You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
New Year's Day, 1 January 2020: Sherando Lake and the Wintergreen Resort
Blessedly free of post-New Year's Eve side effects, due to our abstemious lifestyle, we've turned out for a scenic walk round our favorite casual recreation spot, at least in the off season. This is Sherando Lake, a 600m, 25 acre body of water on the North Fork of the Back Creek, just south of Waynesboro and Staunton and only 2 miles downhill from and west of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Total silence rules, there's not a person about. (Bears maybe, but no people.)
The USDA's Recreation Area is officially closed as of 31 October, but as exemplary citizens we are paying our nominal entry fee anyway (cf. 'honor system').
The Williams Branch of the North Fork of the Back Creek (of the South River, of the South Fork Shenandoah River, of the Shenandoah River and the Potomac)
We've visited here a few times in the past, and took the opportunities to post here some Sherando Lake background information ripped off from various mostly-government sources. So we'll refrain from repeating any of that for this page: vide 2 June 2019, 14 October 2019, and/or 28 November 2019.
The picnic ground, sadly underused at the moment, and the lake's only island
We depart from the lake level for a little while.
The easy loop trail ascends about 20m above the lake at this point, and . . .
. . . soon descends again.
And then doubles back to the earthen dam at the north end of the lake
A spillway round the dam, becoming the North Fork Back Creek again
Sherando Lake from the dam, looking toward the western side
A nasty scree slope just 300m up the slope to the Torrey Ridge -- either scree off the cliffs above or, as some insist, mine tailings, not unknown in these parts.
An afternoon sunward photo
The island from the western side
Goodbye to the Williams Branch
A trail map of the region -- Sherando's at the red dot, we're presently at the roadside just a little northeast of that. As we were driving along this approach road, we were soberly greeted by many bearded gentlemen standing beside pickup trucks, all cradling shotguns, or sniper rifles, or something. We may have unwittingly chosen to walk round the lake at the peak of the hunting season. (Whew.)
The Wintergreen Resort
We've been hearing a lot about the Wintergreen Resort, evidently famous in these parts, so (bursting with anticipation) we've come up a little road from Sherando Lake, passing over the Blue Ridge Parkway and just down a ways to the entrance, then back up the hill to the resort. Here's a plaque at a scenic overlook, nobly celebrating the wonders of nature, perhaps for altruistic reasons.
Looming over our scenic overlook, some of the wonders of nature
The view towards eastern Virginia from the Blue Ridge Mountains and . . .
. . . down into the Rockfish Valley, parallel to the east of the Shenandoah.
An Alpine touch to the Wintergreen Resort; the snowmaking machines have been out in force.
'Wintergreen encompasses more than 11,000 acres'; well and good, but who owns it?
Judging from the panorama just above, we're gazing either at Crawford's Knob -- oh, man! -- or slightly less likely, Humpback Mountain (only slightly less oh, man!). We were on Humpback Mountain about seven years ago, a very interesting place.
More Wonders of Nature
We drove round up here for a while, and we did see one marked 'hiking trail', but it was serving as a sidewalk down the road.
Looks like great fun
Imagine what mysteries of nature might lie behind those doors.
To be honest, we'd hoped for something a little more suited to our tastes and habits, but it looks like lots and lots of people are enjoying themselves immensely up here. A true winter resort, drawing nature lovers and sports fans (skiing, snowboards, maybe snowshoes as well) when there isn't even any real snow.
A very popular destination, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
Driving out, we chance upon the Wild Wolf Brewery, and it looks familiar.
Late lunch time, September 2013
The drive home
18th century farmhouse with propane tank
We're emerging onto Rte 250 and turning up west over the Blue Ridge Mountains at Rockfish Gap and down to Staunton. ['Gap' is the ubiquitous local word for a 'col' or 'pass' through the mountains.]
Next stop: The Wharf District, and a Staunton Snow day