The Hell Trip

It was a chilly day one November on our first trip down the North Anna from Hewlett to the highway bridge at Route 1 (The Chesterfield Bridge as it was called during the Civil War). We didn’t know what we were in for… the long shallow stretches… (what would become known in later years as) the Gates of Hell… The Rock Garden… and finally, The Falls and The Fall Hole. The fish in the picture (18 inches) was the only fish caught or seen all day. …caught on a smoky grub right above the Gates of Hell. We were wet and cold all day. Later, poor Otway’s rheumatism would flare up every time he thought about that hellish day on the North Anna. He never returned to that river again, though many a citation have come from those very waters since. If not for that one fish caught that day, I doubt if I would have ever have returned, either.

I still remember the fateful cry, right before the I cast that smoky grub towards that glimmering hole….

“There’s no fish in HERE!”  (photo by O3)


That was the closest I’ve been to hyperthermia which my wife can attest to by getting me through a night of shivering. Also the poisonous snakes swimming through my legs as we portaged the canoe for miles over the fall line.

A rabid dog on shore, floating past within feet of three huge vultures sitting on a log, canoeing in a massive thunderstorm in a metal boat, to include all of that would be rewriting history but those memories and many others are getting fuzzy on which trips they occurred. Like these many tales Johns panoramas are presenting a romantic view of the wilderness that who could imagine is only about 30 minutes from the city. I’m starting to feel like Jeremiah Johnson, but isn’t that what great fishing stories are all about.

John made the trip yesterday alone and took some beautiful panoramas :


JM : photo


4 Responses to “The Hell Trip”

  1. 1 O3
    May 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Here is a link to another beautiful panorama John took of the North Anna Fall Line :

    When I saw Rodney last week he says there is talk of a park beside the Little River where the Falls are. I need to redo these photos some day :


    • 4 boatdog
      June 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks for the links…I’m having good numbers of visits to my site today, most likely because of traffic from the O3 archive.

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1984 Computer portrait from State Fair

May 2011
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