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Monday, July 11, 2011

Gifts of the River

Matt and Syndey giving us treats!
Day 16, July 10th
This morning we woke up on Elk Island and it was decided that it was a perfect morning to stretch and embrace nature and do some yoga. Cara and Kelvin, with some help from Gabe, led us in some downward dog, deep relaxation and sun salutations. After a 3 day rest, we jumped into our canoes and embarked on our 15 mile journey of the day.  Many forms of wildlife were spotted such as a raccoon by Chaney and Alex and a muskrat by Emily, Lena, Troy and Grant, but since the whole group didn’t see these beautiful creatures there is a bit of suspicion. By 12:30, we had already paddled 9 miles and all of us were ravenous. We feasted on our choice of turkey, pb&j, or hummus with lettuce on the much loved tortilla. After getting our fill and socializing with the locals and explaining our mission, we set off again. About a mile from our takeout for camp, some friendly faces from James River Association, Matt and Sydney made our day extra special by surprising us by meeting us in their boat with cold watermelon, Gatorade and some awesome fruit popsicles and following our break for delicious treats, we used the sugar and act of kindness as our drive to get that last mile down. When we made it to our take out, we were greeted by our awesome land crew, some family of the group and Sister Jean of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Today, the group learned how to take a real river bath using only Dr. Bonners and a bucket before we entered the mansion of Belmead for a tour by Sister Jean, Sister Angelia, and Sister Maureen. The atmosphere of not only our campsite but also of the mansion was felt by all and as the sisters’ enlightened us of the history of this beautiful place, the interest level was spiked and the enthusiasm was a spark in everyone’s eye. Some of the main things that sunk in were the many changes that the property has gone through since its beginning as a mansion for the rich at the start of the civil war to becoming a school for African American boys to what it is now, an environmentally friendly place that is not only trying to preserve the history of this beautiful place but also the future. As always, the highlight of the day for many was calling home since it was Sunday and hearing what it’s like out there in the real world and letting our families know that we miss them and love them all dearly.  Tomorrow our journey will take us 20 miles further from where we started and one mile closer to achieving our mission. 
Written By Expedition Reporters: Alex, Derrick, & Chaney
Our AWESOME tech lady, Sadie, from land support working hard.
This is what it takes to feed us for 3 days...Claire Rocks!

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