Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dangerous Calm

This past week I traveled down the lower New River to where it merged with the Gauley to become the Kanawha River. Well, to be more specific, I was traveling by car beside the river. Above me, to the south, (yes you read that right)  the New River is a boisterous galloping waterway throwing itself over rocks and boulders as it hurls water toward the Ohio  Valley.  In contrast, the Kanawha is quiet, tamed by locks and dams as well as a much  more gradual grade. 
Such tranquility is obvious in the photo below.

Or is it?

Something seems odd about the shore line on the opposite side but I'm not sure what.

And what about those red balls floating across the river?

We should probably look a little closer

Hmm.m.m. . . ? that shore line does look strangely out of perspective - especially toward the right shore.
The trees seem to be cut off at the bottom.
Oh my!
That's quite a drop off.
That looks man-made, but why? 
to the right of the small dam, above, the water appears smooth but something is definitely out of kilter.
Maybe that building by the road is a clue.  

Back in my car, I drove down the river, past the buildings, to investigate  a little deeper.
The white trimmed, three-story building is the Glenn Ferris Inn.  Just beyond that is a park with public access to the river. 
The building is an old power plant.  The dam we saw above funnels water toward the plant turbines.   Recently the plant has been under renovation.  I pulled in and parked beside the a couple pick-up trucks whose recent occupants had were now hoisting fishing poles over head as they took turns casting into the water below the building we saw in the photo above.
Or watching others fish.  I'm not sure just what is in that basket at the end of that woman's pole.
But we came to look at the water, not people fishing, didn't we?
So what happened to that calm, serene plane of water we viewed upstream?

What happened is that the ground below the river cracked and fell eons ago, forming Kanawha Falls. 

If you weren't cautious about scouting the river, that sudden drop would be quite a  surprise after quietly floating downstream thinking that the excitement of the wild Gauley and New rivers was  behind you.

Such a beautiful day. Seems like a nice place to swim rather than fish.
Well,  maybe not.  Let's just enjoy the rough, tumbling beauty a moment more before we head on down the river toward home.
To go with me as I visit the Sandstone Falls on the New River you may click HERE  or to join me to pay a visit to the New River National River visitor center click HERE.


Out on the prairie said...

Nice shots, the lady has the bait, probably minnows

Mark and Gaz said...

Fab shots, thanks for taking us along!

Linda said...

Ah, I've been there! Enjoyed your photos and narrative.