RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Robert Covington calls it his safe haven.
“It feels great man! The most relaxing place you can ever be,” he said smiling.
Covington spent Friday evening on Falls Lake in his kayak. It’s the first time he’s done this in more than a year.
“I’ve done had three PT scans. Two CT scans. I did 12 weeks of chemo radiation,” he said.
Covington beat cancer in the time that he was away from the lake. He said he’s happy, but also careful.
“Well, you always wear your life vest. That’s the most important thing. I try not to be too close to boats,” Covington said.
Dawn Taylor and her family rented a boat Friday. She said they also kept safety in mind.
“So, everyone had on a life vest while were out on the water the whole time,” said Taylor.
As the weather warms up, Crystal Lloyd, park superintendent at Falls Lake State Recreation Area, expects the trails, campsites and lakes to be busy.
She said it should be especially busy this weekend with the summer-like weather.
“So, last year at Falls Lake we were the third most visited state park for 2021. We almost had 1.5 million visitors and that was a huge increase in our visitation,” Lloyd said.
She said it’s important to make sure you’re hydrated and sober behind the wheel of a boat.
Lloyd also said it’s important to wear a life jacket in the water and on the boat.
“We are the ones that have to recover the bodies and then we are the ones that have to go tell the family. We’ve had a lot of drownings in the last few years with the increased visitation. So, it takes a toll on park staff here,” Lloyd explained.
With precautions in mind, Taylor hopes places like Falls Lake can be a safe haven for her family too.
“Just really trying to spend time with family because we missed out on a lot the last couple of years for sure,” Taylor said.
Keep in mind that parking at Falls Lake will probably fill up quickly on weekends.
Also, Lloyd said if you don’t have a life jacket there are free ones available at swimming areas.