When I lived in Tennessee, I used to get a group of a dozen or so friends and head up to West Virginia for some whitewater rafting. The New River is rated class II-IV and is a wonderful family adventure. (Rivers are classed from I-easy, flat-to VI-unnavigable). We always rode the waves of the nearby Upper Gauley River. The Gauley is a world-class whitewater run, rated as class V. It has over 100 rapids and drops 670 feet in 30 miles. It’s truly the Mutha of rivers here in the East. We always went in November, when the dam was released and the water was fast and furious. Wet suits were required, and it’s a good thing, because the last time we went, it snowed on us and our hair froze. OHMYGOD that was sooooo cold, and you can bet your ass that I wasn’t about to peel-off my wetsuit to take a pee. Nope–just peed right in it, and let me tell you, I warmed right up. Did it twice on that trip, in fact. Problem was, when I took off my wetsuit, it (and I) stunk so bad that the outfitter GAVE me the wetsuit. (hmmmm.. I guess it really wasn’t a problem then, huh?
The New River Gorge in West Virginia is truly God’s country. It is the epicenter of outdoor recreation in the East. Along with rafting, tens of thousands of adventurers come to the area each year for mountain biking, rock climbing and base jumping. The New River bridge is the site of Bridge Day, a huge festival held every October. It is the one day when the bridge is open to pedestrians who come from all over the world to base-jump and rappelle from the 3,030 feet long, 876 foot tall structure.
Ok, sounds cool. So what? Well, this weekend, H.K. and I were looking through an outdoor magazine, and I was horrified to read an article about the plan to begin mountaintop removal to mine coal-dirty, filthy, smelly coal, on Gauley Mountain. In fact, the Powellton Mining Co. has already stripped out the trees and built access roads for the trucks and equipment. Oh, I’m sick of this shit. I’m from rural Appalachia, and I don’t even recognize my mountains anymore. They’re bald. They’re scarred and ugly. And for what? 15 or 20 years to suck them of their resources then just let them sit there, a reminder of our greed and stupidity, not to mention lack of imagination to utilize the wind and sun, which will nevr run out.So please, go to this site and sign the petition to stop mountain top removal on the Gauley. Then go to ilovemountains.org and learn how you can get involved. Mo’s Blog has additional info on this, too.
In the meantime, Love your Mother.