On Thursday, June 27th, the Upper James River Expedition packed up camp at Breeden’s Bottom and headed downstream towards our next destination. The morning was foggy and overcast and we experienced light showers throughout our paddle. We stopped off at Alpine for a brief lesson on benthic macro-invertebrates and to collect a sample of the water in that area. We learned that these small spineless organisms live on the riverbed and under rocks and that they can tell us about the quality of the water. We collected 16 sensitive macro-invertebrates, mostly mayflies and hellgrammites, 1 low sensitivity organism, and 1 tolerant leech. This shows that the water in the James River in this area is very clean because very sensitive organisms are able to survive in it.
After collecting this data, we continued our journey, stopping at Cedar Creek for lunch. We arrived at our campsite at Smith Tract in the early afternoon, just as a storm was coming in. We were able to quickly set up camp after just a quick rain shower. After drying off a little, we did an activity to review and summarize what we have experience so far on our Expedition. We wrote about different topics like our memorable moments, how we have grown personally, and what the James River means to us. Following that great discussion, the students took on all of the leadership responsibilities of camp and cooked dinner and made the campfire. There was another brief rain shower just before dinner, producing an incredible rainbow, which was a great ending to another perfect day on the James River.