Monday, July 31st

Buchanan, Virginia

Today marks our first day on the Upper James River Expedition trip! We arrived in Buchanan, Virginia, ate lunch, and got to know each other. We then walked to a local church to learn more about the program and valuable leadership qualities. We discussed personal values and how they impact our relationships with others, as well as how we can be self-aware. We can implement these skills in our daily lives. Next, we visited the Twin River Outfitters, a local business run by two brothers. We learned about how they started their business and what their mission was. We ended the day with a nice float in the river and a delicious meal of pasta and salad prepared by two campers. It was an excellent start to our trip, and we look forward to tomorrow’s journey! 

Tuesday, August 1st

Arcadia Campground

Today was our first day on the water, paddling miles over the course of the day. We started our day with oatmeal and fresh fruit for breakfast. After washing dishes, Charles gave the students an information session on the topic of canoeing before we headed off. Once we hit the James River, there was a plethora of wildlife present including birds such as green herons, great blue herons, a kingfisher and even a turkey. Also, there were many small river otters present along the way. We stopped for lunch around 12:00 to eat and swim,  roughly 2 miles into our paddle, where we enjoyed wraps with chips. and swam on a rocky beach directly after our first set of rapids. 

When we started paddling again, we didn’t stop for the next couple of hours until we reached Arcadia Campground. Along the way, Charles initiated a frenzy among the students with his game Black Magic. Many fish were caught as well during the journey, with bass being abundant across the whole stretch of the trek. After arriving at our campground, we set our tents up and started preparing dinner. For dinner, we had tacos in a bag, and we ended the day with a campfire and s’mores to celebrate our first successful day of canoeing.