For Christmas Laura had given me a nice paddling jacket and neoprene boots so I could do some cold-weather paddling. I had not had a chance to really try these out, but Sunday afternoon presented a nice opportunity. It was breezy and in the low 50’s (not really cold, but close enough.) Bob and Alan joined me for a semi-quick afternoon paddle out on Lake Robinson in Greer.
Bob and I arrived at the Verne Smith Park and unloaded the boats. We could already feel the breeze coming off of the lake, but the water didn’t look too choppy. Alan arrived shortly thereafter. Just before we got underway I realized I was traveling VERY light for me. I had forgotten my phone, and didn’t have any GPS gear with me.
While there weren’t any white caps, there was a definite bounce to the water. The new paddling jacket was quite welcome as it shed the spray splashing onto the boat. I was also glad I had brought along my spray skirt.
About a half-mile out from the dam we saw a row of white birds sitting on the lake. A large flock of sea gulls were making themselves right at home, miles from any ocean. They seemed a bit out of place. They took flight as we approached
We stuck pretty much to the middle of the lake. At one point we came to a sign which apparently marked some obstruction.
The lake is fairly well developed, with houses along most of the shore. Some of these are absolute monsters. Even so, we did find one quiet cove to explore. It ended with a stream blocked by a beaver dam.
The danger while paddling is wondering what’s around the next bend, and we fell prey to that danger. Eventually we arrived at Fews Bridge, nearly at the upper end of the lake.
Now we did have a problem. The park closes at 5:34 and it was already 4:00. I had no idea how far the bridge was from the dam and our take-out. We started paddling like crazy to try to make it back in time.
It seemed that the wind and waves were conspiring against us, and that dam looked to be a LONG way off. However, we did make it just in time, and were able to pull out the boats and get out of the park before they locked us in.
I swiped Alan’s phone to let Laura know we were later than expected. As it turned out, Laura and her mom had ridden out to the park just to get out of the house for a bit. At 4:00 when they couldn’t see us out on the water, she knew we would be later than the 5:00 time I had given her.
When we got back I checked Google Earth, and Fews Bridge is 2.57 miles from the dam, as the crow flies. However, we tend not to paddle like crows, so our round trip was probably closer to 5.5 miles, more than we had planned to do in a quick afternoon paddle.
As for the new paddling jacket, it worked beautifully. The only thing to get chilled were my fingers. I’ve got paddling gloves, but they are the fingerless type. I may have to find some thicker neoprene gloves.
One last word about the trip…Lake Robinson is beautiful from Verne Smith Park at the dam. You have a view of the lake with Glassy Mountain and the Blue Ridge Escarpment as a backdrop. However, the lake itself is not as interesting as some I’ve paddled. It’s almost too well developed.
It’s a great lake to get out and paddle, if that’s all you want to do. However, there aren’t any cool little waterfalls or side channels, or the types of distractions that tend to keep us occupied. Perhaps if we had been able to continue on up the South Tyger River, thing might have been different. We may have to start earlier in the day and try that sometime.