Early on the morning of August 21st 2017 I stopped by the roadside park at Summerville Lake in West Virginia. The shot was taken by placing the camera directly on the road. The road crosses the Summerville Dam which is a Flood control dam. My grandfather was a engineer who helped build the dam. Below the lake is the flooded town of Gad. The traditional way of naming Dams and Lakes built during the flood control project had to be suspended to prevent a scandal. The local community just couldn’t allow the existence of “Gad Dam” and “Gad Dam Lake “. The resulting history is somewhat of a local joke today.
I spent a large part of my youth on or in the lake. By the time I was 16 swimming from the beach to the campground was a ritual way to celebrate the opening the summer lake season. Just to left of the road here there’s a cliff where I used to dive. I’m guessing the drop was about 60 feet high from the surface of the water and the bottom of the lake is about the same. We’re not allowed to have such adventures there today. Unfortunately a person was injured because he dove from the wrong spot. The Corps of engineers decided to ban diving altogether.
On the right side of the road is the Gauley River. The outlet for the lake creates class 6 rapids and so that spot is popular with rafters and kayakers. The river is a great place for trout fishing. There’s a local story about a specific DNR officer who came up on two guys fishing. When he asked to check out their licenses one of them dropped his pole and took off running downstream. After a harrowing chase the officer finally corners the fisherman and once more demandsfor the license to be presented. When the fisherman produces the license everything checks out. No laws were broken. The two men are completely out of breath from the chase. Panting heavily the officer asked why the first man ran. “You have your license and there’s nothing I can charge you with ” he said. The fisherman replied “yes, but my friend didn’t have one.”
If you come to West Virginia, Summerville Lake is a great place to have some summer fun. Just don’t jump from cliffs and if you plan to fish you better have a license. The DNR officers travel in pairs now. 😉