July 11, 2011
Kickin back in style
After a nice long slumber underneath a bright waxing gibbous moon and the billions of twinkling stars above Belmead, we awoke to a warm rising sun over lush corn fields. As the smell of coffee filled the pavilion air, (adults were jump started by their caffeine refuel) and insects began to greet us to the rising sun, we all sat down to eat cereal and yogurt around large picnic tables. Soon after tables were cleaned off, Sister Jean drove up in her large white pickup truck to say good morning and drive us down to the boat ramp.
Very friendly Cicada
Down at the boat ramp, Phillip Reid, an employee with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), spoke to us about the great work that Belmead has done for the James River. After Belmead talked to Phillip a few years ago, they decided to enlist one thousand acres of land into a conservation easement to preserve the land from future development in order to protect the James River watershed and preserve the land and history that Belmead has created over its hundreds of years of existence. After saying our goodbyes, we shoved off and began our twenty mile journey to a luxurious campsite generously provided by Emily’s family friend, Nancy Miller.
A few miles into our trip, we adventured into the old Licking Hole aqueduct and had a quick snack under the cool shade of the rock structure.
Underneath the Licking Hole aqueduct
Another highlight of the day was the chance to see the Terminus, or finishing line of the Batteau festival, Maidens Landing. Downriver, we enjoyed a short lunch after passing over a large rapid created by an old dam. After eating, a few members stepped up to the plate to ride the waves and surf their canoes up the rapid. Before reaching camp, we saw three Bald Eagles and were relieved to have many more miles of whitewater to help speed up the final leg of our day’s journey.
A beautiful handmade bateaux
After we arrived at our destination we set up camp and began preparing a mouthwatering meal of Pad Thai. Even though our arms were tried, and slightly sun burned we had a fire building activity led by Isaac Schumacher and Eric Hahn. We then decorated the large straw hats provided by our phenomenal sponsor Dominion with ribbon, artificial and real flowers and finally enjoyed another long night’s slumber under the moon and stars.
Enjoying the river retreat by our generous hosts
By: Eric Hahn and Jessica Frazier