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Monday, July 11, 2011

Relaxing by the River

Elk Island Sunset
Day 15, July 9th
The day began with a lazy morning, due to the short upcoming five miles on the river. We departed from our campsite, Boat Wright Island, in the batteau (a historical boat that was used to transfer goods by river, up and downstream, before the railroad became main stream), although several devoted paddlers decided they would rather go by canoe. On the batteau, a variety of relaxing activities took place. Some of us slept and chatted, while others poled and fished. In canoes, similar activities were enjoyed in an attempt to keep behind the slow moving batteau in front of them.
We stopped at a boat landing after a quick three mile float, so the batteau could be loaded and the remaining canoes added back to the fleet. We were sad to say goodbye to our three-man crew: Mason, Chip, and Kevin, from the James River Float Company (; however, a lunch break was, everyone’s first priority as the landing was determined the perfect spot to eat. Turkey, ham, and cheese wraps were prepared by the cooks, with a side of trail mix and chips. After our hunger had been tamed, we were granted with down time – good for journaling, napping, or just simply zoning out.
The rest of our canoes arriving snapped us out of dreamland and back into reality. Not wanting to unpack solo canoes in order to spread gear evenly throughout the boats, we let them be and paddled the empty boats three people per canoe. Arriving at the beautiful and secluded Elk Island, we were quick to sweep the landscape, ridding it of any trash we found. Once beer cans and alike were off the ground and in the garbage, we began setting up our home for the night.
The scientists noticed the significantly murkier water around the island and tested turbidity. They were slightly surprised at the 24.4 centimeter turbidity level; we hypothesized it might be from land development and a very large rainfall in the Rivanna River area (Charlottesville) which is a tributary to the James near here.
Despite the distractingly muddy water, many of us went for a swim. Later we were rewarded with a delicious meal and s’mores around the fire. The treat was followed by stargazing from our gorgeous campsite.
Written By: 
Rebecca Henderson (Bethel High School) 
Kelvin Tyler (Open High School) (Photo Credit)
Elk Island Trash Pile Before Cleanup
Elk Island Trash Pile After Cleanup

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