by Crystal Cockman
A couple of weeks ago, a few friends and I decided to paddle at a new location – Lake Reese in Asheboro. I’d been here to bank fish previously, but I had never paddled here before, so it was a new experience. Actually, none of us who went had ever paddled here before, so we did not know exactly what to expect. But we were excited to try it out, and it did not disappoint.
When you arrive at Lake Reese, which is located at 4850 Jackson Creek Rd, Denton NC 27239, you see a beautiful, serene lake with a forested buffer in all directions. You have to stop off at the manager’s office and pay a daily launch fee of $3.50. If you’re a city resident with a rec card, the fee is only $2.50. Hours of operation from March 1 to November 15 are 7:00am until sunset Wednesday through Sunday. November 16 to the end of February they are open 8:00am to 5:00pm on Friday through Sunday.
This paddle was after work for us, so we got there around 5:30pm and we had to be off the water by 8:15pm, so we were limited in how far we could go. We started out exploring coves as we went, but there quickly were too many of those to explore them all. You could easily spend a whole day out here venturing around in them. We saw buttonbush in bloom, along with the nonnative mimosa, and sourwood trees. One of my friends spotted several deer around the first cove, but they scampered off before I got there.
A dam located near the parking area on the Uwharrie River forms this lake. South of here the Uwharrie is free flowing all the way to the Yadkin-Pee Dee River. It is the spot at which the Uwharrie hits the Yadkin that it becomes the Pee Dee. I’ve paddled every stretch of the Uwharrie except for south of this dam to Waynick Meadow Road. Thanks to a new acquisition by The LandTrust for Central NC, there is the ability to have an access point on Highway 49, though no formal plans are in place for its construction yet.
There were about three houses on the lake as far as we went, but other than that it was forested buffer, mostly in hardwood trees. We paddled to where the lake opened up wide and there were several options of where to go next, but we were about out of time so we had to turn around and go back. I could see it would be easily possible to get turned around with all the coves and choices of ways to go, so I think I’ll bring my GPS with me the next time I come.
On the way back, we saw the yellow flowers of Saint John’s wort in bloom on the far bank. In one spot, we found a blooming swamp milkweed. These flowers with pink blooms are important host plants for monarch caterpillars. The lake is shallow around the edges, so I wasn’t able to get in close enough for a very good photo of the flowers. I’ll have to go back again sometime when I have more time to get out and explore.
If you are looking for a good flat water location for a paddle, after my first experience there I would certainly recommend Lake Reese. Larger boats with motors are allowed here, but they are limited to 25 miles per hour. There weren’t any around when we paddled, so going in the middle of the week in the evening is a good time. There’s plenty to see in terms of wildlife and plants, and it’s not too far a drive from Montgomery County. Consider checking out Lake Reese for your next kayaking adventure.