*Some of this video footage is thanks to the staff at Adventures on the Gorge, including rafting videographer PLovee
Welcome to another segment of “On the Road” with Regina Gonzalez, where I white water rafted on the Lower New River with Adventures on the Gorge, and showing you why riding those rapids is something everyone should do this summer.
Over 25 roaring rapids sit along the Lower New River, attracting guests from far and near that come ready to put their paddles to the test. Raft Guide Doug Ludwig spent 23 years making people feel comfortable on the river, which he has ridden over 2,000 times.
“It’s just good to get outside, unplug and have an adventure. They call it ‘Adventures on the Gorge’ for a reason,” Ludwig said. “It gets people and stretches them, and gets them out of their comfort zone but there’s only a certain breed that will come do it.”
Calming my nerves was a job for Ludwig all on its own. But from the minute our tour grabbed our paddles and suited up to load the bus, Ludwig was cracking jokes and making us feel at home before getting on his river.
Before hoisting up the rafts pushing them in the water, Ludwig makes sure he gives everyone a safety brieifing regardless if you’re a first rafter or white water enthusiast.
“We’re going out into a unique and dynamic ever-changing environment, so I relay to the people: I’m trying to prepare you, not scare you,” Ludwig stressed. “If I’m talking about it I’ve seen it happen, and it’s kind of like you’re going to have to meet your destiny and have control of your own future.”
Life vests and helmet ready to go, we began our journey down the scenic New River. There is definitely never a dull moment on the trip!
Your heart races with excitement as you give it your all to paddle through the fast pace rapids that range from class two to class five, bearing unique names like Meat Grinder and Double Z. In between the rush, there are calm pools where guests are free to take a swim, catch a baby rapid to maneuver through, or jumping off a rock.
The staff even spoils guests with a homemade lunch on a beach along the river to refuel energy.
I must say I started off anxious, practically in the fetal position on the raft. But by the end, our raft was tackling class five rapids in beast mode. Ludwig and his crew made me feel safe, made me smile, and even kept my brain rich in history of the New River… all before ending the tour under one of the most iconic sites in the mountain state.
For more on the different tours Adventures on the Gorge offers and how you can join the fun, check out their website at https://adventuresonthegorge.com/