Last night at about nine o’clock the crew of the Marshall Expedition poled into Lynchburg, VA (where four of the six crew call home) greeted by about 40 friends and family members and a pot luck dinner. Physically drained but energized by our hosts we reveled in good company and shared stories from the river. In ten days on the river we ascended over 130 miles through the Virginia Piedmont. Between Scottsville and Lynchburg, a distance of about 60 miles we fought through an increasingly steep grade and continuously dropping water. In many places we were forced to drag our 43′ wooden batteau upstream over ledges and boulder gardens. Often the crew poles well into the night. Regardless of the difficulty of our journey the crew has relished the opportunity to live on the James river and take in the natural wonder of our home state. Along the way we have received a great deal of support from friends on the river, primarily in the form of home cooked meals.
Highlights from the trip include the ascent of several particularly difficult rapids, and a ferry across a river wide ledge. Just as a whitewater kayaker would, we were able to tilt our boat downstream, angle it across the river, and push into a river wide hydraullic in order to effect lateral movement across the entire river. With the Piedmont behind us, tomorrow we will plunge into the heart of Appalachia where we will ascend the most difficult stretch of the James River: Balcony Falls. Beyond Balcony lies about 80 more miles of strenuous uperiver work, followed by a descent of the Greenbrier and New Rivers. To find out more about the construction of our boat and the trip thus far, visit our blog at www.vacanals.org/marshall