By Lisa Strader
In southern West Virginia some of us hike for fun, some for that sense of peace you can only get from walking through a canopied forest high above the river or right along the banks, and some of us hike for the exercise.
Well I have to say I hike for all three!
I’m very fortunate to not only promote the New River Gorge National River but to live just a ‘hop, skip and a jump’ away. As we all know not all days are created equal and finding time on those busy days to do something you enjoy that is good for you is not always a priority. That is why you have to have your personal favorite or your go-to hike for the days that getting out onto the trails NEEDS to be your priority.
I have a hiking buddy who lives nearby and we meet up at the Fern Creek Trailhead – Endless Wall Trail. This trail has everything you need for that quick hike to put you back into your groove. It’s a moderate hike that takes you up along the ridgelines of the New River Gorge and gives you some spectacular views (which also gives you a good reason to stop and rest!) of the river. On many days we hear the trains barreling through the gorge as we walk which always leads us to look over the edge to see it passing by.
The trail itself is about 2.5 miles long with a short road hike (.5 miles) back to the parking area but we typically go two miles out to Diamond Point, and two miles back. You will see others out on this trail disguised as hikers but many are climbers. Endless Wall is one of the many popular rock climbing spots in the Gorge.
This past April there was a fire in the Fern Creek/Endless Wall area of the New River Gorge. It burned approximately 130 acres. Getting back out on the trail after the fire was extinguished was interesting – yes there were blackened areas and yes there was a smell in the air but the paths were clear and you could see that a huge part of the flora was still surprisingly intact.
Now that it is summer time you can barely see where the fire raged just a few short months ago. Everything seems to have come back greener, the views are still amazing and it’s still my go-to trail.