Feeling the urge to paddle some place new, I put in at Eagle's Landing on Chickahominy Lake near Lanexa, Virginia. I was a bit hesitant with my choice since it was Memorial Day weekend, and the lake is famous for its fish catches, and yes, there were many people fishing, but most were in small jon boats and most were respectful of the kayak. Even with all the extra boaters, I was able to find the quiet and solitude I cherish. Eagle's Landing is a small mom and pop boat rental/launch facility/bait store/snack bar, and the proprietress was very friendly, plus she has a colorful little garden around the store, and big friendly lab. You can launch from Eagle's Landing 24/7, but if the shop itself is not open, just put your $6 in the provided envelop on the front door.
From the landing I headed straight across the lake to a grove of bald cypress in the middle. Chickahominy Lake was created by damming the Chickahominy River at Walker's Dam, and it is used as a reservoir for the city of Newport News. One of the reasons the fishing is so good, is that there is an unusual amount of floating and submerged vegetation in the water which provides food and shelter. There are also many coves and twisting side creeks, and I spent much of my time exploring these. I saw many birds on my trip including herons, egrets, kingfishers, and ospreys, which were very busy and very entertaining as the were catching a meal or two. Though I did not see them, I heard numerous songbirds in the surrounding trees, which came close to drowning out the chorus of frogs. After exploring the side creeks I made my way upriver to where the Chickahominy resumed its status as a narrow, sluggish, blackwater river. On its banks I saw blooming mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia). Virginia iris (Iris virginica), Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), as well as some very old bald cypress (Taxodium distichum).
Turning around, I let the slow current take me back to the lake, where I ran into a group of fellow kayakers, and together we headed back to Eagle's Landing. As I paddled, my trip was close to 7 miles. I will be back.
|On one of the side creeks I found this bridge crossing the creek. It lead from a boat house and ended on a swampy island. There was ladder or steps leading down, causing me to wonder its purpose.|
|Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)|
|Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)|
|An osprey circled its nest as it waited for me to go away.|
Virginia Iris (Iris virginica) with Broadleaf Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)