Summer should be spent on or around boats. Summerville Lake in West Virginia is a great place to be a teenager with a boat. It was just a little day cruiser with a small cabin but it was an adventure machine. We did the usual stuff with it. Fishing and white I never mastered the art of water skiing we did have a knee board that was a lot of fun. Perhaps the most interesting knee board story would be the time I didn’t quite get my shorts properly secured. The way to start off on a knee board is in the prone position. Dad hit the throttle and the boat was running particularly well that day. Yup, pulled me right out of my swim trunks on a crowded lake! I dove as deep and as fast as I could. I could almost touch them but I was running out of air and had to surface. Head only of course. I spent the rest of the day wearing a brightly coloured towel as a loincloth and in fear of breeze created by a boat at full throttle. Most of the time we just puttered up river (The Gauley River runs underneath the lake.) Into one of coves and when the fishing wasn’t really all that great we’d have a swim. Camping isn’t allowed on the shore except in designated areas but you can anchor off shore and spend the night on your boat. One morning we was cruising out to a quiet spot on the lake and encountered a lady who was totally freaking out. We thought maybe she was in trouble so we pulled along side their boat to offer assistance. She produced a broken fishing rod. A large one similar to the ones used to fish the shore of the ocean. The rod was broken at the base and the hook was pulled out straight. She had experienced one of the monster catfish from the very bottom of the lake. The Department of Natural Resources maintains that these unnaturally large fish do not exist but we have certified Scuba Divers who will not dive Summersville Lake after spotting one. Life on Summersville Lake is an awesome experience. I hope to see you there sometime and be sure to bring good strong fishing tackle. You might be the one who pulls a monster out of one of submerged caves.
When I was a kid I was fascinated by petroglyphs. Being of the Indiana Jones generation, I wanted to be the one who cracked the code and uncovered ancient secrets. I just knew that there had to be a golden idol at the bottom of a cave close by. I would study the markings on the cliff and I could even see the hunters stalking some strange dinosaur. (Left side of the image behind the small bush. ) This had to be a map! Right? There’s a pod of dolphins in the center. And strange symbols throughout the whole thing!
The unfortunate thing about gaining knowledge is the loss of the adventure. What we see here is pretty common in my area. Painted Sandstone. The stone was formed when different colored mud ( in laymen terms ) came together and mixed, then turned to stone. The result was these wonderful patterns in the canyon wall of Summersville Lake that resemble some prehistoric record. There’s other spots like this and even some real petroglyphs but I haven’t found one that is as realistic as the one here. If you find yourself in the Summerville Lake area the best way to see them is by boat.
Late last summer I managed to get a nice shot of sunset over the Kanawha River. The golden dome in the background is our capital building. My home is at the other end this river. When I was a kid I was told that the word Kanawha was a Native American word for big river. Today I checked via Google and was given a few more interpretations. The Shawnee say that it’s a word for new water and the Catabwa say it means friendly brother. That’s odd to me because I have always thought that both tribes spoke Algonquin. What’s in a name anyway? Whatever Kanawha means it’s a major resource. The tug boats are often seen pushing massive amounts of coal up and downstream. The Kanawha River has been a major resource for thousands of years and it still is today.
Remember that trip to the lake?
Remember the innocence of our summer vacations? We spent warm days playing in the cool water. Remember the coins? They were not real money. They were aluminum disks leftover from a project but to us they were real pirate silver lost in a storm and found by two boys. We take turns tossing them in the water and then diving into the deep. I remember how the water got cooler as we dove deeply into murky depths. The real treasure we found was the adventures and the memories of Summer on the lake.
This image was taken at the Salmon Run portion of Summersville Lake in Nicholas County West Virginia.