Lake Wildwood Flyover: August 18, 2001
(Posted August 21, 2001 © Herbert E. Lindberg)

Craig and two of his communication chip designer compatriots flew in for the weekend. After landing at the Nevada County Airport in Grass Valley, friend Dave took me up to fly over Lake Wildwood and take pictures with a 3.3 meg camera (vs. my old 0.8 meg camera). Unfortunately, not only was there smoke in the air from the nearby Emigrant Gap fire that had been blazing for days, a new fire had started the day before (Friday) near Colfax, not far from the airport and LWW (dubbed the Ponderosa fire). During the entire weekend CDF (California Division of Forestry) planes were taking off and landing every few minutes as they carried fire retardant to this fire. It was a very busy airport.

Ponderosa fire smoke billows behind airport terminal

With this caveat, I show the first picture culled from the many shots taken while the plane bumped and my camera shook. (All the pictures have been reduced to 42% size (18% area) to speed downloading and allow display on your screen with little or no scrolling. If you have need for a full-size picture, send a note to Type address in this graphic.

The green patch with sand at the shore at the end of the slalom course bay is Meadow Park and beach. At the end of the east-most bay (upper right in the picture) is Hideaway Park and beach. The strip of water winding up and right from the end of this bay is Deer Creek, the main source of water for the lake. This is the same creek that winds through Nevada City.

The colors in the following pictures are not completely true because I had to do heavy editing in order to "see through" the smoke haze.

East end of Lake Wildwood, looking northeast. From lower left to upper right are
the main lake and a neck connecting to the slalom course bay and finally the bay from Deer Creek.

Below is a closer view of the same end of the lake, looking southeast. If you look closely at the section of lake above the connecting neck and about a third way across the picture from the right edge, you can see a single house visible among the trees before the shoreline steps back about the length of a house lot. If you strain your eyes, you can see a dock at the shoreline for this house, and even a speck of green to the left of the dock. These are our house, dock, and patio boat parked at the dock. The objective of the picture is not to show you these things, but to show the setting in which the house stands.

Neck connecting slalom bay (left) Hideaway Park bay (top) and main lake (right and bottom).

Below is a crop-in of our house and dock, in case you have difficulty spotting it in the reduced-size full photograph above. At this full-size resolution you can see our beach to the right of the dock and the walkway from the house to the patio and shore facilities.

Full-size crop-in to our home.

Below is an overview of the rest of the lake (main body and west end), looking southwest. The heavy smoke in the sky is apparent. I had to jack up the contrast and equalization on all these pictures to bring out some detail.

Main body of Lake Wildwood; slalom course at lower left and leg to Lake Wildwood Creek at top.

The picture below of the east portion of the lake shows many of the main activity areas. The dam across Deer Creek that forms Lake Wildwood is just above the center at the left border of the picture. The spillway is the dark horseshoe and the bridge over it is on Pleasant Valley Road. Up and to the right of this road are the upper four tennis courts and parking lot.

The grassy area on the lake shore to the right of the tennis courts is Commodore Park. The Greene mansion forms the left boundary of the park. To the right of the grass and trees is the Marina, above which is the baseball field and another two tennis courts. The largest beach on the lake is to the right of the Marina, and is also part of Commodore Park.

East portion of Lake Wildwood's main body, looking roughly north.

The peninsula at the bottom of the picture contains Vista Park (the central protrusion, covered with trees) and what I call Mansion Point (the right protrusion). The brown cast to the right half of Mansion Point is our latest mansion under construction. The island to the left of the peninsula is Explorer Island, just above Explorer Park and beach. It was about noon on Saturday so there are many boats on the lake; I count ten in this picture.

You can see many of these Lake Wildwood features from a different viewpoint by going back and reviewing the previous picture. Perhaps in the future I can take sky views of the lake on a day without smoke.

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