Loyston Point (or Point 19)
Labor Day, Sophie and I decided to hike to Point 19 on Norris Lake. Norris Lake was formed in the 1930s when TVA constructed the Norris Dam on the Clinch River to control flooding and generate power. The dam is a straight gravity-type dam 1860 feet long and 265 feet high. It has a maximum generating capacity of 126 megawatts.
I have many great memories of Point 19. When I left the military. I fell in with a group of guys from Clinton, Tennessee, and we would fish off the point, swim, camp, sometimes have bonfires and drink a few beers.
Back then, when the lake level was down, we could drive around the shoreline to the point if you had 4-wheel drive. Sometimes, I would hike it on foot. Had to watch out for copperhead snakes, though. Or, you could park at a gate and walk in on an old, partially graveled road. This trip, Sophie and I opted for the latter.
It is about 1.5 miles to the point via the old road. When I was younger, I hiked it several times, carrying a cooler full of ice and beer. Not sure I would want to do that now. We met one couple who were on the way back out. The had given up before reaching the point.
Sophie stopped to sample some of the vegetation on the way in. I guess she is somewhat of a survivalist.
I was amazed at how high the water level was. I remember it varies a great deal depending on the amount of rainfall in a given period, but often it was a good twenty or thirty feet from this ledge to the water below. There used to be an old rope attached to that old tree that we would swing out on. Sometimes it was a long time before you hit the water.
The water level was up in the trees on the other side of the point.
The town of Loyston
Over to the left in this picture sits what was once the town of Loyston. The inhabitants had all evacuated when the dam was built. While I have never personally seen it, I have been told that during dry seasons, when the lake gets really low, you can sometimes see the tops of old grain silos sticking out of the water. It is usually pretty deep. Right off the ledge where we would jump, I have been told it averages about 400 feet. Rumor has it that back in the day, stolen cars, once they had been stripped of anything useful, were pushed off the ledge never to be recovered. Could be just a local legend, though, who knows?
Sophie didn’t care about any of this though. She was just having a blast rescuing the sticks I threw into the lake from the ledge!
While I didn’t get any pictures, I was amazed by the number of boats of all shapes and sizes that sailed on past us with Trump 2020 flags on them. Most of them waved as they went by.
I couldn’t help but think how good it felt to be home … back in East Tennessee!
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