Still Waters

Blackwater River, Sussex County

I’m not one for taking scenic photos, but I saw this view driving home from Bacon’s Castle yesterday and couldn’t resist.


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12 responses to “Still Waters”

  1. larryg Avatar

    being a connoisseur of rivers of all kinds I dig it and in fact have paddled it.

    wanna guess where it ends up ? it’s not the James even though it starts close.. may not realize it but it’s on the “other” side of the height of land which is
    probably almost imperceptible when you drove over top of it but Route 10 is an old ridge road and with a few exceptions – waters to the north flow to the James and waters south of it go not to the James.

    here’s a terrain shot – look at the creeks and where they start and then flow:

    I’m glad you’re stopping to smell the roses – and also hope you took note of how folks in the country “settlement patterns” live.. pretty modestly in most cases.

    1. Surry and Sussex counties are an economic backwater. Drive along the country roads and through the little hamlets and you see so many abandoned buildings. Very sad.

  2. Careful, Jim. You’re heading onto Lynn Mitchell’s photoblogging turf!

    Great pic.

    1. Trust me, Lynn has nothing to fear.

  3. Only one thing goes through my mind when I see a picture like that …. what can you catch in that water/

    Quite a few things it turns out …

    1. larryg Avatar

      looking at the DGIF site and learning of the herring ban is no great shock though sad.

      As a youngster – I was aware that shad and herring were so plentiful that my Grandfather would head out when they were “running” to a creek with a homemade wishbone-sapling/chicken wire net. Can’t find a picture but envision a sapling twisted into a wish bone with chicken wire in the middle.

      You’d put this in a creek when the herring or shad were running then take them home and pack them in salt barrels and every morning you had them with fresh eggs from the hen-house for breakfast. And more than enough were cooked so that later you could wander into the kitchen and find one sitting on the wood stove to munch on.

      like so many things today ….

      ” In 1920, more than 7,200 metric tons of river herring were harvested from the James, York, Rappahannock and Potomac rivers, as well as from the Bay itself. That made the species the No. 1 seafood resource in Virginia in quantity and the fourth biggest in value, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which tracks such trends.

      In the 1960s, the average annual commercial haul in Virginia was more than 26 million pounds. It dropped to about 8 million pounds in the ’70s, to less than 2 million pounds in the ’80s and this decade stands around 143,000 pounds a year, statistics show.

      So what happened?

      Scientists believe a combination of factors, mostly man-made, are to blame. They include pollution, increased shoreline development, construction of dams and other river blockages, overfishing by foreign trawlers working off the mid-Atlantic coast, and increased predation from striped bass and blue catfish.

      The same obstacles face shad, a member of the same fish family as river herring. These species are born in freshwater, move out to the ocean each year, then return to inland rivers and creeks to spawn.”

      Rivers are special places that if you ever are so inclined – a multi-day trip in a canoe can change you. Not one day, not even two – but a week or more.. with a tent for the sandbars … river baths… camp food… and you paddle rain or shine… a good tarp is a good thing to have to get under if the weather is wet.

      you’ll see a lot.. you’ll gradually shift into what I call “river time”. that’s when you pull away from your normal schedule and your “new” schedule is the river.

      people who paddle rivers know some things that people who don’t – don’t know.

      it don’t matter if you are a good old boy or a PHD – it all gets down to some basics.

      1. The shad used to run up the Potomac right through Alexandria. My buddies and I would go out in row boats and catch plenty of them. We’d smoke the fish and our parents would eat the roe. It seemed inconceivable that the the shad runs would ever end given the sheer numbers of shad in a given run. And this was in the 1970s.

        1. larryg Avatar

          I used to stand in wonderment on rivers edge and think I could almost walk on the fish they were so thick.

          this has happened in our lifetime.

          and yet we are “skeptics” aren’t we?

  4. I would be interested to know where you shot the photo. The Blackwater joins with the Nottoway and Meherrin rivers to form the Chowan river and eventually empties into the Albemarle Sound in N.C. The Blackwater takes a lazy, winding route to meet the Nottoway just below Franklin, Va. It is a fascinating part of Virginia (swamps and such).

    1. Hah! I can’t tell you. I took a wrong turn in Surry (I think) and ended up in Wakefield — so, somewhere between Surry and Wakefield.

      1. larryg Avatar

        obviously not using GPS , eh?

        when you did that -you crossed on Route 10 which appears to be a ridge road.

        Many older roads in Virginia were “ridge” roads – they ran along the spines (height of land) of ridges so that the waters flowed away … watersheds are
        fascinating things … they can tell you a lot of about the land, it’s history, early transport and how places grew to be cities.

  5. Your photo likely came state route 31, near Dendron, Va. You must have found your war to U.S. 460 in Wakefield, Va. (Shad Planking)?

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