Friday, February 13, 2009

CANOE PANTHER CREEK

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.