Monday, June 15, 2009

LITTLE RIVER

click on the pictures to enlarge I called Shaun to see if he was up for a paddle trip today. We met at Willow Point Marina on Fort Loudon Lake and unwrapped the canoes. This would be a lengthy trip as we were headed to the Little River. It's over to the right on the map by Littlebrook. Theres a curve to the South. Thats where we were going. But first we paddled North through that bay area that lies West of Brickyard Mountain. Then did an about face and paddled all the way back past our put in and across that huge bay just below the Southlake RV Park and continued East to our destination. The water was calm and muddy looking. Temperature was in the high eighties. Needless to say the perspiration ran freely. I took some pictures of the ducks below. I'm sure the white duck is just along for the swim. The color variation and size variances are indicative of in breeding and cross mating. Tame and farm ducks also cross breed with wild ducks with the result you see here. Note the coloring of the chicks. I tried the camera out on some Trumpet Creepers. I'm getting the hang of that camera now. These particular flowers were just about over when I caught them. Another night and they will be falling onto the water. A blurr caught my eye off to the left and I quickly grabbed the camera. When I took the shot; I was far out in the water. It was a stretch even for the 300 mm lens. But I caught the old guy. That ground hog was a big boy. I believe he would give a dog a hard time of it in a clash. On and on we paddled. The scenery was great. I wish the water would have been more clear but one has to accept what nature serves up. I love paddling under overhanging trees. I can't explain it. It adds to the peaceful experience of gliding along under my own power; silently and quietly. I like to see the branches gently part as the Champlain pushes through to open water. What a great thing! While I was fooling around over near the shore line, Shaun was trying his luck at wetting a line. Well; no luck is some kind of luck. We were getting close to a dam I ran across when I worked for TWRA. I used to interview fishermen and they would congregate at the mouth of this artery. One day I just ran the length of it to see where it went. After all; it did lay in the cradle of my responsibility. We came upon the dam after another hour of paddling. It was a weir dam. I think that is the correct spelling. I may be wrong. This was an unusual dam in that it appeared that the water was being pumped into the lake from some pumping station that can be seen to the left in the pictures. Notice that the water behind the weir is like a mirror. The water below, in the forefront, is boiling. I don't understand this particular dam. Usually the weir dam is a place where damed up water overflows the dam and falls to a new lower level below it. The drop on this weir was only a few inches. Of course Shaun had to try to paddle up and over the drop off. Silly Boy! Notice how the water is calm in the top of the photo and rough after it falls or is pumped past the weir. Of course Shuan had to try to drive up over the weir drop off. After deciding that attacking the weir dam was an act in futility; Shaun gave up trying to be a lake accident statistic and we headed on back the long paddle home. Rain gently fell occasionally and the air cooled down a few degrees. A golf course appeared on the left bank and we put in for a banana/trail mix and water break. Felt good to lay down on mown grass. But it never fails. I received numerous chigger bites on my ankles and the backs of my legs and am dealing with that now at home. Those critters are absolutely demons from hell placed upon the rivers edge to ward off human intervention. I do have the fix for them but have not taken the time to prepare my clothing. I shall before the next lake expedition. Guaranteed! A gentle breeze appeared and ruffled the water. It was a welcomed visitor. The paddling was great. Up ahead was a movement in the water. Shaun yelled "theres something moving across the water just ahead of you." It was a snake. I tried to catch up but it was no use. A canoe is no match for the speed of a water snake. I had the 135mm lense on the camera and the camera in the water proof box. What a mess to handle and paddle at the same time. But I have to protect the camera at all costs. The 300mm lens would have been the lens to use. I did the best I could. We paddled steadily all the way back to the put in. It's amazing that all that paddling doesn't cause pain and misery. Instead it seems to enlighten the spirits and causes no discomfort at all to muscles. My legs get very tired from sitting cross legged in the boat. But even that can be overcome. I love canoeing. I hope you enjoyed this little outing. Well, it was more than little. Great fun!