Lovill's Creek Lake is a flood control reservoir that lies only fifteen minutes north of Mount Airy, NC. It is a convenient spot to drop the kayaks in when you want to do some nature watching, get a little exercise, or just mess about in your boat.
May 25, 2015. Ben took his Jackson Sidekick out for its maiden voyage on just a perfect evening for paddling. Jackson joined us and enjoyed being in a kayak for the first time in a long time. We saw lots of geese, ducks and one beaver.
November 18, 2007. If you want to know what it looks and sounds like out on the lake before sunrise in November, then you can watch this video from the Sunday morning's paddle (15MB). If you want to know what it feels like, then stick your hands in a bowl of ice water while you watch it. I hit the water at 6:30, in the dark, and spent lots of time coasting along in the cold, watching turkeys, beavers, ducks, geese, hawks, songbirds and a deer. The deer was a buck that walked down to the water while I happened to be shooting video. It's too dark to see him on the clip, but you can hear him walking through the leaves. I had pulled the camera out hoping to catch a beaver's tail slap, but my fingers were too cold to switch the camera to video mode. The beaver had slapped the water and moved on by the time I finally had the camera working, so I decided to video for a few minutes just to document what the lake sounds like early in the morning. In those few minutes I caught a second beaver swimming further away, the deer walking along the shore and the geese taking flight and leaving for the day. Not long after putting the camera back up, I spotted six turkeys across the cove and in honor of Thanksgiving, I paddled over to watch them walk along a narrow strip between the wood line and the water. On my way back to the take-out, I sat and watched two hawks sharing a tree until they both decided to fly away. It was cold, but the water was flat with no chop, and I enjoyed the two hours I spent on the lake..
January 28, 2007. I spent a cold windy Sunday morning paddling choppy flat water on Lovills Creek Lake with my friend Jeff. Jeff's canoe was blown around like a sail boat when it wasn't sheltered from the wind.
November 5, 2006. When paddling lakes, I like to be on the water either when the sun comes up or when it goes down. That's when the wildlife is the most active, the lake the most photogenic and the world the quietest. I also like to paddle flat-water during the cold months, focusing on white-water during the warmer half of the year. So this was my first time out to Lovills Creek Lake since April. I reached the dock a little later than I had planned, with a sky already looking like this. My favorite photo from the evening shows how dark it was by the time I neared the far side of the reservoir. During the paddle back to the dock, I watched the moon rise over the dark horizon. I wouldn't have stayed so long on the water, but I completely lost track of time watching the families of beaver swim around the small island in the reservoir's far right corner. I have no idea how many beavers were actually there, but at one point I counted six above water at the same time. While I focused on a baby beaver working its way around the island's edge, two adults silently closed to within feet of my kayak before scaring the life out of me with their splashing tail slaps. I floated for probably fifteen minutes without putting my paddle in the water while the beavers swam to and fro, occasionally circling my boat. It was too dark to get a focused photo. The few I took look like blurry photos of the Lockness Monster. During the Summer, while enjoying the thrills of white-water, I forget why I enjoy paddling flat-water so much. But I was instantly reminded Sunday night as I glided silently through waters reflecting the November sky's brilliant colors and the silhouette of Canadian Geese flying above their new Winter home.
April 15, 2006. When my friend Jeff bought his new Mad River 16' Explorer, Jackson and I volunteered to go along for the first test drive. Jackson and Jeff's son Samuel both did fantastic. They didn't stand up or fall out of the canoe or anything. They were both perfect little paddlers.
February 19, 2006. In between the weekend's two snowfalls, I kayaked in the foothills of the still snow covered Blue Ridge Mountains on a beautiful, very cold, sunny Sunday morning. The air was cold enough for portions of the lake to be frozen and for the water dripping from the paddle onto the kayak's spray skirt to freeze before it could run off (25F/-3.8C), yet the sun was warm and comfortable. Since I wasn't particularly in a hurry and the day was so nice, I took my time , spending much of it either photographing the Canada Geese on the water or trying to photograph the Wild Turkeys in the wood.
November 11, 2005. Paddling in the dark, early in the morning, when it's 30F/-1C usually means you'll have the lake to yourself. And if you're lucky, it also means that you'll get to watch the sun land on the Blue Ridge Mountains through the rising mist and glide past the only remaining residents of the lake, the beaver and the wood duck, unnoticed. I can't think of a better way to start the day.
. July 10, 2005. My fourteen year old nephew Jesse and I made a mid morning paddle at the lake. Jeff let me borrow his Blackwater and I let Jesse paddle my Element. Jesse did great and I think he enjoyed being in the kayak. At some point I told him to rock the boat around to get the feel for it. I'm chilling out, messing with the camera, when Jesse says "Hey Delane, look how far over I can go." When I turned around I saw my kayak leaning further than I thought a boat could go without flipping. When he saw me freak out he rocked it back into place. You have no idea, he had my Element completely on it's edge, the spray skirt was in the water. I am so glad we didn't have to go swimming and pull that boat out of the lake.
July 1, 2005. Following yesterday's thunderstorm, I decided that this morning would be a great opportunity to run some whitewater. I thought that if we hit the water at five am we would have just enough time to get back home, shower, and get to the office by eight. Jeff and Amy both had to point out to me that it is completely dark at five. I guess you have to get up early to know these things. I really thought it would be light by then. Plus Jeff had other commitments, but see now the seed was planted. So I loaded the kayak last night and woke up at five this morning to head to the lake. Guess what, it IS dark at five, but five thirty was perfect. I only paddled for an hour and fifteen minutes before taking out and heading home, but it was a nice way to start the day. I saw two beavers, a turtle, a huge bass swam to the top next to my kayak (it was the first time that had happened), some baby wood ducks, and all the other regulars. The new camera isn't going to get close to the water and my old trusty kayaking Kodak isn't focusing very well in low light, plus I wasn't on the water very long. But I did take a couple on the water and two after loading up with the new camera.
May 1, 2005. Jeff and I traded boats for the day, so I got to take the Dagger Blackwater 11.5 for a spin. A little faster than my Dagger Element and I enjoyed the change of pace. Even though it was only late afternoon, Jeff saw a beaver out on the bank on one side while I watched a muskrat on the opposite bank. We spent time watching the ducks and turtles on the far end. (note: snapping turtles are terribly un-photogenic creatures) There were a few more people fishing than I'm used to seeing. Actually, the lake is usually deserted when I'm on it. But it was a nice day to be outside..
April 15, 2005. I was on the water at 6am and off at 7am. The lake was exploding with activity this morning. The osprey was back and seemed interested in what I was doing. He never strayed to far from where I was at. I heard him for the first time, along with three gobblers bantering from three different locations. I found one of them, still in his tree, on the right side of the lake. While I watched him, he flew across the water, to the the hillside where Jeff and I have seen them the last few times we've been. The mist was heavy and the first three times a beaver swam up, I didn't see it before they gave me their tail splash, I almost jumped out of the kayak every time. I found one beaver on the far left side of the lake. He swam from the bank and all the way around the front of my kayak before slapping the water and diving below. Unfortunately I didn't have enough light to focus without a flash. I had some great shots as he passed the bow of the boat with geese framed just beyond, but they were all terribly fuzzy. Great morning to be outside.
April 10, 2005. I started paddling early this morning, as the steam rose from the lake, right around 7:30. I snapped a few photos at the put-in, but then left the camera behind. So I didn't have it with me to photograph the osprey I saw fishing. I spotted it after it hit the water and flew around the bend. I wasn't sure what it was at the time, but it later flew a few hundred yards in front of me, then circled back and perched in the top of a high poplar tree. I was able to glide directly below it in the kayak, allowing me to get a much closer look without disturbing it. I actually thought it was a bald eagle at the time, but after researching it on the Internet, I've decided that it was an osprey instead. It would have been a first time sighting for either, but it was a lot more exciting when I thought it was an eagle. I also saw a gobbler strutting in the early morning sun, tail feathers fanned out, at the crest of a grassy ridge. So it was a fantastic, mostly un-photographed morning on the water.
March 23, 2005. I really had no intention of paddling again today, but as I left the office the rain stopped and the sun began breaking through the clouds over the mountains to the west. And since the kayak was still on the van, off I went to Virginia. The mist hovering over much of the lake made for a scenic and relaxing paddle. As usual I planned on paddling only, but again got side tracked taking photographs. It seemed like every time I put the camera away I saw a scene that I wanted to snap. One of the first things I noticed this evening was that after three straight days of being on the water, I am paddling much smoother and quieter. I paddled straight across the lake without pause, before spotting the wild turkeys from yesterday. I wasn't happy with any of the photos I took then, so I pulled the camera from the bag to hopefully get a better one. The sun then broke through creating wonderfully bright reflections on the water. Most of the lake is still dark and glassy, with only the upper most part of the reservoir muddy from the heavy rains. And, as usual, the beavers swam out to either say hello or buzz off, I'm not sure which. I decided to just drift for a few minutes and watch them work. One of the big guys swam about a foot below the surface, parallel to my kayak, and just a foot off starboard. Awesome. Seriously, I thought that was pretty cool. I'm starting to feel like Marty Stouffer from Wild America.
March 22, 2005. Yesterday, when I had sunshine, I went paddling. So today I had rain, and I paddled. It was an awesome evening on the lake, very quite tonight except for the sound of water landing on water. I planned on making a quick time of it, but I again found the lake alive with activity. At first I thought the lake was empty. The frogs and geese were no where to be seen or heard. As I paddled past an island I thought I saw a goose egg, so I pulled up to take a photo. Mother and father stormed down a hillside on the other side of the water to let me know they didn't like me getting so close to baby. So I moved on. As I approached the next island a gander rushed out to meet me. He came within ten feet of the kayak, started flapping his wings and honking. I didn't want to bother the big guy, so I tried to change course. But he kept getting in front of me, flapping his wings and honking. I finally set the paddle down and asked him just exactly where he wanted me to go. He stopped making his noise and quietly glided along side me. All of a sudden we were big pals and he followed me where ever I went. I finally shook him and as I glided into the reeds on the far end I noticed wild turkeys coming out of the wood's edge. In all, thirty-seven wild turkeys walked out and then slowly moved through the field just beyond where I was sitting. It was interesting to see how the younger jakes lagged behind before coming into the open and did not get close to the hens. Two larger toms kept look-out and also stayed in position between the hens and the jakes and younger toms. When a smaller tom got too close, the larger one chased him back. From what I understand, much of the groups pecking order is established during March before the mating season hits full swing in April. I watched until it started getting dark, then began paddling for the dock. Before I made it back the beavers came out again to swim around me and gave lots of big warning tail splashes. While drifting I also watched a muskrat swim all the way from the opposite bank in a beeline for my kayak and then pass directly below it.
March 21, 2005. On my first paddle of Spring the frogs were singing, the baby ducks were swimming, the geese were nesting, and the beavers were splashing. The family of beavers put on quite a show. They swam close by very quietly, then with a huge splash from their tails would disappear. The baby ducks were a little bigger than I thought they would be. Three weeks ago I didn't see any ducks. The geese were still sitting on their nests, so maybe I'll see some baby goslings next trip.
March 2, 2005. A brief sunset paddle on a beautiful, cold, windy evening.
January 9, 2005. Jeff and I went for an afternoon paddle on Lovill's Creek Lake in Cana, Virginia. Lovill's Creek Lake is a flood control reservoir that lies only fifteen minutes north of Mount Airy. It is a convenient spot to drop the kayaks in when you want to do some nature watching, get a little exercise, or just mess about in your boat. Jeff was able to drop the skeg on his new 11.5 Blackwater for the first time and it was the first time either of us had paddled a lake in the kayaks. One advantage of paddling flat water is that you can keep your camera a lot more handy allowing you to catch moments like the Canadian Geese taking flight.
Click HERE to watch a tiny clip from the day.