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Paddling the (water) lilies at Lake Hope

Lake Hope water lilies
Lake Hope water lilies

We’ve had great weather this week, prompting me to do some paddling. I went up to Dow Lake on Monday and paddled the entire thing. On Tuesday, I set of for Lake Hope, about a 30-minute drive from here. It definitely was worth the trip.

Lily at Lake Hope
Lily at Lake Hope

I had the entire lake to myself when I put in at about 9 a.m. When I left a few hours later, there were a few other folks getting ready to launch boats and a few kids playing on the beach. Perfect.

I paddled the entire shorelines, passing several gorgeous blue herons. I also saw a few deer along the shoreline. But the highlight of the trip was when I paddled into a cove filled with blooming water lilies. Incredible. It was very shallow, but I managed to get all the way back to the beaver dams.

Paddling across that sea of lily pads was pretty freakin’ cool. Here’s a video that will give you an idea of what it’s like:

This seems to be a pretty shallow lake, and I think they have problems with algae during the heat of summer. My biggest complaint about the trip was finding a decent place to launch. The beach and marina are at the foot of a hill, so I had to drive down to the beach, unload the boat and then carry it over the the marina to launch. There’s a boat ramp on the other side of the dam. Maybe I’ll try there next time, but I wasn’t impressed with the look of it, either.

As an added bonus, the park includes Hope Furnace so I stopped there on my way out. It’s a blast furnace that was used from 1854-74 to smelt iron ore. This part of Ohio was bristling with furnaces like this back in the day. Hope Furnace remains as a strange Industrial Revolution pyramid dedicated to those days …

Hope Furnace.
Hope Furnace.
Paddle Bob

Paddling Glenville Lake

I’m not a golfer and I have little interest in spas.

So when Lara and I drove over the Dragon and into northeast Georgia to meet her brother, sister-in-law and another couple for a weekend in the mountains, I strapped the kayak to the top of the truck intending to explore nearby lakes.

After debating between Nantahala Lake and Glenville Lake in North Carolina, I opted for the latter, mostly because it looked a tad closer to where we were staying and it looked very remote. The drive over there definitely suggested it would be remote. I entered the GPS coordinates for Pine Creek boat ramp (N 35o 11′ 41”  W 83o 10′ 22”) into my Garmin. The GPS took me over some rough terrain, including a single lane dirt road that ran up and over the mountains, but eventually I found the ramp.

The lake was built by Alcoa in the 1940s and currently is owned by Duke Power. While it’s a pretty lake, it’s not as remote as I’d hoped. There are a lot of vacation homes along the shoreline and there was a good bit of boat traffic on the water, though it mostly was pontoons and ski boats. No Vol Navy yachts throwing off six-foot wakes on this lake.

I paddled a large loop, covering 9.9 miles in all and getting back to the cabin in time to see most of the Alabama game. Not a bad way to spend a football Saturday.


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A kayak made of poetry

In a New York Times obituary of George Hitchcock, the founder of Kayak poetry magazine, it noted the publication carried the following motto in every issue:

“A kayak is not a galleon, ark, coracle or speedboat. It is a small watertight vessel operated by a single oarsman. It is submersible, has sharply pointed ends, and is constructed of light poles and the skins of furry animals. It has never yet been successfully employed as a means of mass transport.”