On the eve of Christmas, 2011 AD, I visited 'Great Falls', a small nature reserve near my house that holds a canal, many trees, and the rapids of a thriving river. On the day we were there, the temperature was approximately 40 degrees (F), making for a pleasant experience of walking the woods in a sweater. And so I walked--not too far, but by observing the minimally polluted park, it seemed like a much longer, excuse-for-exercise type of walk.
In order to be (practically) in the rapids, you must cross a dirt path, a canal (avec un pont), and another pathway. The canal is, as most canals are, usually filled with water. But this time, there was no water in the canal. The retired ferry that usually wades in the mirky water was docked on a raised platform, forcing me to conclude that the drainage was done purposefully--most likely to protect the canal and it's housings from ice damage in the coming winter. But for all the years I've been going here, the park services have never drained the water. HUMPHH.
But alas, I crossed the canal and arrived to the falls. In order to get the full 'falls experience' you most definitely should walk across the thin bridge and feel the rush of the rapids. It's always been the most exciting way to experience the rapids, and I crossed the various bridge for the 1zillionth time.
Once over the various small bridges (took two minutes), there is a large, more open viewing platform in which I saw the sky at its best.
The most visually amazing part of this viewing platform is seeing the widest angle of the river, as well as the trees of Virginia. The water looks so shallow and innocent, but it isn't, at all. (First hand rafting experience. Lost my Croc--remember those?)