As our expedition team entered day five, we woke refreshed and energized. The morning was like any other; each team member did their assigned jobs, we enjoyed a bowl of cheesy grits for breakfast, and we were on our way down the James. Our destination was Scottsville, a long 15 mile paddle from Sycamore Island. While paddling our lengthy journey, we came across a few class two rapids. The first rapid was known for flipping canoes, as it required maneuvering and purposeful paddling. Our team was strong and kept our spirits high enough to make it through without a single scratch. Each rapid became easier with determination and experience.
After a few miles of calm paddling, we joined up with members of the JRA staff. Along with the extra staff was Julie Coleman, a bird-loving biology teacher of the team members from Monacan. Shortly after we began a combined paddle, rumbling from up above broke the joyous atmosphere. A storm was pulling in south of us and getting to land was our main priority. As the group pulled up to the dock, we were met with new bright faces. The members of the first ever James River expedition had decided to tag along for one day of our journey. It was amazing to experience the excitement of these individuals, and we could easily see their appreciation for the trip.
So far, our canoeing had only been with our own team. Today, we paddled with extra boats and extra people. This section of the trip was even more enjoyable with the JRA staff and the former expedition members. We sang Journey all throughout the ride and made a numerous amount of bird puns. Our expedition team is so openhearted and kind, it was not hard to get to know everybody and make them feel welcome. Our destination was in sight and we landed on the muddy, but beautiful shore of the Horseshoe Landing campsite. This campsite was by far one of the prettiest camp grounds we've been on, agreeable by the whole group. The greatest luxury of Horseshoe Landing was the showers and indoor plumbing. After setting up camp as a group and getting comfortable, we prepared for a meeting with representatives from an initiative called Envision the James. Envision the James sought our input on the condition of the James, and what actions we would like to see accomplished.
The expedition thus far has broadened our minds and opened up our horizons. It has been a learning experience and has shown us that our individual actions really do mean something. The trip isn’t over, and we expect to learn more about the James, mentally and physically.