Wednesday, June 3, 2009

James River at Snowden - June 2009

High humidity, an air temperature in the upper 80s, and the threat of severe storms made for a sultry afternoon paddle today on the James River at Snowden. The Snowden boat access (click on James River at Snowden in the right column for more trip reports from this location) provides about a mile or so of calm flatwater on the James River behind the Snowden dam. On my sleek 17' Heritage Expedition, it takes about 20-30 minutes of paddling upstream to reach the first set of rapids, passing several rock gardens along the way. Factor in the return trip, plus some poking around time, and you have 1-2 hour's worth of paddling time on the river.

The Snowden access has enough flatwater to kick it into high gear and really fly across the water. Today, however, with the sun bearing down, I stayed near the shore and paddled from shady area to shady area.

It's not unusual to see whitewater paddlers and James River trippers coming downstream through this stretch of river. Although there were several vehicles in the parking area to suggest this, I still had the water to myself today for an hour's paddle.

With the exception of some highway noise and the occasional train, this part of the James River offers the paddler peace and solitude along with sweeping views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. And a fair amount of noisy geese, at least today:

As is typically the case during a weekday afternoon, I was alone on the water today. If you typically paddle alone, too, but would like an occasional paddling partner, join the Virginia Paddlers group. This group is intended to be an informal gathering place for area flatwater paddlers - share your access points, and plan local outings.

View this location in Google Maps by clicking here.

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