One of my favorite places in Richmond is not on any map, but is hidden at the end of 12th & Byrd Streets near the beginning of the Canal Walk and the Newport Cross ("We set up a cross at the head of this river, naming it 'Kings River,' where we proclaimed James, King of England, to have the most right unto it."). This wonderful hike will highlight the only white water that cuts through the heart of an urban area in the United States. The James river is the 12th longest river in the United States that remains entirely in a single state. You will see Great blue heron (Vauxhall Island has a rookery of 30+ nests; Check out the User's Web Page link above), River cooter (big black turtles), Canada geese, Shad (fish), and Double-crested cormorant (if you see just a long black neck, head, and beak protruding from the water, it's this bird). The James is also the largest roosting area on the Eastern Seaboard for Bald Eagles.
The James is Virginia's largest river, beginning in northern Botetourt County where the Jackson and Cowpasture rivers join, flowing 340 miles to the Chesapeake Bay. Its watershed covers a fourth of the state. For paddlers, Richmond's river offers some of the best white water on the East Coast, from easy Class I rapids to, at times, violent Class V rapids. Since 1870, there have been numerous floods with the worst one in 1972, when waters crested at 36.5 feet. In 1988, the city built a flood wall to protect the low lying Shockoe Bottom area of the city.
The Native Americans called the James River the "Powhatan River". When the English founded their first permanent settlement in 1607 at Jamestown, they named the river "James" after King James I of England. Later, George Washington considered the James River as a route for transport of produce from the Ohio Valley. The James River and Kanawha Canal was built for this purpose, to provide a link between the James and the Kanawha River (a tributary of the Ohio River). However, before it could be fully completed, railroads emerged as a more practical technology and eclipsed canals for economical transportation. In the 1880s, the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad was laid along the eastern portion of the canal's towpath. Today, this rail line serves as a water-level route of CSX Transportation, used primarily in transporting West Virginia coal to export coal piers at Newport News.
When you arrive at the cache, you will be able to experience everything listed above!