Roadside cliff diving. Anvil Rock is a big hunk of limestone about the size of one of those double box cars rolling down the rail line on the opposite shore of the Greenbrier River. It’s taller — as high 19 feet and it’s pointed into the deep, main channel of the river. Most natives of Alderson, a picturesque railroad town downstream, can remember the first time they jumped off of the rock.
“The first time I went I must have been 12,” said Jack Still, a municipal judge. “The first of May every year, we’d skip school and go swimming. We didn’t give a damn if there was snow on the ground, we went. And no swimming suits were involved.”
Time has passed. State Route 63 is paved and Jack Still is old enough that he’s retired from not one, but two careers. Attitudes about skinny dipping have changed also. Asked about contemporary standards, the city judge pauses and says, “All I ask is that if people are going to skinny dip that they do it outside the city limits.”
Anvil Rock a regular party spot. It was clean when I visited, only one case of empties sitting on the shoulder. Water quality is marginal as you might expect on the main stem of a major river. There’s just a whole lot of everything upstream.
Copyright Running Water Press 2002