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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day Two: Gala Farm to Oxbow Farm

Today we woke up at 7am after a cold night serenaded by loud bullfrogs and two passing trains.  After a breakfast of delicious bagels we were assigned jobs, broke camp, and packed our gear. Then Jessica and Mr. Silver taught us how to peel out of and turn into an “eddy,” skills to use when paddling through white water.  After mastering these new strokes we set off on our 14 mile journey.  We stopped at a bamboo forest where we cut poles for new flags, played limbo, and fought with bamboo stalks.  After the third mile, and the confluence of Craig’s Creek and the James, Laura joined the group and began paddling with us. We stopped for lunch at the site of the ruins of the Gwyn Lock and Dam (the only lock and dam on the James River without a canal) where we had deli tortilla sandwiches, climbed on the rocks (avoiding poison ivy), heard an Osprey, saw a buck with the velvet still on, and scouted the upcoming Class 2 rapids.  We learned not to stand in white water and all made it through without getting too wet.  By the time we made it to our campsite we had seen a cute little turtle, a blue heron or two, a handful of kingfishers, a copperhead, and a large musky.  Along the way we met friendly local fishermen, went for many swims, sang, laughed, and had a blast as we pushed through the day’s 14 miles.
Putting some invasive bamboo to use.
A cicada needs lovin' too...
Nour studies how macroinvertebrates indicate water
 quality at different points along the river.

One big, happy paddling family!

By Gaetan, Faith, and Heather 

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