Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2021-2022

A photographic record of whatever leapt out at us

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.

Sherando Lake: picnic on a bench and a scamper round the lakeside trail

25 December 2021

It's Christmas Day and 66˚F (19˚C) out, so we're off for a picnic-and-reading visit to Sherando Lake, with a little healthful exercise tossed in. We're passing over Deplorables Hill on the way there -- the third flag, the lowest one, bears the message 'Coming Soon'.

Sherando Lake is just off the Mt Torrey Road (Rte 664) south of Lyndhurst, Virginia, tucked into the valley of the Back Creek just downhill from the Blue Ridge with the Wintergreen Resort on its other side. The extremely rural town of Sherando, pop. ca. 700, stretches northward towards Waynesboro, and Rte 664 continues southward up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The lake and environs are a USDA Forest Service Recreation Area, known as the 'Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains', popular for RV & tent camping, picnicking, hiking, boating, and with a limited area for swimming. There's even a sizable hornet's nest hanging directly over the carpark for a certain kind of hobbyists.

It's presumably a crowded favorite during the summer season, for campers and day trippers alike, but we're usually here after that season has ended (or before it's begun), the staff and most visitors have gone home, the daily fees are sort of a kind of an afterthought, and we usually share the lake with a small number of dedicated and patient fisherpeople. [Officially opens 1 April to 31 October]

This year has been especially kind to us, Sherando-wise, because it's generally been very much warmer than usual, an harbinger of the climate-change devastation to come, but enjoyable in the meantime.

The lake is formed by a small earthen dam on the North Fork Back Creek, which dribbles into the Back Creek at the end of the access road down on Mt Torrey Road. The Back Creek runs northward out of this little valley to join the South River near Waynesboro, which then winds all round to join the South Fork River to the Shenandoah River to the Potomac. A small cork from a bottle of Aldi's Winking Owl merlot dropped into North Fork Back Creek might very well, in the fullness of time, emerge into the Chesapeake Bay.

We've come today for a picnic lunch and some reading of our books in the solitude and peace of a beautiful lake on a warm wintry day.

Kristin is reserving a picnic bench for us.

Fantastic -- a ham and cheese on rye, neatly assembled by the Green Room on Beverley Street in Staunton

The little dock over by the serious picnic-tables part of the park

Lunches inside us and books tucked away, we're off for a quick spin round the lakeside trail, good for a bit over half an hour. There is an upper trail, called the 'Cliff Trail', that doubles the time, but not for today.

There is a sign posted on this end of the little island, illegible from this distance, which puzzled us until we got a zoom photo of it and discovered that it doesn't say anything at all. Perhaps today, viewed from the far side, we will be enlightened.

We proceed apace.

Approaching the dam, ca. 550 meters from our picnic bench

No fisherfolks at the lake today

The spillway past the dam

The North Fork of the Back Creek continues on its immemorial way 2½ km down alongside the access road to the Back Creek.

Slag iron in some of the stream?

Back up the west side a few hundred yards towards the giant scree or talus scar, and then . . .

. . . a U-turn, or demi-tour, back southward above the lake shore.

There's a tiny bit more elevation along this side of the lake.

There's the dam (newly joined by a car).

Canadian geese (we've just been informed)

One of our favorite shorter casual walking trails in the region

That's our mysterious sign on the island -- the zoom lens seems to show suggestions of lines of type, but unintelligible. It probably just says 'No Diving'.

The proper picnic area, starkly attractive at this season. But imagine it at the height of summer -- large, happy families, each with dogs and a competing boombox.

-- Mind your head.

That's the dock from this side of the lake.

The visitors' centre. The Blue Ridge Parkway is up there somewhere, about 2 crow-fly miles from here.

We're back home, and on Christmas Day exceptionally, no problems finding a parking space.

Wild Catjinks

Conspiratorial cats, busted

A certain amount of antagonistic posturing taking place here, hopefully playfully

A two-tiered battlescape -- no casualties so far

A few photos will suggest the course of events -- this went on, back and forth, up and down, for at least five minutes.

Choupette is skinnier and the only one who can take a swipe down either side of the board.

Rout, and pursuit

And a faceoff -- it's not over yet.

In fact, it's never over.

Home improvements

The original carpet we inherited with the apartment was vile, ugly, irremediably stained and dirty, unfashionable, possibly carcinogenic, and particularly dangerous in times of the Trump Covid-19. So these young gentlemen have been sent in by their employer to spend the better part of a day taking it up and disposing of it according to best practices, and . . .

. . . laying down a vastly superior new one.

Now we needn't be embarrassed to have guests coming up to our mezzanine, study, and guest room. And upstairs bathroom.

What's next, then? The Augusta Springs Wetlands in mid-winter

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 13 January 2021.

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