On a warm sunny afternoon in mid September 2008, seven guys, and myself, all rushed home from work on a Friday, packed our bags, loaded up a few cars with gear and started an all night drive south.
By the time we left our homes in Ontario it was already dark. We drove south to the USA border and continued to drive through New York State and Pennsylvania State until reached our rustic log cabin in the middle of the forest in West Virginia. After a painstaking all night drive, we arrived at our cabin with just enough time to unpack the cars and settle in for an hour before we had to jump back into our vehicles and drive roughly an hour east towards the Virginia border.
Our first task of this adventure trip was to start out with some caving in the amazing “Lost Caverns” abyss. Once dressed in our coveralls and suited up in our technical gear we entered the caves. The trek originally started with a short walk along the lighted paths that had been put there for the faint-hearted. But then we jumped over the railings and started crawling towards a hole. Once through the hole we were in a totally different world. The wet and muddy walls and floors kept everyone alert as we climbed massive boulders and encountered countless bats. We knew that the way we came in was the only, known, way in and out of the cave. So whatever was down here with us had to pass us by on its way out. The formations were pretty cool looking and the trek was amazing as well. At one point I found myself trying to shimmy down a hole in the floor. My hoodie rolled up and made me 2 or 3 inches wider and so I got stuck. After everyone tried to pull and push me out I eventually just took my hoodie off and slipped through the hole. But this didn't deter me from trying the next escaped. This one was called “The Birth Canal”. A crawl through dark murky water in a tight, long, and narrow canal ended with us having to distort our bodies to fit through the exit. The highlight of the caving trip was laying on our backs and squeezing through a crack 50 feet long and 1 foot tall, all while knowing that there was 300 feet of solid rock above us.
After 4 long and physically demanding hours of caving and climbing, we left the caves, took a shower and headed back to our cabin to celebrate a great trek.
In the morning we had to rush off quickly to the New River as we had a full day of white-water rafting planned. We had requested 4-person “Crazy Man” boats. This boat was small and light so it go abused by the rocks and waves, and our guide wasn't all “there” either. It was pure adrenaline.
We took a few rapids while floating down the river outside of the boat (and got smoked all over our bodies by some rocks). Of course we stopped for some cliff diving and some lunch, but the highlight of the trip was the “Ace-in-the-hole”. Our first boat of 4 went down one of the rapids and surfed the hole at the base of it for a while. Eventually I lost grip, kicking a buddy in the face, who then grabbed onto the third guy and the three of us fell in the water leaving one man in the boat. At this point, the guide stood up and yelled “ACE IN THE HOLE” and all of a sudden the next raft of the four of us adventurers, came hurling over the rapid and landing right on top of the, now nearly empty raft!
It was quite humorous to watch. When the rafting trip was over, we went back to our cabin for another evening of shenanigans.
Again after 4 hours of rest, everyone got up and headed to the New River Gorge where we started our mountain biking excursion. The trails were pretty nice. They were, for the most part, double track trails with a few obstacles. But the views of the gorge were unreal. We spent most of the day riding and looking for a particular trail called “Rigamortis.” We eventually found this trail. It was a CRAZY! Nearly 1000 feet of pure downhill riding over rocks, boulders, roots and drops! Lots of fun, but definitely not the XC that we'd been doing the rest of the day. After some trail side chain repairs we headed back to the vehicles and dodged back to our chalet. It was time to shower, pack and get on the road for another 10 hours so we could make it home just in time to get to work! What a weekend!