I would be one of those locals, glad to help you through and explore that section. The upper James can be rather lackluster but I agree there is far too much trash left behind by lesser paddlers than us.
Don't discount the James, its a great waterway.
Not sure how you scraped with the water being up so high from the passing storms we had Monday and Tuesday, perhaps my knowing those sections pretty well plays to my favor.
I hate the trains, in fact the RR company has recently eliminated a community take out that involved crossing the tracks, which added an extra 45 minutes of paddling boring backwater into a headwind.
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