Our Saturday started early. We were at the Wilderness Canoe Company by 8 a.m. in preparation for our 9.5 miles canoe trip down the Upper James River. Cindy was a little leery about the whole thing, but as usual, once underway she enjoyed herself. We saw plenty of wild creatures, including several river otters, blue herons, geese and ducks, turtles, and a few wild turkeys. Cindy and I, in our own canoe, worked our way down the James over about a four-hour time period. We navigated the ten Class I rapids and four Class II rapids without incident. There was only one time we were close to flipping the canoe. I stayed pretty dry all day, but Cindy took the plunge three times. Two of the times were due to slipping when trying to get back in the canoe. The other makes for a little better story. Just over halfway down the river, nature called. Without providing too many graphic details, let’s just say she fell out of the canoe partially exposed and landed in the river without all her clothing in the proper place. It was, of course, hilarious — or at least it was a few minutes later.
After four hours on the James River, we had some of the best burgers we’ve had at a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant in Glasgow, VA, not far from the canoe company. With our energy renewed we drove to the Natural Bridge State Park where we were not disappointed. We were surprised how touristy the park was. There was an admission charge of eight dollars apiece. But, it was worth it. We were so impressed after we walked down the trail and arrived at the Natural Bridge. The solid, gray limestone arch is enormous. It is 215 feet high. 40 feet thick and 100 feet wide. It was carved over millions of years by a tributary of the James River, little Cedar Creek. It was called by the native Indians “The Bridge of God.” A young George Washington visited the bridge as a surveyor, and, according to legend, carved his initials in the rock wall. Thomas Jefferson bought 157 acres of land, including the bridge from King George III for $2.40 in 1774. He called it “the most Sublime of nature’s works”.