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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 3: Bent Creek to James River State Park

Today we began paddling on the James in earnest. We started our river journey at Bent Creek. As we paddled down the river, we saw our first signs of contamination in the river, which were duly catalogued. As we maneuvered through the rapids we saw multiple tires in the river, as well as cows, which produce polluting nutrients and other chemicals. Even though we saw many pollutants in the river, we also saw many signs of thriving life. From small mouth bass to plants and insects, we could see firsthand how the natural decontamination process of our river rapidly works. 
Will boldly steers the flagship into uncharted waters... the James, that is.

Keyri's bright smile, even in the drizzle,
always keeps the group upbeat.
After we arrived at our campsite, we took a wagon tour of James River State Park. Bill, our guide, did a great job of interpreting what we were seeing, and kept the group engaged as we learned about the ecology of the park. 
The wagon ride begins!

As the tour continued, we stopped at a trail that leads to the confluence of the Tye and James Rivers. Here we learned that the two rivers contain erosion resistant rocks. This is the reason for the extremely rare case of a perfectly perpendicular river intersection. This is so rare, in fact, that it is one of the few in the world. Full of our new knowledge about our surroundings, we returned to camp, where our fearless leader Zack took on the mantle of Grillmaster, searing delicious cheeseburgers for the hungry troops. After everyone had eaten their fill of burgers, corn, and watermelon, we relaxed around the campfire, enjoying the display of stars, even more visible than we were used to with no light pollution to hamper our view.

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