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Monday, July 13, 2015

Sunday, July 12th, 2015- Galts Mill to Rockcliffe Farm

Nat teaching the kids signs about the health of the river
        Today was the first full day of the expedition. With goodbyes and awkward starts out of the way the team divided up responsibilities. The camp roles include Camp Cooks, Camp Leaders, Camp Scientists, Camp Reporters, and Camp Builders. With responsibilities assigned we delved right in. For the camp scientists we performed dissolved oxygen, nitrate, and biodiversity tests. We were able to conclude that the Gull’s Mill section of the river was healthy. Once we packed up camp we took off for the day. The day was full of many surprises including wildlife, bridges, and waterfalls.

Our group preparing to leave Galt's Mill

Our group leaving Galt's Mill after a relaxing morning

The hidden bridge 
        While floating along the river we discovered a hidden bridge and explored the area nearby. Once back on the main river we found a waterfall that was a perfect place for lunch. We enjoyed cooling off in the refreshing river water. Once we finished our wonderful tortilla lunch we started back on the river trail. Because of our brief 6 mile journey we had plenty of time to swim, float, and take in the scenic views. While floating we came across several farms that did not restrict cows from going into the river. This is bad because the cows kill the vegetation on the shore and release large amounts of waste into the river. Along with the cows we saw several kingfishers, deer, bald eagles, herons, and hellgrammites. We were able to witness the biodiversity of the James.

Our group at the waterfall
Cows in the river

Our group got to get a full tour of Rockcliffe Farm

Group photo with Hue and Joan the owners of Rockcliffe Farm

We were privileged to make camp at the Rockcliffe Farm. Once we set up camp they greeted us and took us on a tour of their land. The Rockcliffe Farm is a conservation effort to preserve a plot of land along the James River so that it will remain in its natural state. The Rockcliffe Farm also contains a lodge, cabin, and trails for all types of recreation. The Rockcliffe farm aims to improve the health of the James and they try to set an example on their own property of how to responsibly use natural resources. After an amazing day of drifting down the James River the team enjoys a nice dinner and a quiet evening!

Avery and Jamie

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