We have all seen the news. Greenville makes another top 20 list! There are multiple mentions of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, Downtown Greenville with the Liberty Bridge, our affordability as a medium sized metropolitan area, and others, but I have never seen one of the things that attracted me to the area over 10 years ago – lakes and water sports.

Immature Bald EagleWith Lakes Keowee, Jocassee, and Hartwell we have some great large bodies of water that are ideal for big boats and big activities like the Bassmaster Classic and the Death Valley open water swim, but nestled close to us is my favorite, Lake Robinson! Want to fish, want to spend an afternoon on a paddleboard, want to learn to kayak, want to see nature close-up?  Lake Robinson has it and in a way that many miss.  With the motor horsepower limit, Robinson is a safe place not only to learn, but to try out those new skills or new equipment or get closer to nature than you would ever imagine.  I have seen Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Kingfishers, Swallows, and Egret.  In mid-May this year I was only about 20 feet from a feeding immature Bald Eagle. There are beavers and fox and a fawn laying in the water a few feet from my kayak waiting patiently for mom to show up and lead the way back into the brush along the water’s edge. The kayak allows for a virtually silent approach that, if practiced, yields remarkable results. Where else but Lake Robinson?

Gorgeous iris on lake edgeI spend many days on the lake.  In June we teach basic kayaking through the Osher program sponsored by Furman University. Lake Robinson is ideal for this since there are many protected coves and lots of places to practice strokes and safety procedures. The early morning sessions allow for lots of wildlife viewing while learning so it encourages students to explore the lake side of the environment.  While you can hike to see birds and wildlife, I have found it easier from the water. Animals are used to human encounters on land and have adapted by hiding or moving away before you can experience them.  Wildlife is less exposed to us from the water side and often will let you get unbelievably close.

Robinson’s undeveloped stretches have also allowed for all wildlife to flourish, not just animals, there are gorgeous iris in May and early June and great stands of Ironweed in the fall that are very difficult to see from the land side, but right at your fingertips from the water.

When not viewing nature, I have spent time catching up with friends and making new contacts. What better way to exercise and experience that “Ahhhh” of getting outside. Lake paddlers are a friendly bunch and like to share skills as well as where to see wildlife or fishing spots. Whether a recreational boat, an inflatable, or a touring kayak Robinson is as welcoming as the people who have come to view it as their water destination.

A recent New York Times article does a great job summarizing the best way to paddle as well as the health benefits of kayaking. Kayaking is a great core and upper body exercise. When done properly, you can go very quickly and for great distances without tiring your arms. I have a great hour and a half workout on Robinson by paddling from the landing to the upper pool and back or a less demanding time touring the many inlets.

So, get in a kayak, either yours or borrow one from one of the local shops around the Lake or from others in the area. (A note here – I recommend you always have a lifejacket on and a whistle handy!) The rewards are numerous. I hope to see you on the Lake!

Photo of Charlie Ennis Former ARC Canoeing and Water Safety InstructorCharlie EnnisFormer ARC Canoeing and Water Safety Instructor
Certified ACA Kayak trip Leader
Furman OLLI Kayaking Instructor




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