneak in the time, we just didn’t have it. So if you don’t want to be that adventurous, you can walk across the bottom of the bridge, have a straight view down.
2 (1h 3m 5s):
I don’t know which one’s more adventurous,
1 (1h 3m 8s):
Hard to pick at this point.
2 (1h 3m 10s):
All right. So we don’t have any questions of the week officially this week because we had a lot of questions come through. As you guys were documenting this trip on our Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast. And so I was asking some of those questions as we were going through. So any last words were closed, this one out,
1 (1h 3m 24s):
I just recommend that, that all of you guys go enjoy both of these national parks. They’re not far from each other and just see what Virginia and West Virginia have to offer.
3 (1h 3m 34s):
Yeah. I love California love growing up here. I’m fortunate enough that we’ve actually traveled a lot within the United States, but other than New York and Florida really haven’t done some east coast exploring. And I was, I don’t want to say pleasantly surprised. Like I thought it wasn’t going to be nice, but it’s just a different scenic beauty than you have out here on the west coast. And that made it all the more exciting, just like a different look of America and it was great.
2 (1h 3m 56s):
Oh, that’s wonderful. All right. Squaddies thank you so much for tuning into our episode this week. Keep the adventures going with us on Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast and send us in your questions of the week so we can feature you next week.
3 (1h 4m 9s):
If you 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 guys, you know it, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,
1 (1h 4m 24s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing and fun adventures and tips in store for you.