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One River

One of the most influential books i ever read was by Ethnobotanist Wade Davis as he retraced the steps of American Ethnobotanist Richard Schulz near the turn of the 20th century. He journeyed up the Amazon River discovering and exploring the use of plants by the people of the Amazon. It changed my views on many things amongst them drugs and addiction, if you choose the journey to the book you will understand this for yourself.

And now some 15 years later I find myself on my own journey near a very different river which will have to suffice for me as the Amazon, as at a late age I take on my own journeys of discovery – fortunately without the drugs – apart from the endorphins driven by exercise and the euphoria of seeing some natural sights I could never witness in New Zealand. The Shenandoah travels through highly cultivated and populated country as it wends its way from two separate primary tributaries and onwards to the Potomac:

The Shenandoah River is formed northeast of Front Royal near Riverton, by the confluence of the South Fork and the North Fork. It flows northeast across Warren County, passing underneath Interstate 66 1 mile (1.6 km) from its formation. Beyond the I-66 bridge the river flows through a set of bends before turning to the northeast again, crossing into Clarke County 11 miles (18 km) below I-66. Five miles (8 km) downriver from the Clarke County border, the Shenandoah passes under U.S. Route 50 and then passes through a triple bend. 14.5 miles (23.3 km) below the Route 50 bridge, the river passes underneath Virginia Route 7 and then continues northeast another 8 miles (13 km) before crossing into Jefferson County in West Virginia, in the extreme eastern tip of the state. Once in West Virginia the river completes six large bends before joining with the Potomac from the south near Harpers Ferry 20 miles (32 km), from the Virginia-West Virginia border.

Already I must have crossed the river 100 times as I journey to DC, to Strasburg, Front Royal, Luray and beyond. I’ve only ever seen the river as a lazy lolling sort of watershed, however i am sure that is not always the case.

Not for now, but in futre posts i hope to share the experiences I have that are in one way or another connected with this river from the back-country solitude to the politics and violence that have both spread along it shores in the past and in the present – that is if I am to include it’s merging with the Potomac and the Potomac’s flow through Washington DC before meeting Chesapeake Bay.

For now I am just happy to have begun, to have returned to something I do love, and to feel encouraged that I might share this with others..

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