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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Miles of Mystery

Running The Rapids
Day 8, July 2nd

Upon discovering that our originally selected campground was a rocky island covered with poison ivy, we decided to nearly double our paddle mileage for the day and continue through to the next campsite, James River State Park (JRSP). 
We awoke and packed up in record time to ensure a decent arrival time at the next campsite. Ready to paddle on our twenty-two mile quest, we were excited to put our paddling skills to the ultimate test.
Getting off to such an early start and our 8th day strong paddling arms helped accomplish the first six miles in easy time.
While on the river we sang songs, enjoyed the scenery, and met many friendly river folk. Although we were distracted by the pleasant people on the James, it wasn’t hard to notice the change in water quality as we went farther downstream. Increased turbidity and algae growth was accompanied by a rotten stench which was far from enjoyable. Despite the murky water, the area was busy and seemed like a favored vacation spot filled with kayakers, fisherman, and camping. When we came across a paper mill that released additional water into the James, we noticed a browner tint to the water and Cara Chiocca (Open High student) commented on a “hot dog” smell. However, being the growing teenagers that we are, the unpleasant smell had no effect on our appetite and we were ready to chow.
Coming across a beautiful and quiet island we enjoyed lunch and also caught fish using group effort and a seine net. Enthusiastic about only having six more miles to paddle until we reached our home for the next three nights, we would soon discover our distance calculations were wrong. Still unsure about the exact spot of our destination we continued paddling until we picked up our lovely land support, Sadie and Claire, who were eager to finally get out on the water with us.  As we continued on our venture to find camp we played an intense round of canoe Frisbee which lightened the mood and provided a lot of laughter between racing canoes.
After an uncertain amount of miles we arrived to the JRSP campground excited to take showers and relax for the next two days. We were extremely grateful for the evening's special treat of Gatorade- as it was the first time in trip we had an alternative beverage to water.

Written By Student Reporters: Caleigh Remocaldo and Rebecca Henderson
A VERY Happy Sadie

Pumpkinseed Fish!

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