Jumping off the New River Gorge Bridge during Bridge Day
As most of my readers know, last weekend I was in West Virginia for Bridge Day. Bridge Day is the third Saturday in October of each year, and it's the only day of the year when it is legal to BASE Jump 876 feet off of the New River Gorge Bridge to a landing area on the left bank of the New River.
BASE Jumper Landing on River Left
Personally, I can't think of a good reason why anyone would want to jump off of a perfectly good bridge, and since I'm a whitewater rafter, I go rafting instead. On Bridge Day, you raft the New River just like you would on any other day. But the cool thing is you get to hang out in the bottom of the Gorge and watch the jumpers taking off, deploying their parachutes, and landing--either in the river or in the designated landing area, depending on the jumper's skill.
Bridge Day Rafting Costumes are Traditional Fun
Bridge Day is pretty much a carnival. In addition to the 80,000 spectators on the top of the Bridge with all the booths and Funnel Cakes and Corn Dogs like any other circus or fair, raft guides usually dress up in some outrageous costumes. So it's a circus on the river just as much as it's a circus on the bridge.
Two of North American River Runners' Finest in Costume
And because Bridge Day brings so many tourists, spectators, jumpers and rafters to the area, the day after Bridge Day there is always one additional release on the Gauley River, which means one more spectacular day of Class V rafting to close out the rafting season.
A jumper alongside others who rappel down from bridge and who have to climb back up. No thanks.
This year, with my company's (The Nantahala Outdoor Center) partnership with North American River Runners, I had the privilege of experiencing Bridge Day in style, along with some of my coworkers. In addition to rafting the New River Gorge for Bridge Day, NARR threw a party for us Saturday night, and then hosted us on the Gauley River on Sunday.
Shane and Mel on the New River
As you can see from all the pictures here, it looks like we were having fun. Trust me: we were. There's nothing like the Dynamic Duo of the New and Gauley Rivers. If you've ever wanted to go rafting, you won't find a better experience on the entire planet than the New and Gauley in September and October. Throw in Bridge Day, and you can't beat the bang for your buck.
All Dressed Up and Ready to Go!
Mulitple Jumpers in the Air at the Same Time
Beginning the Apres Raft Party at NARR at Sundown
The New River Gorge Bridge from Above at Sunset
Thanks for reading.
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