Tuesday, September 16, 2008

James River at Buchanan - September 2008

The city of Buchanan, Virginia offers paddlers a nice public access ramp to the James River and plenty of parking, right in their downtown district and conveniently located just off I-81. I visited this section of river today on a cool overcast day for about 45 minutes of paddling.

This section of river offers about 1/2 mile of flatwater for paddlers and small fishing boats. After putting in, I paddled upstream with the town on my left and a railroad track on my right, to the first set of riffles. The water here was moving just fast enough to give me a light workout as I paddled through and continued upstream.

I eventually encountered a set of Class I rapids that I was not able to paddle through, so after a little fun practicing my ferry technique, I turned around and headed back downstream past the boat access to the next set of downstream rapids. Listen to a short (15 second) clip of the upstream rapids:

This section of the river provides a decent amount of flatwater for a quick paddle, with easy water access being a bonus. However, with the town on one side of the river, railroad tracks on the other, and truck noise from a nearby quarry, there is quite a lot of nearby activity.

This location is the starting point, or ending point, for many trips on the river, and there is a local outfitter next to the boat access ramp. During any given summer weekend, this would be a busy spot with trippers putting in and taking out. However, today, I had the river to myself.

View this location in Google Maps by clicking here.

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