Thursday, January 11, 2007

ABRAMS CREEK AND (DOUGLAS)

Actually, this blog entry is more about Douglas. I can't help it. I loaded up Douglas and Happy, a little mix whatchamacallit, and drove to Chillhowie Dam. We were heading for Abrams Creek. It can be reached by roads but I prefer going by lake. Once launched, we head upstream until we come to the overpass on 129 South. I then turn the boat toward the bridge and drive through the supports and continue up this water spur. The water has good depth and there is no danger of the prop touching rock. We soon come to a "Y". To the right lies Panther Creek. I have tried to boat up this pretty creek but soon ran out of water deep enough to continue in my boat. We now go left. This is called Abrams Creek. The waterway is deep and remains so as we drive through a beautiful gorge. The river banks go straight up on both sides and are heavily forested. Rhododendron is plentiful as well as green Brier and huge round boulder. As we continue at full slow, the bottom becomes visable. Enormous round boulders make up the bottom of this water bed. The banks now close in and ahead lies the mouth of a stream that dissappears into the mountain. This is what we came for. We will hike this stream. I pulled the boat over to the left side of the river and beached it against a tree. We dissembarked and were on our way. It was soon obvious we should have beached on the opposite side as this side was strewn with boulders and heavy with rhododeendron bushes. And hilly. Did I say hilly? Douglas instantly took off running with Happy at his heals but douglas soon outdistanced the smaller pup. I saw Douglas again through a clear area on the mountain side running full out. His long golden body stretched out full and his powerful legs thrusting him forward. I was amazed! This was a near verticle cliff I was watching him run on and he negotiated it as if it were level. I could see his shoulder blades push up on his back at each thrust with his front legs. As I watched him fly I imagined I could hear his great lungs gathering air and the tremendous exhale he must accomplish before the next huge intake of air. If wind could be seen, it would be Douglas today and the wind would be golden in color. But above all, he is having fun. And that is what today is all about. Him!
The water of Abrams Creek is crystal clear. I mean clear! The cold water rolls over and around smooth rock and one would think it is well oxyginated. Great news for trout! Rocks that appear to be twelve inches under the surface are really four feet under. One must be careful especially if wading.
This view is only a short hike, climb, struggle from where my boat is beached at the stream's mouth. It is a tease. The stream is beautiful. The right side is the side we should be hiking as it is less inclined to go verticle. But then, Douglas and I usually choose the more difficult endeavors on our outings.
Its great to watch the water rolling around the smooth rocks. It seeks the path of least resistance and in doing so creates music that is harmonious with all that is natural. A billion stream sounds creating satisfying music to match any modern orchestra. Very gratifying indeed.
I know this look. He is impoloring me to hurry along so we can get to the next curve in the trail. What trail? Thats whats taking me so long. There is no trail. But at least he waits up for me.
Like two mountain climbers they wait for me. I am slow and methodical as I lumber up the side of the hill clinging from branch to branch and carefully planting my feet on the slippery rocks and soil. They rocket to anyplace they desire in an instant.
Abrams Creek is a fast moving creek with long slow pools. I can almost see the trout laying beside the rocks that are visible on the bottom.
They finally slow down from hard play and hiking for a rest in the cool (cold) water of Abrams Creek
This picture does not do him justice. Douglas has the ability to climb nearly vertical at top speed. He knows no fear it seems. His footing is so certain! He never slips. He has blasted along perilous drop offs at top speed as sure footed as a mountain goat.
I warned you this was more about Douglas than Abrams Creek. Here he is in his element. And he is very fast in water.
Douglas has just retrieved this stick I threw in the creek and he is tossing it up in the air and catching it. He is adorable!
Nothing like a stick for these two hero's to tug on. Its neat to see that Douglas lets Happy win, to an extent, just to keep her interested in the game
This is Douglas blasting back toward me from the stream. Happy is not far behind and will soon overtake him.
Douglas is quick but Happy is lightning on four feet.
Douglas and Happy in the middle of one of their happy laps. These two have become best friends. An unlikely pair but they have become almost inseparable.
The boat is still there and we're out of here