We planned a canoe trip. Once or twice a year we do a float down the James, which winds its way through our little town. Any easy and pleasant trip, we can hitch a ride upriver to Hatton Ferry or Warren Ferry landings, drop in, and float down through the countryside for a few hours, arriving again at the old Scotts Landing in the heart of town.
The night before, however, a short, compact but intense thunderstorm moved through the county. Quite intense. It dropped over two inches of rain in less than 30 minutes. All that water had to go somewhere. Overnight the James River rose almost 5 feet, from a languid 3.5 feet to almost 8. Local canoe liveries stop putting people on the river at 6 feet.
Not to be denied, we hooked up the old Lightning, tossed the trolling motor in the back of the car, and headed north to Beaver Creek Lake. It’s a 100 acre reservoir west of Charlottesville, the water supply for the little town of Crozet.
Reservoirs like this, while small, are especially nice for small boaters because they usually do not allow gasoline engines. This eliminates the roaring sparkle boats and jet skis, etc., that drag race from one end to the other of most any other piece of public water. Here there are only kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards and such.
Very pleasant. From the water there’s a view of the Shenandoah Mountains to the west. Much to our surprise, the water was clear as the skies, which speaks to the health of the watershed – all the streams and ponds we passed on the way, including the James, were choked with mud from the heavy rains.
Pretty nice. In two hours of cruising about we covered four miles, only using 8 amp/hours out of 150 amp hours in the batteries.