What’s a Cairn?  And more NRG Hiking Questions Answered.

Spring is a great time to jump on one of the trails in the New River Gorge. If you’re not a hiking aficionado, don’t worry.  The NRG trails are well marked and range from an easy two-mile stroll to more strenuous eight-mile hikes.  Here are some tips to make you a hiking rock star among your friends:

•    What’s that pile of rocks over there?  It looks like someone just piled them up. A pile of rocks can be found at the transition of many trails indicating a turn or transition.  The pile is actually called a “cairn” and hails from our friends in Scotland and Ireland who typically carried a rock with them up to the top of a mountain to place on the cairn.

  •    Are the trails marked? The public trails in the New River Gorge all use signs or blaze to mark the way. Blaze is a practice of using paint or markings on trees to show you that you are moving in the right direction.

  •    I heard some people say they were highpointing.  Um what is that? Some hikers want to get to the top of the trail; these are highpointers.  They long to find the highest point for the greatest views.

  •    I have seen some hikers with a strap across their backpacks.  Should I be using a chest strap? A chest strap is an important part of hiking if you plan to carry a backpack.  A chest strap is connected across your chest in the front so that your backpack doesn’t pull your shoulders backward.

Hope to see you on the trails…