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Column: A night on the Rapp

By Chris Muldrow / Fredericksburg Today

If you happened to look over the Chatham bridge Friday night, you might have seen an odd neon glow bobbing down the Rappahannock.

That was us.

I joined 50 people on Friends of the Rappahannock’s Moonlight Paddle. We put in around 7:45 or so at Old Mill Park and paddled down to City Dock.

I’ve paddled that stretch of river many times, but never as the sun was going down and a nearly full moon was rising over the river. Our river’s a pretty magical place, and it was great to share that with a group of people.

Paddlers circulated around, meeting new people and talking as the pretty heavy current pushed us downstream. We saw a blue heron.

We also talked to a kid who had gotten separated from a raft upriver and foolishly decided to swim across the river. The river is pretty, but it also can be deadly if you don’t respect it. A couple of us paddled up to make sure he made it across the river OK.

For most of the last century, cities all over the US turned their backs on the rivers that flowed through their hearts. But places like Fredericksburg are realizing that our Rappahannock is one of the things that truly makes us special. If you’ve not experienced that yet, there will be more opportunities–whether with Friends of the Rappahannock, Virginia Outdoor Center or River Rock Outfitters–to get your feet wet.

As we were packing up, I was talking to Woodie Walker from FOR, and we agreed that the night couldn’t have been much more perfect. I hope you can find your own perfect paddle.

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