Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Maury River at Lexington - September 2008

An old concrete dam over the Maury River on Highway 11 in Lexington, Virginia provides the paddler with about 3/4 of a mile of flatwater to enjoy. The public boat access at Jordan's Point Park offers two improved canoe/kayak ramps and nearby parking for several vehicles. This is a popular spot in the summer for tubers and swimmers, and two colleges are nearby.

Paddling upstream from the access point, one passes numerous homes on one side of the river, mostly student housing, with Jordan's Point Park on the other, followed by steep limestone cliffs. A road parallels the river for some distance upstream, too. The river here is wide and deep, and it makes for an easy and fairly quiet afternoon paddle.

I had this section of the river to myself on a Tuesday afternoon - pretty typical for my paddles. I was able to paddle upstream past the homes and the road to the first set of ripples; forward momentum was pretty much all that was needed to push through the wavelets and continue upstream. It was a far cry from the last time I was on this section of the Maury about a year ago, when the water was at least a foot higher, and I had a difficult time pushing through these 'ripples.' It was a stark lesson in the power of water when levels are high and the flow is strong.

A little father upstream I encountered the remains of a small concrete dam with a one-foot drop.

This dam is part of what appears to be some sort of old pumping station on the river. There is more flatwater behind this dam, but the portage was more involved than I had time to deal with today, so I sat for a while and enjoyed the sound of the water cascading over the dam. Listen to a short (15 second) video of water flowing through the diversion channel:

It takes about 20 minutes or so to paddle leisurely from the river access point to the upstream concrete dam. This part of the Maury River offers what is probably the longest stretch of flatwater for the paddler. Easy boat access, plenty of parking, and a convenient location make it an attractive section of water for the flatwater paddler.

View this location in Google Maps by clicking here.


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