Monday, June 30, 2014

Paddling Lake Chatuge near Hayesville, NC

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore...
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
William Butler Yeats

Last time DH and I drove out to this lake to check it out as a possible paddling spot, we arrived during a ferocious thunder storm. We ate our picnic lunch in the center of the covered shelter, just out of reach of the blowing rain.

This time we had a beautiful sunny day so we packed up the kayaks and headed over the mountains back to Lake Chatuge. It's about 30 miles from our home.

When we got there, dark gray clouds filled the sky and thunder rumbled. Argh. So we sat in the truck for a while looking at the lake--so near and yet so far.....  After about 30 minutes the thunder was more distant and the sky was of two minds--the left side still gray and threatening, the right blue with white clouds. We decided to join other boaters who had been waiting and we launched, with the plan to stay nearby. It's been so long since I have been paddling, I had to get on the water! This is how it looked from where we launched:

 photo Lake062914.jpg

When it rains in the mountains, the clouds settle low, as you can see in the mountains to the left.

We paddled to the right (under the pretty section of sky, of course!). Another lake shot:

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This is a very large lake, with a shoreline that is woodsy in part and lined with houses with docks in the rest. It's a nice combination. The water is clear and on this day was a beautiful green color. It was remarkably warm as well. If not for the distant thunder and our limited time, I would certainly have found a place to get out and go for a swim. Next time.

We paddled into a cove lined with houses and just enjoyed the feeling of being back on the water. However, the dark half of sky was gradually defeating and moving into the cheerful blue half. Here is the look of it as we were leaving the cove:

 photo lake3-062914.jpg

What amazing timing! When we got out of the boats, it started to sprinkle. When they were loaded and we were pulling out of the parking lot, the sky opened up and it was a deluge. The wind blew sheets of rain across the pavement.

Some day we will visit this lake and it will not be storming....

I don't know the name of the boat ramp that we used. We did not have to use the large concrete ramp to launch, the shoreline all around the parking lot is shallow with pebbles or small stones on the bottom. Very easy launching, great spot to start a paddle. We got there by heading west on 64 going from Franklin toward Hayesville. We turned left on Ledford Church Rd and stayed on that until it dead-ended into the boat ramp parking lot. If you get to the Ingles in Hayesville, you went too far and missed Ledford Church Rd. There is a boat ramp sign on 64.

We want to get back to this lake, and will also be exploring Nantahala Lake, which is about the same distance. Stand by.

1 comment:

tinycamper said...

Glad you are finding new paddling frontiers in North Carolina! Good to see photos from the kayak again. :)