March 12th. When I visited Fort Yargo State Park in mid-February, the water level in the reservoir had been lowered. In the past, I’ve taken the opportunity to walk a beach created by the lowering of the water level.
I would drop onto the beach at the east end of the trail and walk west to the point marked (dark blue trail) on the map and then returned to the trail before it headed back inland to avoid the drainage into the inlet which was usually soft and difficult to cross. If I could cross I could hike the beach to the bridge to the parking lot. This beach walk gives unique access to the shoreline and wildflowers and shrubs that are difficult to access when the reservoir is full.
When I drove into the parking lot, I knew immediately that I had left it too long. The reservoir was full. I didn’t think we had gotten that much rain. Barrow County often gets more rain than we do – we live about six miles southeast of the park – and the reservoir also receives water from springs west of the park.
I walked the trail and photographed sections of the shoreline that I’d photographed in mid-Febuary.
Location 1. These were taken looking west from the pedestrian bridge from the parking lot to the trail.
Location 2. This photo was taken look east from the point where I would leave the beach and rejoin the trail if I couldn’t walk through to the bridge.
This is how it looked on March 12th. The water was only six inches deep, but no getting out to get a matching photo.
Location 3. These were taken looking northeast just as the trail went inland to climb the hill.
Location 4. These were taken from the north side of the dam. The water level had risen from just over 21 feet to almost 24 feet.
Location 5. These were taken from the south side of the dam. The water is low and almost still in the first photo. In the second photo, the water level is higher and roiled by water from the overflow which is much more obvious in the third photograph.
Location 6. These were taken from the west end of the dam looking north.
Location 7. This is where I would drop onto the beach to begin a walk. The water would be two to three feet deep. No beach walk this day.
Location 8. Looking north across the reservoir to the island. In the first photograph, the beach around the island it clearly visible. In the second, the island is clearly and island again, surrounded by water. I could hear Canada geese calling near the island. A pair of geese usually nests on this island and it’s about that time of year. Interestingly, when I got back to the parking lot, I could see three geese; one was chased away by one of the pair. So, nesting time is near.
Location 9. On the final approach to the bridge. The beach was really wide here in contrast to the previous time the water was lowered and when the beach here was narrow and steep.
I’m a little sad that I missed the opportunity to walk the beach this time but it was interesting to see the comparison between the shoreline when the water was high and low. Next time the water level is lowered I mustn’t wait so long to walk the beach.