The most difficult rapids (with "beginner" and "intermediate" workarounds) were near the start of the trip. I did not attempt to navigate these rapids, but our leader Pete (above) ran them and then supervised while at least one other boat went through.
Here Pete (L) watches while Kathryn (C) and Brian (R) attempt the difficult rapids. Brian had to get out and push their canoe off the rocks.
Foreground: my bow person Daniela. Background: Pete, Kathryn, and Brian on the rocks.
Here are two other boats getting stuck in the "intermediate" rapids at the same location. See the big rock in the middle? My canoe rammed straight into it. At my direction, Daniela shoved us off and we continued down the river to the right of the big rock (the near channel in the picture above). The next two canoes behind us avoided the big rock but ran aground to the left (far side in the picture) of it.
Virginia (?) (L); Steph (C); Jennifer (hidden behind Steph); and Sue (R).
Virginia (?) (L) and Jennifer (R) resting in an eddy next to a bit of rural advertisement. It was at this eddy, while waiting for everyone to clear the first rapids, that some of us saw a muskrat. My bow person Daniela was the first to spot it. It moved too quickly for me to get a picture.
Boat on the left: unknown bow person (maybe Sheri?); Jillian in the stern. Boat on the right: Sue (bow) and Steph (stern).
Sue and Steph; unknown (Sheri?) and Jillian.
Kathryn and Brian in the foreground.
Me! I like this picture. I feel like it captures both the sunniness of the day and the happiness that I get from being on the water.
Daniela and part of the flotilla.
One of the things I like about paddling this river is that as you come around curves, you get these great views of the mountains above the river. I'm not sure which range appears in this picture: it might be the Blue Ridge or it might be part of Massanutten.
Flotilla and Daniela.
We stopped at a great swimming hole after lunch. Here Pete and I are standing on submerged ledges that drop off suddenly into a pool which Pete (who dove down with his goggles) says must be more than 12 feet deep. Those of you with full color vision may be able to make out the distinction between the pale brown ledges under the water and the green depths of the pool. The water was cool and felt great on a day when the sun was blazing. A big thank you to Daniela for shooting this and other pictures at the swimming hole!
Steph (L) and Pete (R). I'm not sure, but that may be Cassie swimming in the center.
Some people chose, for reasons mysterious to me, to pass up the chance to swim in the wonderful swimming hole. They floated in their canoes on the slow pool instead. From L to R: Jennifer, Virginia (?), Peter L., and Ray (?). The guy tentatively ID'd as Ray brought his own fishing poles and fished at every opportunity. At one point he caught something small and tossed it back.
Me, enjoying the swim!
Cassie (?) swimming; Sheri (?) and Jillian in the canoe.
I think the swimmers here are: Brian (far L); Steph (standing closest); Cassie (C, swimming towards); me (C, swimming away); Neil (standing R); and Pete (far R).
The non-swimmers again. This gives you some sense of the size of the pool and the weather conditions for the day. I like the reflection of the sky and trees in the water.
I swam across the pool to the far side and turned back to wave at the camera! We had eight canoes in total. You can see here that three are parked at the beach across the pool; two stayed floating on the pool (see above); and the remaining three pulled up under the cliffs (not pictured) on the outside bank of the river, where there were convenient ledges about a foot underwater for wading on and swimming from.
Neil (?) standing; Pete in the water.
Jennifer and Virginia (?).
Ah, this was so fun! Swimmers, from L to R: Steph, Brian, Cassie, me, Pete. To the side, I've added a higher-res close-up of me from this picture so you can see the expression on my face!
Feeling our way cautiously around the algae-covered ledges.
Another broad view of the pool. Doesn't it look so idyllic?
Back under way now!
Kathryn and Brian in the near canoe; Cassie and Neil in the background; Virginia (?) and Jennifer on the R.
We passed under a railroad bridge that Pete says is still in use by the short line railroad, although we did not see a train go over. Pete in the near canoe, paddling solo since we had an odd number; Brian and Kathryn in the far canoe.
Brian and Kathryn.
Kathryn pulling up alongside Pete. At this point we started rafting all the canoes together so we could drift for a few hundred yards while people lay back and sunned themselves.
Neil and Cassie, apparently drawing water so they could sidle up to the rafted canoes. Brian in the R foreground.
Neil and Cassie.
ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR CANOEING, as modeled by Pete: river shoes; cooler; river maps; dry bag; paddles; and, of course, canoe.
Sue squinting in the sun.
Tentative IDs: Jillian (sleeveless blue shirt, bandana); Virginia (blue track pants, green visor); Sheri (white tank top, grayish visor); Cassie (lying in canoe, faded red cap); Kathryn (dark hair, life jacket, extreme R edge of photo); Pete (legs only).
Same group again; Jennifer just visible over Kathryn's shoulder.
Daniela and Sue.
Neil (L); Ray (C); Peter L. (in hat, R); Brian's back.