Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sherando Lake - May 2009

Bluebird skies, light winds, a temperature hovering around 70, and a dry airmass made for perfect paddling weather on Sherando Lake today. This 24 acre impoundment is part of the Sherando Lake Recreation Center, just over the mountain from Wintergreen, Virginia. The area contains a full service campground, beach with bathhouse, gift shop, a smaller 7 acre fishing lake, and lots of hiking trails. The area also requires a day use fee of, in my case, four dollars.

Carry down access to the larger lake is via short paths from the main parking lots near the beach. I paddled this lake one day last summer when the beach was crowded and noisy, but today was a different story. With the exception of four or five people bank fishing, I had the lake to myself.

A moderate breeze gave the lake a light chop at times, with waves running just high enough to splash over my bow from time to time. It would've been a nice day to bring my sail, but really, the lake isn't large enough to do much sailing. One lap around the perimeter takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on the speed of your boat and your cadence.

Sherando Lake is particularly scenic on days like this, as it's hemmed in by tall peaks on all sides. It also sports one rocky island not too far away from the beach.

I enjoy doing one lap around this lake, then paddling up and down the center of the lake a couple of times. It's scenic enough that you'll be tempted to just float in the middle of the lake while soaking up the view, letting the wind and current push you wherever.

Although it's only barely visible in my pictures, there is a large landslide visible on one of the ridges. It looks fairly recent, and there are hiking trails leading to the slide so you can hike up the rock pile.

Sherando Lake has a concrete viaduct as part of the earthen dam. Water cascades down the viaduct on its way out of the lake and down an outflow stream. View a short, 15 second, video clip of water flowing down this viaduct, with a bonus waterfall on the left side of the video:

Rock outcrops encroach on the lake in spots (mostly sandstones). Groundwater can be seen dripping from one outcrop near the dam, in a nice shady spot. View a short, 15 second, clip of this natural spring:

Sherando Lake may be small, but it's scenic and pleasant for paddlers of all types. View this location in Google Maps by clicking here.

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