Here are a few more pictures of our campsite on the Cowpasture River in Iron Gate, in Virginia’s Alleghany County. The river snakes and winds throughout its 84 miles until it combines with the Jackson River to make the James River. The Native Americans called it the “Walatoola,” or “Winding River.” The arriving British renamed it, Wikipedia informs me — there are “Bullpasture” and “Calfpasture” rivers too, and they are all apparently named according to some confusing early American folklore involving stolen cattle.
The water was perfectly clear, and as warm as a mild bath after the late July sun hit it for a little while in the morning. I remember thinking that my friends and I had an endlessly stretching hot-tub beside the place where we slept.
The riverbed and the hills through which it cuts are composed of jagged, gigantic jigsaw pieces of sedimentary rock — shale, sandstone and limestone — tilted askew. They’re slippery. But above those, in most places, are scattered wide beds of perfectly smooth, smaller stones that are comfortable to walk on.
There are often scores of small fish that hug the bank or quietly dart about the ankles of visitors wading in. These are a staple for the eagles. Flycasters, too, pursue larger quarry on the western bank, while people swimming and tubing stay to the right — I suppose this is river etiquette?
Upriver from our campsite, there are also “riffles” — miniaturized rapids that offer a bumpy but easy ride to anyone “tubing.”
House Stark’s invading army bivouacs on its way south to King’s Landing. NOBODY GET MARRIED.
I found the ancient Native American Magic Machete of Legend beneath the river’s clear waters. Because I am strong and pure of heart. (I also found the ancient Native American stone cell phone.)
Wielding the legendary blade allowed me to walk on water, as you can see. Having thus conquered it, I then claimed the river for New York.
I tried unsuccessfully to prank a friend by placing a Blair Witch stickamajig outside his tent. Unfortunately, it kinda unraveled. I even managed to position it outside the wrong tent, actually leaving it for a nice girl who had never seen “The Blair Witch Project.” I was really off my game.
The quick, shy skink. After nearly two years in Virginia, I finally snapped a pic. I indeed mean “skink,” and not “skunk.” It’s a lizard. It’s got a glittery blue tail, though you can hardly tell in these pictures.