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July 4, 2013

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The Roanoke River hit its 10th-highest level ever on Independence Day 2013, and not too many hours after that peak, we set out from home to walk along the Roanoke River Greenway and see how the bench cuts--put in at the same time as the greenway--were doing in terms of preventing flooding.

At the Memorial Bridge (and the Roanoke River Greenway's crossing of the river at that point), we headed east first, along the new section from the bridge across two pedestrian bridges to the current eastern endpoint of the Roanoke section at Bridge Street. Along this section of the river, where the bench cut is deep and broad, we could see two distinct flows of the river: in the foreground, the bench-cut flow, which was leisurely and nearly coffee-pleasant-looking compared to the main-channel flow, which rushed along with bubbles, all manner of debris and a significant bending of the trees whose upper limbs stuck out above the flow. Even "Wilson" the soccer ball went flying by, paying no attention to my call to him. The water came out of the banks only at one point, and then only to just-above-ankle depth and no real movement.

We then headed west back along that same distance, across the bridge and down into Thomas Park toward the bridge between that park and the Wasena Park part of the greenway. At the point where the bridge crosses, there is no bench cut, and the result was that the river had spilled out of its banks, on the Wasena side, to the extent that it was partway into the parking lot. We made our way across the bridge, paused and then waded on through the mild flow up to our knees at some point. Likely ill-advised, but we took it one tiny, hand-holding, geezerly step at a time, fully prepared to turn back had there been a pull at our legs.

Maybe part of the incentive to get across was our destination on down the greenway: The Wasena Tap Room and Grill.

Which was, on this July 4, closed.

We took the neighborhood route back toward the Grandin Village and a lunch at the Village Grill before climbing the hill back home.


Home to along Roanoke River Greenway in both directions from near the Memorial Bridge. About 5.5 miles.

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July 4, 2013

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