On the way to our local farmer’s market, we told ourselves, again, not to buy more vegetables than we can use. It worked this time.
After breakfast in town, we stopped to look at the river, part of the Saturday routine. We passed our friend Stuart out spreading mulch. Out the sidewalk on sawhorses he had a canoe with a for sale sign, and we stopped to chat. Said he’d only used it three times, and needs room for more toys. Comes with two nice wooden paddles and seats.
We realized we had not told ourselves not to buy more boats than we could use.
After a few minutes at the landing watching the river flow by, as the summer heat and the cicada buzz swelled, we agreed we should reward our temperance over vegetables with a new boat. Within the hour we had it on top of the car and were headed for the river.
After weeks of flooding the river is still a little murky, but nearly back to normal levels. We paddled upstream to what remains of an old island at the confluence of Totier Creek. After a swim to cool off, we left the main stem of the James, now flooded with tubers and fishermen, and paddled up into the quiet creek.
Immediately the raucous river party fell away, and was replaced by sun-dappled silence, Great Blue Herons, crows, song birds and gar fish.
Around a few bends we came to the old colonial era aqueduct. A stone arch over the river that dates back almost to the Revolutionary War. The Kanawha Canal ran along the James, and every stream had to be crossed with one of these bridges for canal boats. We floated underneath on the creek – the canal boats floated across overhead, where now the railroad runs.
Returning to the James, another swim, and a float back home.