With Labor Day over, we have now passed the unofficial mark of the end of summer, but people hoping to enjoy one last blast of summer fun are in luck. Business is just starting to pick up for several rafting companies in the region.
At the beginning of the summer, too much rain caused poor conditions for being out on area rivers.
"This has been the wettest year I can remember on the river. It's definitely the worst year on record," said Ashley Denby, the operations manager for James River Reeling and Rafting in Scottsville.
High water left canoes, kayaks and inner tubes grounded.
"In the beginning of the year it definitely was just unsafe levels, fast water, muddy water, trees floating," Denby said.
And high waters meant the river was flowing too fast. A trip that usually takes a few hours, could take just 45 minutes when the water is two or three feet higher than usual.
"So it's a question of safety and trip quality," said Denby.
But after a bad start to the summer, things have turned around. It's now the perfect time to take a river ride in central Virginia. Business has picked up at James River Reeling and Rafting, and at several other rafting companies in the region.
"Thankfully the sun came out and the water subsided and we've been able to get people back in the water," Denby said.
Tom Hughes spent Labor Day on the James with his coworkers.
"We work really hard so we try every once in a while to take a day off and get out and do a beautiful thing as sort of a quintessential Virginia activity," said Hughes. "We are looking forward to seeing some wildlife, getting to talk to everybody, meet new people, maybe see some fish. Just have a good time."
And with water levels at the ideal point - just shy of four foot average debts - the end of summer could be the beginning of peak season for riding on the river.
"It's just a nice way to get out of the city. If you've done your historical tours, and you've done your vineyards, and your breweries, and you're like 'Oh, I just want one more element to add to it,'" Denby said.
Denby says what people enjoy the most when riding on the James is that it's relaxing. "To get out on the water and just enjoy being lazy just enjoy the flow of the scenery," she said.
Relaxing and having fun was definitely a priority for Hughes. "Tubing on the James, I think is probably the most lazy thing you can do in Virginia. I think you just sit there and let the water do the work," he said.
Water levels are also at a great point right now on other rivers like the Shenandoah and Rappahannock. Most rafting companies in the region will be open through the fall as long as the water levels and temperatures remain stable.
To learn more about James River Reeling and Rafting, click here.