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Friday, June 29, 2012

Day Five: Breedan's Bottom to Balcony Falls

Bob of the National Park Service paddles with Patience
We woke up at 6:30 AM today feeling cold and tired. Gabriel woke us up with singing and when we refused to get up due to our fatigue, he started to collapse our tent while we were still in it. After two hours of packing and breakfast (oatmeal), we began our 17 mile journey to Balcony Falls at 8:30. With us we had Bob, who worked for the NPS in Annapolis, MD, and who joined us in camp last night to talk about the collective role citizens of the James River watershed play in the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay. 

Andy, Richmond Times Dispatch sports and outdoors writer,
enjoys the creature comforts of camp life
We had to say goodbye to Bob after mile 13, but we gained three new paddlers. We picked up Pete, who is the director of Botetourt County Parks and Recreation, and Jay, his assistant director. John Mays, who is co-owner of Twin River Outfitters and who also allowed us to enjoy an afternoon of tubing free of charge, was the third to join us.  They soon left us, and we were on our own to conquer the rapids ahead. After enjoying a tortilla wrap lunch, we picked up Gabriel’s lovely wife Sonya. Along with her came Andy, who is a Richmond Times reporter, and Pat, the Upper James Riverkeeper. 

Ashley keeping warm in the mountains!

We battled some fierce class two rapids and we conquered them using our newly learned and improved skills of canoeing. We finally reached our destination at 5:00 PM and set up camp. Tomorrow we will be experiencing a class three rapid for the first time! 
Lena an Adam, resident gondoliers,
 confuse the James with Venice (an easy mistake to make).

By Juliette and  Rachael

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