Riverkeeper report: Riverkeeper down

Published 12:47 pm Saturday, November 2, 2013

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 25th through the 27th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was a little low, clear and 59 degrees; 58 is the average, so I’d say we are right on target so far this fall. Air temps ranged from 33 to 68 degrees. Trash was light; I did pick up another big Styrofoam block and saw a couple more I could not get to.

Not sure where they are coming from. There is/was an old boat way upriver once that might have busted up and could be the flotation out of that I guess. I also picked up a plastic refrigerator drawer, which was a pretty weird thing to find.

I checked out the work I.P. has been doing on their dike system for the ASB pond and it looks like that work is nearly complete. New federal regulations dictated they had to make some changes, which they have done. They have grass growing on it and it looks to be a good job. I bet the deer really like it; it looks like a golf course!

The fishing was great on this trip, at least the first day was. That day I went downriver, the mission again was to get a mess of chain pickerel or “Jacks” as we call ’em. I caught a bunch of those on a No. 3 Mepps Minnow and a No. 3 Mepps red & white Aglia with a white squirrel tail. I also caught like 15 bass on those same lures while trying to catch the Jacks. One of the bass weighed 3.13 pounds. The second day I went upriver nearly halfway to Joyners Bridge. The fishing was terrible up there for some reason.

Speaking of squirrels, I got me a couple of those also for my annual Brunswick stew I make. I hope they don’t make my stew taste like cypress ‘cause that’s what they were cuttin’. There were plenty out there I can tell you that.

FYI, the river was also full of ducks for all you duck hunters. So the weather was perfect, the fishing was great, the river was beautiful. Everything was just peachy, then all of a sudden my back went out at the end of the second day. Just sitting and fishing. I don’t understand how that happens; maybe it’s from sitting in a boat for so many hours?

Anyway, I had hoped it would not be too bad, but when I got to camp a few hours later near dark, I found I could not walk. Bummer. So I had to act like a snake and crawl up the riverbank, through the woods 100 feet to camp. That was not pleasant I must say.

Anyway, I hoped the next day would be better and I would not have to be at the same eye level as Moonpie. I don’t know why I thought sleeping on cold, hard ground would help, and it did not. However I could at least stand that morning with the help of my boot puller using it as a walker. I was in terrible pain.

I then had to face the reality that I was going to most likely need help to leave. I managed to get camp broke (like my back felt) but there was no safe way I was going to get all that gear into the boat, and Moonpie told me that “roadie” was not in her job description. So I called a friend and he came and helped me out. Thank you Big A! I hated to do that and drag him off of a job he was working on that day, but I might could have really gotten hurt even worse trying to load that heavy stuff, or worse fell in the river and drowned. I guess I need to round up a rescue list of people that can get to me in an emergency.

The stark reality is, I already have terrible physical issues with being a paraplegic and all that I normally have to deal with just to get out there. The fact of the matter is I’m not getting any younger and it’s certainly not getting any easier being Riverkeeper on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.