Lake Lanier, Part 2

Let’s head back to the lake one more time. When I last posted, I left you on the shore at Mary Alice Park, with a Harley rider gazing across Lake Lanier. I left the park ahead of him, but he passed me a short bit later as I’d stopped by the side of the road for another picture.

All around Lake Lanier people with lakefront property have built floating docks, some of them with large boathouses on them. These are some of the smaller variety.

Floating Docks

As you can probably realize, they’re used to having a a lot more water underneath those docks — probably about 14-15 feet in this little cove.

lakelanierbeach.jpgMy next stop was West Bank Park, right next to the dam itself. There’s a nice little beach there, amongst the picnic areas and walking trails. The beach is usually about 100 feet of sand, then about as much room until the swimmers reach a set of depth markers and a rope with floating orange markers marking the point beyond which they shouldn’t go.

I was able to find a picture of the beach in better years on a US Army Corps of Engineers park schedule site; near the left side you can see one of the wooden posts that has the depth marking signs on it. The rope and orange markers are off the bottom of the frame.

Lake Lanier Beach, with water (and swimmers)

Here’s a view of the beach as it exists today, taken from the cove to the east.

Buford Dam Beach, Lake Lanier

If you look closely you can see the orange markers, on their rope, laying on the ground about halfway to the water’s edge. Here’s a closer look, this time from the beach.

No Swimming Today

I walked down to the edge of the water and when I looked back, the orange markers — laying on the ground like ripe pumpkins — were all above my head.

Nobody was swimming.

Lake Lanier

Here in the southeastern corner of the U.S., we’ve had beautiful weather for the past year or so. Beautiful for people who enjoy doing things outdoors — from sports and camping to picnics and walking the dog. Sunshine and little-to-no precipitation.

The downside to all that sunshine and lack of precipitation is… the lack of precipitation. Plants need water, businesses need water, and of course people need water. For the Atlanta area, most of that water comes from Lake Lanier — or it’s supposed to. Families and businesses using water, the lake not being refilled by rainfall — well, you can figure out the problem. There are also politics involved, of course, as some large quantity of water’s pumped from Lanier to Florida and Alabama communities, as well as environmental issues.

Anyway… every day we hear news reports about the water shortage, about ways to conserve and what restrictions are in place (there’s been no washing of cars or watering of plants in many months).

It didn’t really “come alive” though until I actually saw a dry lake bed. Here’s a cruddy cameraphone picture of Lake Ackworth. There’s a tiny creek in the middle, but looks like you could easily walk from one side of the lake to another.

But hey, Ackworth’s a pretty small lake. What’s Lake Lanier really looking like these days?

Lake LanierTake a look at Mary Alice Park, a 12-acre peninsula on the western shore of Lake Lanier about three miles northwest of Buford Dam and two miles east of Cumming. Notice the sandbar and how far it is from the shore — it’s normally separated from the land by almost 200 yards (182m) of water. I’m not sure when this satellite picture was taken, but it wasn’t this summer.

Here’s what it looks like today. This photo is taken from the shoreline, looking to the east toward that sandbar with the small tree.

Sandbar on Lake Lanier

Here’s a view from the sandbar — yes, I walked out there — looking back toward the boat ramps and docks

Boat Ramp & Docks

Speaking of the boat ramps, they don’t even reach the edge of the water these days.

Boat Ramps

I’ll leave you with one final picture from Mary Alice Park. I wasn’t the only person out enjoying the day; this guy and I kept passing each other as we wandered from park to park looking at the lake.

A Ride Around the Lake

[later, Part 2]

Fun in the Football Stands

As much as I enjoy High School football games, and moreso the Marching Band performances, the real fun is watching the kids getting goofy in the stands.

Fun in the Stands

Sometimes it’s easy to forget there’s even a game being played on the field.

Fun in the Stands

Good times. (Oh, and Milton did win last night against Alpharetta, 16-10)

Scarecrows and High Cotton in Alpharetta

Alpharetta’s Scarecrow Harvest was capped off this morning with a festive family celebration, including face painting, rides in a horse-drawn carriage, goods from local farmers & artisans, and live music provided by High Cotton.

Face Painting
There are a few more pictures over on the flickr site.

High Cotton

At noon, the mayor and city council members took over the stage and presented awards for the scarecrows, and I’m proud to say that the first graders’ entry from King’s Ridge won a Honorable Mention in the category of Best Personality. Great job!

Alpharetta Scarecrows

Each year Alpharetta invites classes in local schools to create scarecrows to decorate Main Street, the Scarecrow Harvest. This is the entry from Hilary’s first grade class at King’s Ridge.

KR's Scarecrow

He’s a mixture of the Cowardly Lion (head), Scarecrow (torso and arms) and Tin Man (legs) from the L. Frank Baum’s classic story, The Wizard of Oz.

Marching Season Once Again

It’s football — and Marching Band — season once again, which means my Friday nights are pretty booked… hanging out in the stands with the kids, then roaming the sidelines, all workin’ to capture the moments of youth. It’s a lot of fun for me.

This past Friday’s game at Milton started in the rain, so our kids went with a somewhat less-formal “uniform” than normal. It was also the annual 8th-grade night, bringing next year’s potential freshman band members in for a night of fun.

Saturday was much drier, which was a good thing because the band was headed to the Fulton County Marching Band Exhibition, the first time the show’s really been put on public display in front of adjudicators.

Snare Line

For the second year in a row members of the band are elevated, playing on top of the props. Fun times!

A 9-11 Rememberance


Of course I knew what day today was, but the emotion didn’t really hit me until I stopped by the school.


One of the Milton High School’s young ladies, as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project, ‘planted’ 3000 flags and worked to have kids in the school write letters to soldiers expressing their feelings and support.

Throughout the evening I saw many people come to the school, park, and walk over to the displays. Many took pictures, all spent time obviously deep in thought and memories.



Monday Morning Excitement

My wife and I awoke with a start at about 3 this morning, and my son immediately came running down the hall asking if we’d heard a noise. We most certainly had, though I wasn’t sure if it was just part of a dream until he asked. This was no dream. We checked around and didn’t see anything, but a few minutes later we heard it again; definately gunshots.

A short while later we heard a man’s voice, muffled through the windows to the point of not being understandable. I opened a second-floor window and listened for a bit. It was an official-sounding voice on a Public Address system, so we went back out to see what was up. Several houses away we could see a police car. Alpharetta PoliceThe officer was shining his spotlight into yards, looking for something or someone, then he got back on the PA.

“Come out with your hands up, we will get you the medical attention you need. Continuing this will only make things worse.”

Needless to say, we sprinted back in the house, bolted the doors and didn’t stick our heads out again!

About 6am an officer knocked on the door and told us that we weren’t going anywhere. “There’s a situation down there and the road’s closed. Nobody’s to leave their house, we’ll let you know when you can leave.”

All’s well that ends well, and within the hour they were back, giving the all-clear. I checked with the officer making the rounds and there were no injuries, which is good news. As we headed out to work and school we passed a large number of officers, S.W.A.T. team members, vehicles, etc. There wasn’t anything on the news for a while, but eventually some information was released.

A police spokesman said when officers tried to arrest Garnett, he resisted arrest and slammed the front door. According to officers, Garnett then yelled to his wife “Go get my gun.”
CBS News 46 (they may have the guy’s name wrong, or perhaps our 7 year old neighborhood roster is incorrect)

Just a couple of months ago we’d had a couple of officers visit during our yearly neighborhood block party, to introduce themselves and give us updated information about the Neighborhood Watch program and our participation. We all — neighbors and officers both — commented on how quiet our neighborhood was, the officers even said that in their ~10 years on patrol they’d never gotten a call here. That’s certainly changed now.