The past two days, I’ve taken back what little pleasure can be recovered from all the excessive rains we have had in Central Virginia the past week or more. All the rain flowed eventually down to the mighty James river and has given us all plenty to gawk at and be amazed by.
Thursday, Pony Pasture was loud and the water was high. Much more impressive than I thought it would be, considering that in early November we were “treated” to a ton of rain from the Nor’easter that threatened to force the Richmond marathon to re-route away from Riverside Drive.
The water was up over portions of the River Trail at Pony Pasture, so I stayed near the parking area. It was loud! So loud that I could hear the river in my car with the windows closed.
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On Friday, with the James at its peak at more than 13 feet, I ventured to Belle Isle via the walkway at Southside.
Again, I could hear the river from where I parked at the Riverfront Towers. Loud. Like “train-passing-by” kind of loud.
Water everywhere, in places that rarely get water at normal levels. It was great seeing (again) water flowing over the VEPCO dam on the Southside of Belle Isle.
In fact some of my favorite spots to watch the river were cut off by the high water. I love the mill race along the south shore of the James that runs along the Goat Islands down from the James River Park System visitor center and Reedy Creek takeout. I tried to get over to see the VEPCO dam for a great view of Hollywood Cemetery contrasting with the huge river, but couldn’t risk it in the cold.
The water was over some of the retaining walls, something I hadn’t seen before. I kept thinking about how much driftwood was shifting, how much trash would have to be picked up, how many paddlers were drooling at the sights of all that white water and above all — how much I DID NOT want to fall in the river.
Days like this were made for parents to freak out with little kids next to raging waters and the thoughts of how easy a tiny trip or slip could be fatal. Watch, but be safe!