Monday, March 30, 2009

First spring paddle, Beaver Creek Reservoir, March 2009

Beaver Creek Reservoir is a 104-acre lake southwest of Charlottesville, Virginia near the town of Crozet. I chose this location to kick off my '09 paddling season on a sunny March afternoon with the air temperature near 60 and water temperatures estimated to be in the upper-50s. A relatively cold start to spring has kept water temperatures in the upper-40s until very recently, so I was eager to take advantage of the good weather and warming waters for my first paddle of the season

This lake is located on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and sports several coves and arms to explore. Three or four expensive homes line one side of the reservoir, but most of the shoreline is natural. The reservoir offers a park with a concrete boat ramp, wooden dock, bathroom facilities, and plenty of parking. There were a few people fishing on the lakeshore this afternoon, and three people fishing in one Mad River canoe, otherwise I had the lake to myself for an hour's paddle.

Beaver Creek offers sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. The reservoir itself is relatively long and narrow, and there was plenty of length to work the kinks out of my winterized muscles with my fast 17" Heritage Expedition kayak. And indeed, I could feel the loss of tone, after several months of snow skiing rather than paddling. Paddling the perimeter of Beaver Creek takes 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your boat, how fast you paddle, and how much poking around you do. It's a quiet location and relatively secluded - perfect for an afternoon's paddle.

As we near April in this part of Virginia, spring is making its appearance known. The grass is greening, trees are budding & flowering, and daffodils are in full bloom. I witnessed a family of ducks on the water today, as well as a couple of small turtles, but that was about it for wildlife. It's too early in the season for many insects, with only the sounds of frogs in the evenings, so far, to mark the changing seasons.

Recent rains have filled area lakes and reservoirs, and I'm happy to see that water levels are quite a bit higher than they were in the fall. I look forward to pushing into areas previously inaccessible, at least until water levels drop to their summer minimums.

I welcome the opportunity to answer questions about any of the locations I've paddled, or to meet up and paddle with area paddlers.

View this location in Google Maps by clicking here.