Friday, October 30, 2009

CAMPING OPPORTUNITY FAILED

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE I didn't get on the road this morning until late morning. I blame it all on sloth. This has been the first day off of four in a row and I wanted to paddle the canoe on Calderwood and camp for the night. The weather forecasters were calling for wind and rain but I didn't care. I tossed the canoe on top the truck, pitched Happy in the cab and took off. The wind was light when I left home but I noticed the water on Chilhowee Lake was really rough and white caps could be seen occasionally. I stopped to survey the situation. It was really nasty looking conditions to operate a canoe safely. I was well on my way to Calderwood Lake so I thought I would at least look at it. The truck wound around the curves and corners of Route 129 until I saw the famous photo pull off overlook on the right side that looks over Calderwood Lake far below. Even at this distance, I could see the mini waves and wind sheer upon the surface of the lake. The canoe wouldn't work today. I could easily paddle down the lake with the wind but, I doubt I could make it back without a monumental effort. I turned the outfit around and headed for Greenback to swap the canoe for the Gheenoe. I'd put a motor on things. Furthermore; I exchanged Happy, the canoe dog, for Douglas, the Gheenoe dog. We arrived at the lake early afternoon. I transferred all the camping gear onto the Gheenoe and we were off. I had hoped that the leaves would be brilliant by now but, it appears they will not achieve the penetrating colors we all love to see. The sky is overcast with dark clouds moving into the area and that may be causing the less than perfect colors on the trees. I'm glad I opted for the Gheenoe. The canoe would have been impossible to navigate in with this wind. I wanted to drive up the lake past the submerged train tunnel where my favorite camp spot lies. The shoreline is covered with boulders and makes a landing in a fiberglass boat precarious work, not to mention dangerous. This is truly a beautiful spot to camp on. I tried several approaches to the shoreline for the purpose of possibly beaching the Gheenoe but found it too risky. I was very disappointed. The best bet would be to drive back down the lake and turn into the cove at Slick Rock Creek. I can pull the boat up onto the grass there and tie it off. There are a lot of rocks in the water near the shore line but if I'm careful I should be able to place the Gheenoe in safe habor. The sky is getting dark quickly and I fear a storm may hit at any moment. The cove at Slick Rock Creek was more shallow than normal. The boys at the dam must me messing with the water level. I can just barely motor up to the head waters with the engine. I could use a push pole but it wasn't necessary. I pulled the Gheenoe up onto the bank as best I could and unloaded her. The tent went up quickly and I constructed a sort of quick tent for Douglas with a spare tarp I always carry for emergencies. If it poured, he would have a dry place in which to sleep. All in all we had created a neat little place to live for the night. Below is the view I have directly outside the tent flap. The water is crystal clear. The leaves on the bottom of the channel are easily seen. The wind was really howling now. It was not as bad back here in this cove as it was on the main lake. The trees high up on the mountain were bending as if they were made of rubber. White caps could be seen out where the main lake meets the beginning of the cove. I'm not too certain I made a good choice in coming out here today. I would take Douglas for a walk up along the stream and ponder the situation. I wish I had that "campfire tent I intend to get." It is eight feet wide, made of canvas and has an awning. Both Douglas and I could stay in it and I could even have a cot to sleep on. The camp fire tent is designed so that one can stand in it. A chair could be placed under the awning and rain could be enjoyed while sipping a hot cup of coffee. These little backpack tents are great for motorcycles but, I desire a large tent for comfort these days. Slick Rock Creek is gorgeous, as usual. Douglas is sprinting about and swimming all at the same time. He absolutely loves this place. The stream here can only be called spectacular. Slick Rock Trail follows along the stream and it is obvious that it goes unused for long periods of time. Much of it is grown over and there are no signs of people passing. They do walk it but, they are few, far and between. That's a good thing. Now where is Douglas. Doug-------------Oh; there you are. It's interesting how one can enjoy the constant roar of rushing water and not grow tired of it. Yet, the constant babbling of people and sounds of traffic irritate the senses to no end. The water is loud today. Out here, loudness is silence and silence is loud. Think about that. I call the following photo turmoil. It is angry water speaking loudly but presents a relaxing sound to the ear. The forest is full of beautiful sights if one only takes the time to look and see. The looking part is easy. It's the seeing part that requires practice. It is impossible to come to this beautiful lake and be bored. Impossible. One can stand anywhere here, in this forest, and simply turn in any direction and find something beautiful. It is called seeing. The colors are varying shades of green and brown sprinkled with the colors of Fall. The sky is getting darker and it's becoming difficult to get good settings for the camera. I think I need to decide weather to stay the night or break camp and call it a nice day and leave. Tonight could get interesting out here. Stay or leave. I'll give it some thought. I'll have it figured out by the time we get back to the camp site. I believe we should go. Douglas; Come! The walk back was nice. I hated to disassemble the camp but it doesn't take that long. I've been putting up camps for years and years and I can have a tent up quicker than I can dress myself in the morning. I noticed a primitive campsite far up along the stream and investigated it. I am constantly on the look out for poachers and miscreants of all sorts. The site hasn't been used for a long time and is probably a hikers or fisherman's little camp. If it showed frequent use; it may be of significant interest to the law. Who would take the trouble to create a camp site way up there along the stream when there is one down at the headwaters? Oh well???? It didn't take long to return to camp and take it apart. The wind never ceased since we arrived. It's been fun and interesting, as always. No big deal. I'll be back very soon with the canoe. The canoe is the best way to camp on this lake. It can be lifted off the lake and placed safely on dry land. A bigger boat must stay in the water precariously close to the bolder strewn shoreline. I don't like that at all. We loaded up and I pushed the boat into the water and carefully navigated out into the deep water of the main lake. Another adventure is over. I like calling the outings adventures. It adds a flavor of daring-do to it all. When I pulled over at the photo road side parking area on Route 129 earlier; I pulled out the big camera and took a couple shots of Calderwood Lake. The pictues were taken from about half mile distance. You can see clearly why I took the canoe home. There are serious white caps on those waves down there. The areas that appear light gray are where the wind is sheering across the water. Hardly a place for a canoe. Well; this child ain't goin out there! Hope you enjoyed this blog entry. The trip never should have happened but I can't sit at home on a day off. Just can't do it. And; be kind to a dog. They need all the help they can get. It's not their fault....................