Monday, April 11, 2016

Sherando Lake Recreation Area, Lyndhurst, VA

Each new place we go presents a different challenge to us as volunteers. An incomplete address had us scheduled to arrive at Natural Bridge Station while we were expected at Sherando Lake, a difference of almost 100 miles further north. Thankfully, I have my “smart phone” with me and I ask Google Maps for adjusted directions.

Our arrival in the George Washington National Forest has again caused quite a stir although in a much different way than our arrival had at Nebo just one month earlier. We were greeted at the front entrance by 4 volunteers, all trying to speak at once, and the Supervisor, in charge of all volunteer assignments, Kelly whose voice boomed out over all present. There was a boisterous greeting, introductions all around and some discussion about where our camper should be placed. There is a separate part of the property reserved for volunteers near the maintenance shed but Kathy and Dave suggested we join them in the group camping area a little further into the park.

Once the backing in of our 24 foot trailer into the somewhat narrow site has been accomplished,  we took a moment to check out our surroundings. We find ourselves in a depression located within the Blue Mountains, described as a bowl. This bowl prevents all television signals and cell reception from making it’s way to our devices. But the month will not leave us totally unplugged. Carl is happy to report the satellite dish is working just great thanks to a lovely southern exposure.

Each night and most early mornings, we have been treated to the antics and grazing of a small herd of deer, numbering 10, all does. I keep hoping one of the ladies might have a fawn or two hidden nearby although these first few days have disappointed.

Our assignment, this month is the Bathhouse and Pavilion on the shore of Lower Sherando Lake. There are numerous picnic sites with barbeque pits, a pleasant sandy beach for kids to do whatever kids will do in the sand and several acres of cool grass shaded by large Oaks. It’s too bad the weather has been so very blustery, cold by some standards and rainy more days than not. We are told by July the grassy lawn will be covered with knees and elbows. Sherando Lake is divided by a large earthen berm. Both Upper and Lower Sherando are stocked with trout and fishing is allowed. You may kayak, canoe or row to your heart’s content while swimming is reserved for the lower portion. No motors are allowed.

 Each day, we are required to disinfect showers, clean toilets and mop the rather large and constantly dirty tiled floor. Every day the wash water takes on the color and consistency of a lehar, the quickly melted cement like runoff of ash, dirt and debris associated with a volcanic eruption. It seems to be a thankless job although I have had several comments on how clean the bathrooms are and what good shape the grounds are in. Most people thank us for our hard work once they find out we are volunteers. That’s not why we do this.