Day 13 - 15: Lynchburg to New Canton

 After all those dam portages upstream of Lynchburg, Ryan and I kept paddling down the James for another three days before he needed to head home.  We made it to the boat landing at New Canton in the middle of the state, for a grand total of 150 miles on the James River in seven days.  And my achilles tendons were VERY thankful - best decision we could have made.  We had walked about 80 miles before getting into the canoe, but  "Walk Across Virginia" is a bit of a misnomer at this point, isn't it? I don't regret getting to know the James River up close, though. 

Fountain on the James in Lynchburg
There were some things I did not expect about the James River.  I was surprised by how little infrastructure and few buildings there are in view from the river - the one exception being railroad tracks.  I also didn't expect to see so many people fishing and so few people on the river canoeing or kayaking like us.  The high waters from heavy rains could have had something to do with that too.  Speaking of high water, because of the murkiness from dirt and silt, it was rare to be able to see the bottom of the channel even as we skirted along the banks on those last couple days.  I was surprised how long it took for clarity to improve.  But despite the brown water, the critters hadn't gone anywhere.  Everyday we saw big turtles sunning themselves on nearly every log that poked out of the water.  We saw all different kinds of ducks; several osprey and a bald eagle; muskrats and an otter; and many Canada geese...oh, and certainly some cows in the Piedmont section below Lynchburg.

Pulling out of Lynchburg a little later than we hoped - but that pizza was worth it!

One of Lynchburg's combined stormwater and sewer outlets into the river - a.k.a. when it rains hard, stormwater runoff mixes with raw sewage and dumps into the James.  At the Center for Watershed Protection, we are trying to help in the City's efforts to reduce runoff so that this doesn't happen as often.

Cows bathing in the river - a more common occurrence in the Piedmont section below Lynchburg.

Checking the map to see how much further to Bent Creek.

A harmonica interlude between paddling.

One of the prettiest riverbank spots we found to camp.

Morning fog near camp spot.

Mornings were the most special time to paddle.

The canoeing couple.

One of Pat Calvert's (Upper James Riverkeeper) signs, spotted at Wingina boat launch.

They only sell stamps and envelopes here. The old store is now used as the post office and a museum.

Riverbank trees hold on for dear life.

Ryan doesn't like getting sunburned.  Can you tell?

Home of Karen Firehock and Tim Lewis - historically the Howardsville Bank. They spent the last year renovating the house into what is now an incredible place. They treated us like royalty after we boated in for a visit...showers, dinner, a bed, and even breakfast = Howardsville Heaven.

Weasel Junction Hunt Club near the boat landing in Howardsville.

Four friends joined us to paddle from Scottsville for one last fun day on the water.

Time for the canoe and Ryan to head home - and I have come home for a few days to get my achilles checked out.

We did alright with a canoe and a couple paddles, didn't we Hon?