Friday, June 1, 2007

CHILLHOWIE LAKE AND A "BOARING" DAY

Today would normally be a Big Red day but she's in the hospital so I decided to cruise Chillhowie Lake in search of a great camp spot. I'm not even sure it is permissible to camp on that lake as it is in such close proximity to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I think its alright. I leave no traces from my campsites anyway. I noticed a spot from the lake where a divide might exist between two foothills and headed over to see what I could find out. As the boat drew closer to the two hills a cove entrance appeared. It was narrow and appeared interesting enough to investigate. If only the water depth would hold. The boat entered and the water depth held until I touched bottom with the boat in one foot of water. The nose of the boat was on dry land. Great! Ahead lay a very shaded flat area that was raised above the water level at least two feet. Huge boulders were present with plenty of tent spaces. The overhanging foliage would hide the boat even in the daytime. Perfect. I tied the boat off and Douglas, the world famous adventurous Golden Retriever, and I disembarked to walk up a deserted logging path to the right side of the potential camp area. The path gained altitude very quickly. The views to the left were beautiful because there was a little stream that meandered among large boulders there. It would disappear and reappear among the rocks and trees. We kept climbing. I noticed the dried leaves along the path were turned over as if turkeys had scratched through them as turkeys do. If it were turkeys, it was a lot of them because they scratched leaves clear into the forest on both sides of the path for twenty or thirty feet. Douglas and I rounded a ninety degree turn to the left when we both stopped in amazement. There, not twenty feet ahead, stood two wild Boar's routing along the trail. Black as coal. They did not immediately hear us walking. They twisted around to face us in an instant. Low grunts from the larger Boar made the hair on my neck stand up. I grabbed Douglas's collar in an instant to hold him. Funny thing; he wasn't pulling at all. But I wanted to take no chances. They would kill him surely if they could. Both Boar stared at Douglas for a count of one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. Then they turned in a flash and bolted away through the brush. Their black backs would appear and disappear from time to time as they would come out of the thick shrub and cross a short opening in the forest. They could be heard crashing through the woods for the next five minutes. They ran directly away from us and turned up hill a hundred feet away. We could hear them until they went completely over the top and down the other side. I still held Douglas by the collar and turned back down the path toward the boat. He would turn his head a couple time to look back over his shoulders and then he let it all go and became calm and compliant. At the boat, he swam in the cool mountain water. I untied the boat and called "Douglas; Come!) He instantly swam to the boat and lept in to take his place on the point. I took only Douglas today because I wanted "one on one" time with him. Happy stayed home. Its funny how things work. If I had taken Happy; the whole scenerio would have been very different. I could not have grabbed both dogs by their collars at once and the Boar is not afraid to exert lethal energy in his defense. What a day! Pictures of this were impossible because I had my hands full with Douglas and only a short time to access the situation. Pigs are faster then either Douglas or myself. Camera's were not at the top of my list of things to worry about. Now if Happy were along, we may have never had the encounter. She is a Yippie Yappie little thing when playing. Today is just another memory............ This sign is located on the opposite side of the lake from where Route 129 runs. It is the reason the land here is pristine and without litter. There are no beer cans and soda cans strewing the countryside. There are no McDonald food bags and associated french fry containers laying about everywhere. All that stuff is on the Route 129 side of the lake where road pull offs are located for tourists.
The camping spot I have been looking for lies directly between those two hills ahead. There is a cove there that leads to a beautiful shaded flat area that starts ascending after a two hundred foot walk away from the lake. The area is in a photo directly below. I must do an overnighter here. I hope Wild Boars sleep at night.
This is the camping area I have been looking for. The lake to the immediate left has ideal docking possibilities. And the land is flat with beautiful rock formations in the cliff sides. Great place. I took this snap shot from the old deserted logging path that Douglas and I walked onto the two Boars.
There are many lakes in Tennessee but none more primitive looking than Chillhowie
I love to just creep along beside the lake banks. There are so many things to see. Snakes, turtles, birds, deer among just a few. It is shaded here and many of the daytime creatures are active under the shade of the foliage
This is the view one has when coming down Abrams Creek toward the main lake. Ahead is the overpass for route 129.
This little deserted boat ramp is closed down. I don't know why because it is a perfect little creation and blends well with the scenery. No one seems to ever go here. The ramp has a gate closed at the top of it and can not be used. There is a little floating dock that is of great quality and construction. The only one I have ever seen here is a TWRA Officer and that was last year.