Sunday, September 20, 2009

SLICK ROCK ON CALDERWOOD

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE I had been looking forward to doing an overnight camping trip at my beautiful secret spot on Calderwood Lake. Everything was packed last night for the trip and stay. Camera gear was put in water proof dry bags and all the other camping things fit into my enormous canoe bag. They also were waterproof. I hitched the Gheenoe to the truck last night to speed things along this morning. It was pouring rain at 6 AM. No problem. It would take me an hour and a half to get to Calderwood and by that time it surely would stop raining.. Wrong! After negotiating the curviest road in the United States we arrived at the turn off for the campground at Calderwood. It was pouring rain. Torrential rain belted down. Ok. No big deal. I'll just sit here in the truck and catch up on some shut eye. I left Douglas out to swim. He ignored the rain. After thirty minutes sitting there in the truck; I started to think it may not quit raining. It was very early morning and probably by noon the rain would stop. I loaded everything into the Gheenoe and backed her down the boat ramp and into the water. I'm happy I remembered to bring the Manta sun top with me. It saved the day. Calderwood Lake Campground has two boat ramps. One a bit better than the other. There is also two docking areas. The first photo in this entry shows the first dock and below is the second. The rain intensified as soon as we got under way. What luck! "This can't last," I thought.. Douglas just laid down and seemed to ignore it all. The rain stopped for short periods of ten to fifteen minutes but would start in earnest again. Each time it would quell I would gain hope that the day wouldn't be lost. If it kept raining this heavy I would scrap the plan for camping. Maybe by the time we got to the cove where my secret place was it would stop raining. I was cruising along at about ten or eleven miles per hour. The rain would slant from the right side of the boat to the left and I didn't want to drive into it at speed. I was staying relatively dry under my umbrella so far and I didn't want to push my luck. My cove was dead ahead to the right. I made the turn to enter and common sense told me that this isn't going to work. We would be washed away if we camped there. It would take a lot of effort to pole the boat through the shallow water to the head waters for tie off. No; we would float back up the lake and stop at Slick Rock for a look at the creek. Slick Rock is easy to get to and I could pull the boat up on land. I think I can still remember the spot to beach the Gheenoe. We drove to the back of the cove and I beached the boat. As I mentioned before; I'm very glad I thought to attach the Manta sun cover. That thing paid for itself today. I would have turned around and reloaded the boat and quit for the day without it. I had decided not to camp while we were running into this cove. I would not be able to get my eagle pictures, which is the main reason for making this trip, and I didn't bring any matches. Yes, that's correct. I did not have any means of building a fire. A camp out would have worked without the fire but I like a fire at night. I opted to leave the big camera on the boat safely housed in dry bags and take the Elph Canon on a hike with Douglas. Now, my new secret place is heaven but, let me tell you; Slik Rock isn't any slouch in the beauty department. The continuous rain had swollen the creek and gave it a formidable look. It was gorgeous. Beautiful. But, it had that "beware" feel about it. When a person travels, camps and hikes totally alone; he tends to not throw caution to the wind. One slip, a twisted ankle, a broken bone, or worse; a fall into fast moving ice cold water could bring the final curtain down before the show is over. Now, there's a clever little line. The water in the main lake is 56.6 degrees. This fresh mountain water would be colder than that. Douglas didn't seem to care. He was in his glory. Douglas, while used to swimming in lakes, is not used to fast moving current. He delighted in swimming against the rapids and then letting the water carry him down stream. He would do it over and over. He was having the time of his life. Then he rode a current too fast and too far. He went over a small water fall. He would paddle against the fast moving water and then let it carry him back. He kept it up and kept it up. I thought about calling him out of there but I saw no real danger. The water fall directly behind him was not a tall one and the most that could happen would be a rather fast transition from the pool he was swimming in to the next one directly below. I sat and watched as he continuously made his struggle upstream only to be swept back down by the current. He was having a blast. I sat down on a boulder to relax and watch my little guy having a great time in the environment he loves so much. And then he went over the falls. After much struggling, he pulled himself out onto the slippery rocks none the worse for wear. That's my boy! It was time to get this show on the road. I couldn't complete the photography assignment I came here for but I could sure explore and enjoy this wonderful place. We would hike up along this fast moving stream. The water was violent. I had been here in the past and the stream was much smaller. There was a lot of water coming off the mountain today. Those rocks are as slippy as ice. I don't know how he adheres to them. He is a beautiful boy. And what a friend! Oh boy! The water is about 50 degrees and he sticks his nose under. DOUGLAS! Come up, Come up!!!!!! Not his entire head!!!!!!! What a character! We walked on and I was marveling at the gorgeous surroundings. Everything was so green. Yet; there was a feeling of change in the air. A cluster of colored leaves here and there. Flowers that had the appearance of final bloom. "Douglas, where are you boy?" I scanned the area near the stream and didn't see him. Something made me look up the cliff side and there he was at an extreme elevation. He took off running as if on a trail. I yelled "come!" Then waited until he arrived to continue on up the stream side. A few steps more and I saw an old foot bridge way up there. It was. It was a foot bridge. With Douglas back with me, we looked for a way to get up there. Then I noticed what looked like an old washed out trail that came down off that cliff. Up we went. This is more than I hoped for. I've got to ask Paul about this place. Bet he knows what the deal is here. This is beautiful. Absolutely and totally rustic. We went across the bridge and carefully walked on the mostly washed out trail. Well; I carefully walked the trail. I was getting wet from the inside out. The rain garments I was wearing aren't designed for hiking. Hiking requires gortex or the like. I was wearing a rain suit called frog togs. The fabric wasn't breathing as well as I would have liked and my perspiration was not venting to the outside thereby making me damp. No, wet under the rain suit. I would hike another half hour and then turn back. There were three foot bridges and several guard railings along the trail. I'll bet there are many more on up the trail. I will have to turn back in a short while. Oh wow! This place is neater than neat. I would love to hike this trail to it's start. I believe I started on it today at it's finish. At least I think I did. There is trail work to be done here. It is very hard to make myself turn around and return to the boat. The rain is helping me make that decision. This is a very interesting place. Very interesting.. This trail is in sad shape. And could prove dangerous to someone who can't stay focused on where they put their feet down. Douglas looks like a king on his high place. It's at least a 150 foot strait down drop directly in front of him. He's a nut! Wonder what he's thinking. Everything is so green. It' s amazing. Clean and pure. Only ingredient missing is people. Ah ha! It's a long hike back and I have to get going. This trail will be here in the Fall. I "will" walk it then. "Douglas. Douglas. Come." Now where is he? It's good to sit down even if it is in the rain. A great time was had by both Douglas and myself. We had new territory to explore. They day was not a bust. It was a glorious success. I love it out here. "Come on Douglas; get in the boat." He's a tired little boy. And the rain continues on-