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Huguenot Flatwater

Published on September 18, 2012 by

It’s starting to get cooler in Richmond. Chlorophyll is just starting to disappear as the pigment of choice for our photosynthesizing friends. Students have returned to school. Our roads are once again filled with fixed gear bicycles, skinny jeans, and horn-rimmed glasses. Pumpkin flavored everything is making it’s way onto the market. It’s that time of the year when the 23.4° axial tilt sends us into a period of less light. Fall is almost upon us. There’s still time for some river fun.

Aquatic life still abounds in the James River.

We turn our attention to Huguenot Flatwater. First, let’s break down the name, starting with the easy part. It’s called Flatwater because, well, the water is flat. The large granite boulders that so dominate Pony Pasture on down are not nearly as prevalent at Huguenot, making for a much easier paddle. Huguenot is a little more complicated though.

Huguenot refers to members of the Protestant Church of France, followers of John Calvin (not the one with the stuffed tiger) and political leader Besançon Hugues. The Huguenots landed in Richmond in 1700 and established a colony in what is now Manakin-Sabot. Their descendants apparently still hold meetings as part of the Huguenot Society.

The place is just infested with wild Labradors!

Huguenot Flatwater is almost directly next to the Huguenot Bridge, which is currently being replaced. For one day, the bridge was closed to traffic and open to foot traffic. The new bridge is currently suffering from the same fate that most of the bridges in the Richmond area are experiencing, closings and delays due to constructions. Yay!

Canada Geese. There are ALWAYS Canada Geese.

Going upriver from Huguenot Flatwater will bring you to Bosher Dam. (Bosher Dam it! That was fun.) Bosher Dam replaced a previous dam that was designed on the site to catch fish as they swam upriver. Unlike a lot of dams Bosher is a weir dam. This means that when viewed from upstream it is somewhat difficult to see and has caused several injuries and fatalities. Approaching it from downstream is somewhat safer, but I still would not get too close. Surprisingly, the new dam (which was designed as part of the Kanawha Canal system) was not really any better for letting fish through. You can now see a fish ladder on the north bank that is designed to encourage breeding shad and other fish to it so that they can continue their journey to the upper-James.

Personally, I think it’s time to get rid of the dam thing.

Even in late summer you will still be treated to the varied wildlife of the James River. As we paddled upstream I saw an osprey circle, fold up his wings, and dive about 10 feet away from me. We also saw a bald eagle circling above. None of my shots of these guys panned out. (It’s hard shooting from a kayak and trying not to get swept downstream!)

I was able to catch this flying creature though.

As the autumnal winds begin to put a chill in the Richmond air and as the first leaves begin to fall, I will remind myself that summer will return. Until then, I’ll be having a pumpkin latte.

Life’s hard sometimes. Gosh, my leg looks hairy.

Are there other late summer explorations in RVA YOU want to see and learn more about? Leave a comment or email me at s: nick@photorva.com! Or send a tweet to me @PhotoRVA. I’m always up for exploring our area!

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