James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 11.34'
Flow: 37300 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond

  • All trails open and in good shape except Poop Loop. Poop Loop is still very wet and could use another day to dry out.

Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 7:06am
Low Tide: 2:24pm

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Posted In: James River

Groundbreaking mapping trip makes headway down the James

Andy Thompson

June 30, 2014 12:33pm
photo (64)

Milby and Harris check the cameras in Buchanan.

One week in, it seemed like a good time for an update on our journey to map the James River in high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic images. Maybe you’e been following the joint project between RichmondOutside.com, Terrain360.com and the James River Association on Twitter. If not, here’s a quick update in words and pictures.

Last Monday, Ross Milby and Mike Harris set off on the Jackson River in Clifton Forge on our custom pontoon raft. The first week was marked by good weather and downriver progress hampered  by the kinds of logistical challenges that are common on a first-of-its-kind trip. Camera batteries failed, shutter triggers stopped working, the pontoons lost air faster than expected, the 2.5-HP motor needed a new part, etc. Nothing catastrophic, but Ryan and I did find ourselves on the road between Richmond and different mountain towns that the James cuts through trying to figure things out.

We met the team at Twin River Outfitters in Buchanan on Thursday to bring provisions and troubleshoot some camera issues. Then they headed off downstream to the next boat landing, Arcadia, where we were waiting to see if everything went smoothly

The team passes the confluence with the Maury River upstream of Balcony Falls.

The team passes the confluence with the Maury River upstream of Balcony Falls.

In fact, it hadn’t. Ryan spent an hour re-wiring the shutter trigger to make it longer. No big deal, just another in a long line of small fixes.

Since then, the boys have run Balcony Falls and begun to navigate the seven dams above Lynchburg, camping every night and spreading the word about their trip to the boaters they pass along the way.

In about a week, they should be in Richmond, and then the real fun begins. Hollywood and Pipeline rapids, here we come!

A shot from one of our cameras as the boat goes through balcony Falls. Note the pontoon tip under water.

A shot from one of our cameras as the boat goes through Balcony Falls. Note the pontoon tip under water.


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?