Almost Wordless Wednesday: Bridge Day

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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11 comments: said...

I've never heard of "Bridge Day", where it is legal to jump from a bridge.

The Democrats also have a day where it is legal to vote.

Otherwise, they have ACORN.

October 22, 2008 10:01 AM
hope said...

Okay, after seeing nuts jumping off the bridge... um, I mean adventurous folks flying into the unknown, rafting seems a lot more serene now.

Well, if you don't count the part about potentially falling out of the raft and drowning. ;) Looks like you had fun...good for you!

October 22, 2008 12:03 PM
Øyvind said...

I can totally relate to prefering being on the water instead of basejumping! =)

It looked like an awsome day, I envy you!

Ehm does the guy in the blue raft have a helmet under his wig? lol

October 22, 2008 2:43 PM
tashabud said...

It looks like you had a blast. Good for you for going out for an additional R&R before the whitewater rafting season ends.


October 22, 2008 6:52 PM
Shinade said...

Oh I love your adventures. These are great shots!

And I agree about jumping off of a bridge. But each to his/her own I guess.

What a fantastic WW!

Happy WW:-)

October 22, 2008 6:53 PM
Matt said...

Sounds like an awesome adventure, Matt. I am envious. Glad you got to experience it, I'm sure you have memories for a lifetime. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

October 22, 2008 10:23 PM
Roxy's Best Of... said...

Whether it is whitewater rafting or (deciding not to) jumping off a bridge, I think I'll experience these wild adventures vicariously through you and your blog. Great pix and it looks like a really good time.


October 22, 2008 10:29 PM
Carol said...

You guys are crazy extreme! There is NO way. None!

Glad you had fun. And didn't get hurt.

NO way.

October 23, 2008 5:09 PM
The Fitness Diva said...

That last pic with the bridge surrounded by the fog is gorgeous!

Looks like a fun event!

October 24, 2008 2:16 PM
cindy said...

My name is Cindy and I am in charge of Bridge Day. I am working on a 30th Anniversary Bridge Day magazine and looking for some great photos. Please let me know if you are interested in letting us use any of your photos for credit. Look forward to hearing from you.

December 18, 2008 2:19 PM
Matthew S. Urdan said...

Hi Cindy, yes, I can provide the photos for you to use in your publication, but I need a way of contacting you. You did not leave a URL, email address, or phone number.


December 18, 2008 2:48 PM

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