Last Sunday (April 19, 2009) I took a short canoe trip on the Rivanna River with the Outdoor Adventure Social Club. We got very lucky with the weather. Rain and colder temperatures were predicted, but it was warm and sunny or bright-cloudy the entire time we were out. I'm looking forward to longer trips and more challenging rapids in later canoe trips this summer, but this was a very pleasant day out.

Here are our canoes waiting at the put-in while the drivers were shuttling vehicles to the take-out point.

We had ten canoes (which all fit on one trailer!) and nineteen people.

Me waiting to get started. Very happy to be out in the sun.

At one point early in the trip, we beached our canoes and hiked on a short trail through the woods . . .

. . . to the ruins of an old canal lock. Our leader Pete explained that there used to be a canal running parallel with part of the Rivanna; if I remember right, it was built in 1850 and ceased operation by 1908. There's still a raised ridge in the woods (which we walked along) where the towpath was.

I think Pete said the lock took boats over a ten-foot drop. He has been involved in digging out the site; he is descended from a family that used to live near this lock.

Here is some of the old lock hardware. The round cutout in the rock to the left is where the hinge of one of the upper gates would be.

Looking down into the lock. It reminded me of the Songo River Lock (the only lock that I've been through, I think) and the locks in the canal at Port Meadow in Oxford. (There were locks there, right? I seem to remember seeing them, although I am not sure that I saw them in operation.) All of those stone blocks in the picture above were cut by hand . . .

. . . and you can still see a capital R mason's mark on one of them. (The R is turned sideways; look on the left end of that center stone.)

Below the lock, there was a broad pool where boats could turn around or wait their turn.

Some old hardware, partially dug out of the muck; I didn't find out what its purpose was.

This is where one of the hinges on the lower gates would rest. You can see the metal band that used to hold the hinge in place.

The lower end of the lock.

While we were walking through the woods, we saw many wildflowers. I don't know what they all are.

I think Pete said this one (above) is called Dutchman's breeches.

Here's a grape hyacinth growing wild.

Along the banks of the river we also saw lots and lots of Virginia bluebells, which I didn't get any pictures of.

Back on the river, paddling along.

We floated past this artist, who was keeping his feet cool while painting the scene where a small brook feeds into the river. (I don't think you can see the brook in this photo.)

That's my canoe partner, Julie, in the red, on the right edge of the frame. We got along well. Here we were pausing below a small rapid (so small that this photo makes it look like just another ripple in the water) to watch the other boats coming through.

Another rapid, another wait. If I understood right, those people watching us from the shore had hiked in on the Fluvanna Heritage Trail.

We saw lots of turtles. We also saw a muskrat, some Canada geese, a small heron, and a dead turkey.

Late in the trip, we rafted all of the canoes together and just floated down a flat section of the river. I couldn't get all ten canoes in the frame of one picture.

That's it! I didn't take any pictures at the take-out, but if you're curious to see more, you can find 55 (!) photos from the trip in the OASC photo gallery.