Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Salem Lake Loop

       Salem Lake on Christmas Day

Railroad Bridge Refection

Christmas Day is a great day for a hike....especially if there is a trail nearby....Salem Lake is not ten minutes from my home and the 7 mile loop has served as conditioning hike for the FBWG... today rather than vegging on the couch I left my hiking companion at home cooking Christmas dinner and set out for a training hike but I am glad I took my camera....what a great day at the lake!

The dam at Salem Lake was recently replaced and the lake was drawn down for nearly a year...it is now filling back up and wildlife...especially ducks are everywhere!

Dozing Mallard

I am not familiar with the breeding habits of mallard ducks but whatever the season was, these guys were very busy as there are maturing young ducklings everywhere on the lake...so if you like ducks....Salem Lake is the place to see them!

The trail around the lake is a wide crushed sand and gravel path...easy on the knees and you will encounter many joggers and other hikers of every variety....but you will also be terrorized by the bicycles which will whiz around at frightening speed....don't zone out or you will get run over!  

From the trail you can see the distant shore and gauge the distance of the hike before you...the lake has ever changing views....every time I hike the lake I see something new. I usually park at the Linville Road access and walk clockwise....for reference the parking lot is about milepost 3 of a counter-clockwise hike if you begin at the marina trail head.  Going this way you encounter the only incline of the trail about 1.5 miles down the trail.....the trail rises over a small bluff and then snakes its way into a really nice cove where there is an very inviting creek adorned with a commemorative bench if you need to rest your dogs. 
Every time I have hiked the lake trail I have rushed by this spot ignoring a small wooded trail that leads upstream along this inviting creek....but today was Christmas and I was looking for a present.....and I took the less traveled path and was rewarded with a gift better than what Santa brought.

It had rained for several days and the creek was up and as a result there were many nice small water falls...and for a moment I forgot I was in Winston-Salem.

As I walked up the wooded path I was able to walk across the rocks in the stream to take in the view from both sides of the creek.

I took a water break and sat on a large boulder and took in the view downstream.  The woods were quiet, the silence only interrupted by the gentle roar of the water rushing over the rocks.... This will be a great place to visit in the fall!
While I was tempted to explore the creek further and the many other trails leading into woods away from the lake, I was reminded that I had another 5 miles to hike...so I returned to the loop trail.

On the downhill side of the marina, among the many improvements brought on by the dam construction is this new but rusty bridge....seriously a new bridge  that is already rusty....go figure

The view from the bridge introduced me to the first of many wonderful reflections created by a cloudy winter afternoon on the still waters of Salem Lake.

At mile marker 6 thereabouts is a great view back to the marina...you can see the clouds reflected on the water from here as well but in this photo you see a spot of light in the left hand corner of the photo...it is the reflection of the sun spotlighting through the clouds!

I could not resist snapping this photo...seldom in the winter do you get a chance to have an interplay of color and the mirror-like reflections of the pine tree makes the scene actually appear in the photo prettier than I remember!

Look carefully at this picture and you can see Ole Sol peaking out from the clouds.

There is a wonderful rock outcropping on the northern shore of the lake from which you could grab some rays on a warmer day...today I enjoyed watching a duckling race

Somewhere along about mile marker 5,  I could not resist resting my dogs on a newly erected park bench.  

The view up the trail was nice but the sentiment expressed by the marker on the bench told a better story....I don't think I ever met Dick Peterson...seems like a great guy with a wonderful perspective on life....after all it was a reminder that we each should expect to receive a present not only on Christmas morn...but each and every day!  

The Fat Bald White Guy really likes the Salem Lake Trail...it is the place I can go to stay in shape for my mountain adventures but it is also a great hike....Access is so convenient 10....the trail is great but too many crazy bike riders...7...scenery is improving as the lake fills back up....7.....Solid 7.5 trail...at 7 miles it is a bit long for some folks but just right for the FBWG,....Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. Great Christmas day walk!!! Actually reviewed this one before you could ask! Keep up the beautiful work!!! Julia Frye