Saturday, February 21, 2009


click photo to enlarge Snatched away from the certainty of death by agonizing starvation and freezing temperatures to
The face says it all
Julia is a senior dog and she is available for adoption. This sweet, loving, old hound would be a dedicated friend and companion to a caring person. Her demeanor is gentle and easy. And she is house trained. Older dogs make wonderful companions. They are not hyper active and are gentle and easy. Julia deserves peace, love and guidance in her remaining time. She has so very much to offer to a special someone. Please consider her. Until that special someone appears; she will be with, and cared for by me. It is my privilege.


click the photo's to enlarge The trees that line the shoreline of the lake create a shadowed world under their branches. A perceived motion caught with peripheral vision causes one to snap the head in that direction and scan the darkened brush and bushes for the outline of some animal. I watched closely as the golden form moved silently through and over the undergrowth at speed. Not a sound. He appeared running from my left; arching his body up and over a fallen log without a moments hesitation and passed thirty yards in front of me. He was silhouetted by the lake on his left and trees between us which prevented full view of him; only glances as he vaulted by. And still not a sound. He was at that moment a golden ribbon, bending over and around the natural obsticals that confronted him. He is gorgeous in the wild elements. My heart hurts to know he is lying on the floor day and night while I work just waiting for these few hours of bliss out here. I do what I can. But he is magnificent today. Shade, on the other hand, is like a freight train moving through the brush and down the trails. Where Douglas seems to make decisions about things that resemble thought processes; of course it isn't so. Shade seems to simply react to problems and crashes through the issues with, so far, ogreat success. Douglass choices are more logical. Is it a breed thing? I don't know. Goldens are smart. Black Labs are too. Between Shade and Douglas I believe the cards are stacked in Douglass favor. Shade is smart, but chooses to ignore commands at times and leaves an impression of "no one home upstairs." But how quickly she listens when a dog bone is presented as prize for obedience! Who can figure dogs? There are no perfect dogs. There are no perfect anything, for that matter. But these two compliment each other and are companions. They make each other happy and they make me happy. When it comes to energy there's nothing as fast as Lightning Sigh. Shes an old hound with bullet speed and energy enough to go around to ten wolf puppies. Well, I exaggerate a little bit. OK; a whole lot. Old Sigh is a rescue dog from years ago. She almost died of starvation. But care and good food brought her back. Now she is an overweight hound dog that is content laying about the yard in the sun. Sigh loves these hikes in the woods and will on occasion join Douglas and Shade for a swim in he lake. She is very old but keeps up with us fine. I will not take her in the heat of summer. She will be content to lay in the shade of the bushes that line the yard. Today we are hiking the East Coast Tellico Lake Trail that borders Tellico Lake on one end. It is a warm fifty degrees but the wind is picking up fast. Rain is supposed to blow in tonight and change to snow tomorrow at some point. I thought it a great time to get the guys out in the woods for exercise. I spent Thursday and Friday satisfying my own glut for adventure by taking the canoe up some unknown streams and investigating the old Alcoa Club House across Chillhowee Lake by canoe. Today was dedicated to the dogs. If one is going to have dogs in ones care then one must act responsible for their well being by assuring they get exercise and the opportunity to satisify their seeking desires. Yes seeking. Dogs are nomadic by nature and they seek things. Food, adventure, new surroundings, new smells as well as old and each walk they go on helps satisify that need. Short walk or long walk. All day or a few hours; dogs don't care. They are masters of the moment. They live for now and they don't care about time. But they do need the experience of diversity in their lives. I try. I am still fascinated by these silos out in the water of Tellico Lake. I have photo's of them on this blog elseware. But they stand alone out in the water as a reminder of what this lake covered up. A peaceful, quiet farm along the banks of the Little Tennessee River had been handed down through generations; now flooded in the name of progress and for the betterment of the majority. I find it interesting. I've got some really super adventures figured out for the motorcycle, gheenoe and the canoe. Three day camp outs using each of them. The weather is starting to mellow and the lake conditions will soon be much better for tent camping. The warmer weather will make all night motorcycling easy. All night driving is the only way to cover a lot of territory when one has a limited amount of time. So, stay tuned in. Summer's just around the corner.

Friday, February 20, 2009


click pictures to enlarge No, there aren't any picture's of country club's on this blog. However; I did hear of one that used to reside across Chillhowee Lake that was owned and operated by the Alcoa Company back in the eighties. For the past four years I have been stopping my boats at a little boat ramp on the upper end of Chillhowee Lake. There has been a chain across the ramp every time I was there. This ramp was located at the end of a strip of land that extended out into the lake. It is a very pretty place. Investigation has uncovered that that boat ramp was actually a ferry landing. I also noticed a concrete wall with a slot about twenty feet wide on the bank across the lake opposite this ferry landing. Just below that wall was the landing for the ferry on that side of the lake. Recently I put the pieces of this puzzle together. Back in the day; this was the Tennessee River before the dam was installed. Alcoa built an elaborate club house across the river where they would entertain wealthy business folks from all over. To the right of the club house was a private trout lake that Alcoa had built for the enjoyment of their guests. This was a first class operation. And an expensive one. Someone must have done the math at some point in the mid eighties because the club house was dynamited into oblivian leaving no trace. The trout lake is still there, and it's beautiful. The concrete wall was built to shore up the wall of the lake (embankment) and provide a spill way. Currently, the waters of Chillhowee flow up and through the wall, but just barely as you can see by the photos. It was a long paddle journey to get to the site, but I had time to veer off the lake and explore an unknown stream. A friend of mine knows the man who actually ran the lodge. The following are his own words written to me about the subject. I have omitted sentenses stating names: The lodge was named Scona Lodge. Pronounced “Secona.” It’s an Indian name meaning “across the river.” The lodge was built in 1933 and closed by Alcoa, in about 1987. It was torn down only about 5 years ago, the furniture, photos, trap shooting guns, etc, all sold at auction. The demolition was a below grade demolition, so that nothing remains. There was an old slate spring house on the property prior to the lodge’s construction; it was left and can be seen today. That swampy area you talk about, with the concrete structure with a gap in the middle big enough for a canoe, was a dam to hold back a trout pond for the guests to fish in. The gap must have let the current flow through. My friend, Harold, built a gate out of hanging chains which kept the trout inside. They could have pushed through or around the chains, but didn’t. The ferry landed below Calderwood Dam, and ran on cables across the lake. Above Calderwood, about “two city blocks above the dam” on the west side, was a dammed up creek called “first creek,” (being the first creek above the dam). That small dam was concrete over earth. It held back the creek, the water being used for a drinking water supply for the lodge and the dam, and a small village. The lodge was four rooms. There were four cottages in addition. Each room was named after a tree species, and was finished in the wood of that species. The walnut room had walnut walls, trim and floors of walnut. The water is crystal clear. This is water from a cold mountain stream. This is a peaceful, rather shallow stream that narrows more and more the further I paddled into the mountain. I went as far as I could go up stream and turned the ship around and got down to serious business. I headed for the main lake. The wind really picked up and started pushing the canoe to the left. It was a new experience to buck against the wind and associated waves. I rounded a bend in the lake and the wind was blocked by the mountain. See how calm the water is in the photo above compared to the picture above it. Eventually the familier little shack appeared with its associated ferry ramp I sharply turned the canoe toward the far bank of the lake and paddled hard toward the concrete wall I spoke of earlier. It was hard to hold the course toward the opening in the concrete. The wind was really difficult to deal with. I could have hit the opening but the wind would have put too much speed to the boat as it was hitting me from the rear driving the canoe forward at a speed I wasn't comfortable with. The lake for the country club lays directly behind that slot. I elected to beach the boat on the shoreline of the lake. The water was so rough; I pulled the canoe entirely out of the water. Above is another shot of the slot in the wall. It would have been fun to shoot through that slot. But if I missed; oh boy! If you look at the bottom of that opening, you'll see a concrete ledge running under the surface of the water. It's only a couple inches under water. I'm glad I beached the boat. The canoe would have hit that hard. The trout lake behind the notch in the concrete is beautiful. I walked along a path that must have guided feet around the club house grounds. This place must have been of fair size. I didn't have time to walk the whole thing. It was getting late and I had a two hour paddle ahead of me in wind. Incidently; there was absolutely no trace of the club house to be found. Amazing! It was time to go. I will return to this place and do a more thorough inspection when it is warmer. 40 degrees in this wind is not really comfortable. Off across the lake I go.


Friday, February 13, 2009


click pictures to enlarge Yes, another canoe day. There is something mystical about moving silently up a quiet stream under ones own power. The canoe glides on and on after each power stroke. The world is silent accept for the natural symphony of sounds created by the finest orchestra on earth. No human could come close to choreographing that sweet natural music. I paddled up Abrams Creek from Chillhowie Resevoir to the "Y" in the channel where Abrams Creek flows toward its headwaters on the left branch of the "Y". Panther creek lay to the right and thats where we went. I have been up Abrams branch previous to this visit and chose panther Creek this visit. The distance from the "Y" to the head of Panther Creek is about a mile. And what a gorgeous mile it is! Rhododendrons line the banks to the water. The creek is only about thirty yards wide at the widest point. Water quality is excellent. As I paddle toward the headwater of this beautiful stream; I am impressed with the clarity of the water. It is crystal clear and fresh off the mountain. As the journey progressed I noticed the bottom and the surface coming closer together. Eventually I could see the stream that was carrying all this crystal clear water to the main channel. As the boulders and rocks on the bottom of the stream became surface obsticles; I felt it prudent to pull the canoe up on shore before contact with a sharp rock could inflict damage. The shore line has a healthy stand of live oak evergreen and what appears to be honey locust trees appearing sporadically here and there. Someday I will own a seventeen foot all wood canoe hand built in the Petersborough style. A Prospector model would be the one. The canoe I have is kevlar and the best money can buy in my opinion. But it lacks one thing. In a time past, canoe's were constructed by hand. The placement of the cedar wood strips along the wooden framework of a canoe was completed by hand. A craftsman would "create" a work of art that was useful, strong and perfect. The eye appeal of a hand made canoe is unequaled by any other canoe. The Kevlar canoe has not tasted the drops of sweat from the face of a skilled canoe maker as he sights along the gunnel to determine if the proper tumblehome for this boat he is making is correct. The kevlar Champlain is light weight and strong. It requires minimum care and will see some heavy use. I guess I just like hand made wooden things. But in my mind a hand made wooden canoe is craftsmanship personified. It is art of the highest order. Canoe's sooth the troubled mind. Paddling a silent cruiser allows one to think out complex solutions to problems. It also promotes one to fantasize. I sometimes feel I am in another time and place. Perhaps the Hudson River in 1754 carefully navigating close to the friendly side of the river constantly on the look out for danger in the form of French militia or worse; Huron Indians. The point is that the mind is relaxed. The body moves with the canoe. The whole experience is the total placement of the human mind in nature. The canoe is simply the vehicle that takes it there in peace and harmony. Maybe I'm a dreamer. Well, I guess I am. Right now I'm trying to live my dreams. I'm doing it too. Well, as much as my meager income will allow. But I'm happy. And I have my dogs, without which, I don't know what I'd do. They are such great company! So while the rest of the world is hanging out in bars and getting drunk or watching some football hero, full of steroids, making a solo touchdown; I'll be out here; dreaming with a smile on my face. Just dreaming. Dreaming............. I can't figure out what this is. It wasn't there last year. It appears to be a platform of some sort. Possibly a place for geese to nest upon. Or, I hope not, a blind for shooting geese. A blind would not be in the water. Interesting. So, it is time to leave this beautiful place. It has been a great morning and a rewarding experience. I believe I am ready for a two or three day canoe trip. My skills have increased dramatically and I have confidence that I can handle just about any situation that may occur. I hope you enjoyed this little ride today. Until next time; think nature; think green and be kind to a dog.