For the past four years, I’ve challenged myself to a ‘long row.’ Lake Oconee is the closest lake that offers a long one-way trip and light boat traffic at this time of year. I launch from the Redlands Wildlife Management Area boat launch and row south approximately 11 miles to Old Salem State Park. W and J follow me in our pontoon boat. They run ‘interference’ for me when the occasional high-powered speed boat rips up and down the lake; speed boats are going so fast that the might not see me. After the row, they ferry my boat and me - we're a matched set - back to the starting point.
I try to pick a day with a moderate high temperature - in the 60sF - and light winds. Yesterday was ‘the day.’ However, the weather pundits were wrong! The prediction was for light, variable winds. However, except for some sections sheltered from the wind, it was windy with winds from the south. Other than that, the weather was wonderful – sunny and pleasantly warm.
The first section – through the old forest now reduced to snags. The lake was at full pool – higher than I have ever seen it. The snags weren’t the problem they've been in the past. There was also some nice fall color.
In the second section, lakefront homes, docks and fall color provide a distraction from the repetitive monotony of rowing.
Some areas of lakefront are steep. Homeowners have installed extensive access ramps and stairs to the lake shore. These homeowners have ‘racked’ their kayaks on the retaining wall at their dock. Sure saves the effort that would be involved getting them from the house to the lake and back for each trip out.
This is one of the more elaborate boat docks in a small cove.
I love this house although it probably drives the neighbours nuts. All of the homes along this section have manicured lawns. This lawn is wild and provides habitat for small wildlife. A winding path – not visible in this photo is manicured to allow access to the shore than the dock.
This is the ‘big house.’ It is the sign that I’m going to make it. It’s another mile or so to the last bridge and then the last run of another mile or so to Old Salem State Park.
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- The Long Row: 2007 (Part 1)
- The Long Row: 2007 (Part 2)
- The Long Row: 2007 (Part 3)