Kayaking and Picnicking at Lake Russell

Lake Russell is a small 100-acre lake in Mt. Airy, Ga. It’s one of my favorite places, especially in cooler months. There’s several quality trails to hike – the lake loop trail is one of my favorites – and the lake itself is great for playing around in our Hobies.

A Couple of the many waterbird houses found around Lake Russell
A Couple of the many waterbird houses found around Lake Russell

Being only 100 acres, Lake Russell is probably the smallest body of water that we take our kayaks out on. Using our Mirage peddle drives, we can kayak around the entire lake shore in 2 hours. But, there are no gas-powered engines allowed, so no large boats. No drunk folks blasting their preferred party music that is always awful when you’re just trying to chill and take in the scenery. It’s just you, your kayak, and occasionally a retiree fishing from his trolling motor-powered john boat.

Me in my Happy Place

So peaceful.

This past Thursday, Greg and I went on such a kayaking excursion at Lake Russell. It was the first cool day after a long heatwave.

We peddled around the lake for about an hour, popped out near the swimming beach area (which was abandoned on a Thursday morning), and grilled us up a couple of hotdogs for an early lunch. Afterwards, we kayaked around for about another hour, picking up where we left off from the shoreline, and headed back in.

It was an amazing a peaceful day. I am grateful for this little slice of heaven so close to home.

Teeny island on a sunken tree
Lunch Break!

Lake Russell Lady Slipper Trail (ish) Hike

Lake Russell Recreational Area in Mt. Airy, Georgia is a hidden gem, especially in the off season. The trails are quiet and isolated. And even during the months when the park is fully open, the beach area and campgrounds might be crowded, but the trails typically remain little traveled.

One of our favorite trails is the Lake Loop that, you guessed it, circles around the lake. This past weekend, however, we went on one of the other trails – the Lady Slipper Trail.

The Lady Slipper Trail starts off with a steady uphill climb for about a mile. Once you hit the top of the ridge, you merge into an old forest road. The official trail turns left, heading northeast. Greg and I eyed each other, and turned right, heading down the road going southwest into an area of the park we haven’t explored. We did about 3/4 of a mile, reaching the end of the road and going a bit further (a smaller trail continued beyond the end of the road) along the ridge through a pine forest. We would have kept going deeper into the woods, except we came across a hunter and didn’t want to disturb him or his dogs. So, we turned around and headed back.

Wanting to at least go for 5 miles, we hiked beyond where the trail enters the road and continued northeast and veered off onto the Lady Slipper Trail once more, where it departs the road and heads down a hillside. Instead of doing the loop though, we went for distance and then turned around to head back to where we parked.

On our way back, we actually met up with the hunter that we saw at a distance in the woods and exchanged apologies and pleasantries. He had two small hunting dogs with him that were adorable and friendly. Scotch and Beans behaved themselves and everyone had a good sniff. We also met a couple groups of mountain bikers on the return journey – making this the busiest we have ever seen this trail before.

The Lady Slipper Trail is a multipurpose trail. You can hike, bike, or horseback ride on it, so I’m really surprised we haven’t seen a lot more folks on it before.

The day was beautiful and the dogs enjoyed getting to stretch their stubby little legs. It’s been great getting out and hiking more again. I can feel my heart recovering from my last mystery illness flair up, and with each hike, I can feel my body getting stronger and more resilient. Being outside again makes my soul happy.

I am grateful for the abundant outdoor beauty that exists so close to where I live.