Calico Rock on Philpott Lake

It is a cold, blustery day in Virginia this Saturday. It is my busy season, so I’ve worked every weekend this month. God has, for reasons of His own, taken to giving us winter storms on the weekends so I couldn’t really go out anyway. It looks like this right now, leaving me to remember warmer days.

I know others have it much worse today, but that is not really any comfort.

Snow in the Back Yard

As it happens, I had this post sitting in my drafts file. It is from my last kayaking trip for 2021. Henry County has many excellent programs for people over 50 and one of them is kayaking. Once a month, folks from the county office will take a group out on area lakes and rivers. In October, we went to see Calico Rock on Philpott Lake.

Calico Rock is, well, a little underwhelming. That is why this post was sitting in drafts in the first place. However, all things are relative and, right now, it is breathtaking to me. I feel extremely fortunate to live in a place where I can throw a kayak on top of my car (it actually takes me about 45 minutes to do that) and get out on the water.

Ryans Branch Boat Launch

I get the impression that Ryans Branch boat launch is not well known, even to locals. The ladies at the church didn’t know where it was and my cursory glimpse at Google Maps suggested that it was much further north. It turned out to be just a few minutes north of Fairy Stone Lake.

Ryans Branch Boat Launch

This trip was in late October and the leaves were still working on turning. The weather alternated between sunny and cloudy while we were out. When the sun came out, the leaves just seemed to snap with color … and then another cloud would come by.

Ryans Branch Boat Launch

To get to Calico Rock from the Ryans Branch launch, you turn right and go under the bridge. At the time of this trip, Google Maps had Calico Rock on the other side of the lake. It’s not. Trust me. Turn right and go under the bridge.

Turn Right and Go Under the Bridge

Then you just hug the shoreline. There are no turns needed. It is quite a ways back.

Hugging the Shoreline
More Shoreline Hugging

You’ll know that you are getting close when you see a house on the hill.

Approaching Calico Rock

So, Calico Rock is – unless the fellow from the county was pulling our leg – really just a kind of rock face. I’m not really sure what I was expecting.

Calico Rock

There is something to be said for scale though. The voice in the back of my head that thinks it knows obscure words keeps yelling “escarpment”. Is it? I don’t really know.

Calico Rock Up Close

So, that was Calico Rock. You may be able to see why it stayed in drafts for the past three months. Now, in the dead of winter, you may enjoy it as I do … as proof of fun activities in better weather.

There are other sites to see from Ryans Launch, although I don’t know how you would see Blue Falls without scuba gear. According to the plaque, it is an “historic feature deep under the waters of the lake”. That leaves Emberson Falls. That sounds like a trip for 2022.

More Adventuring Ideas

I hope everyone out there is safe and snug and, if not enjoying the winter weather, persisting.

In a few weeks, the forsythia will bloom. In less than six weeks, the leaves should start at least nubbing out on the trees. Winter, like all trying times, will pass.

Published by

Beth Barton

I am nobody in particular. Just an average nut and crazy cat lady trying to keep it all together. I am blogging to keep myself entertained and share my area with friends, family, and anyone who might be interested. I believe in always trying to find the positive and supporting the local area and local businesses in the process.

5 thoughts on “Calico Rock on Philpott Lake”

  1. My kayaking days are over due to age but I remember well paddling out from Ryan’s Branch so many times, each one special. This was when a stand-alone, hand held GPS was required to navigate, and before smart phones took over that role. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I am already looking forward to what lies ahead when the weather warms up. I hope to post many, many more. 🙂 Suggestions are welcome. So far, I’m looking at the National D-Day Memorial, a Virginia Dare SML cruise, Roanoke Center on the Square and Hanging Rock. I hear that there are four or five waterfalls at Hanging Rock.

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  2. It is sunny and in the 60s here today, but I enjoyed this post anyway! It makes me think (every time) of trying kayaking. I have thought about it often since moving here, as it is quite popular and we have so many narrow little rivers that are useful. Maybe this is the year I will give it a try!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I hope you do try it! We have several ladies who will kayak local lakes and stay away from the rivers but rivers can be so much fun! I don’t know what you have where you are, but where there is a navigable river, there is generally an outfitter that can set you up with a kayak and a shuttle for less than $50 for the day.

      Liked by 1 person

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