In Which We Return, at Last, to Whipple Dam

One of the things that we love to do in summertime is to go swimming. And I am sorry to tell you that one of my absolute FAVORITE swimming holes has been out of commission for more than a year now. Yeah, it's no fair! But we hope the improvements they made while it was closed will be worth the loss of all that time.

There are two state parks that are quite close together, Whipple Dam and Greenwood Furnace. This is actually a story about Whipple Dam, the closer park. And in between them is a restaurant called Couch's, that serves some fine hot, home-cooked comfort food. In a side-story, I am partial to their hot roast beef sandwich dinner.

However, since Covid hit, we have been doing mostly takeout, and getting hoagies to go. So it had been months since we'd eaten in. What a treat on this day to get to Couch's, find the place deserted, and finally go in and get a hot roast beef dinner, with curly fries and cole slaw! (You may see that tasty meal in my extra photos.)

And from there, with bellies full, we headed to Whipple Dam to check things out. My last Blip posting from Whipple was made in mid-November 2019. They had just begun draining the lake, in order to dredge the sludge and muck out of it. And we were there to see how strange it looked, with very little water.

In February of 2020, they actually closed off access to the lake so that they could complete their improvement project, which would include the dredging, building a little wooden fishing pier, making repairs to the spillway wall and spillway, adding an accessible ramp to the swimming area, and repaving all of the paved surfaces in the park.

So we got to walk around and check it all out. I can report first-hand that it is very much indeed just like it always was! The lake is partially frozen, but thawing in spots. There are pink buds starting on the trees. And all of the trees and rhododendrons are looking lush and green.

We walked around the lake first, and then explored a little bit on the lake trail, which heads off into the woods. We found the trail of variable walking quality. In some spots, it was dry land. In others, it was crusty snow with a bit of ice on top, and slicker than you could possibly imagine. I would advise caution when walking these trails, as it is very easy to slip.

There was a biting, icy wind, and it was whipping snow flurries into our faces. Conditions: clearly still WINTER!! We got to the part that I really like where the trail and the woods open up and you are suddenly walking along a little creek and looking at wide open water. And so I stopped for some photos there. You may see one in the extras.

A few seconds after I took the reflections shot in the extras, I heard a sound behind me, and I realized it was a dog. I looked up to see and hear a golden retriever, sniffing around me and my husband. And then there was a SPLOOSH!!! as the dog jumped right into the creek beside me!

"I'm so sorry," said the man who came up behind us carrying an empty leash. "SOPHIE!!! COME BACK HERE!!! SOPHIE!! With ME!!!" he said. And the dog did heel, surprisingly enough, and they left, and eventually, so did we. And that was the tale of our return to Whipple Dam!

The soundtrack song . . . I wanted something about going back. And so here is this song, from the marvelous Emmylou Harris: Goin' Back to Harlan. It's from the album Wrecking Ball, on which every song is amazing!

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