Thursday, October 15, 2009

WANDERING ON ABRAMS CREEK

click on photos to enlarge The rain has been relentless for two strait days and nights. Only at 3PM this afternoon did it cease. It was too late to drive to Calderwood so I loaded up the dogs and took them for a boat ride on Chilhowee Lake. They don't care what lake they're on; just that they are going someplace. I have to admit right here and now that after Calderwood lake; everything else is "just OK." We motored up Abrams Creek branch just to be sure we were out as far as we could get from any intrusions by humans. Today is only the second time Shade has been on the boat and she was apprehensive. She soon became acclimated. Look where her feet are. She is standing on the very forward most point of the boat. She has a lot to learn. Douglas learned early in his life about that mistake. I watched her very closely and was ready at all times to cut the motor if she went overboard. Yep; living dangerously. That is called inexperience. The leaves at this low altitude are only just changing. There are some great colors but they are located sparsely along the shoreline. Last year I reported finding a structure in the middle of Abrams Creek when the lake was drained. I reported it to the park service and they sent a ranger up to check it out. The below photo is all that is left of that structure now. But it is still there in the center of the creek waiting to snag a boat. We drove clear to Abrams Creek where it pours off the mountain and into the channel. It is beautiful. But I'm ruined now. I've been to Calderwood. We stopped the motor and just let the current push the Gheenoe downstream. Relaxing. Even the dogs were happy just floating along. We floated past a familier underwater rock. I paddled right over it in the canoe a couple months ago. We floated past a pretty little stream that was tumbling into the channel. I started the engine and did a turn around to beach the Gheenoe. It was time to let dogs be dogs and enjoy their freedom. I really enjoy this boat and I look forward to every chance to be on it. But, there is really something about a canoe that just plain grabs me. The canoe is as silent as a floating leaf and is totally unobtrusive. It's enjoyable to paddle silently along disturbing absolutely nothing. I take delight in being able to spot the otter before he sees me. I like to paddle gently. The paddle blade is inserted strait down into the water and pulled ever so gently and quietly toward me. Of course the twist of the wrist that accomplishes the J stroke still occurs at the end of the paddle stroke which keeps the canoe travelling in a strait line. When it's all put together the result is one quiet, fluid movement. The only sound is the water dripping off the paddle blade when it is removed from the water at the end of the paddle stroke. A canoe makes me feel a part of the wilderness instead of an alien presence in it. I glide along in total silence; disturbing nothing but the surface of the water and that is erased in seconds. The greatest pleasure is to camp on a primitive lake. The canoe becomes something more in a camping situation. It is the vehicle that gets me to that pristine camp spot and it also is the "only" way out. I have been called a romantic in the past and I guess I am. But when alone in a canoe I conjure up visions of a lone traveler traversing long lakes to reach some important destination. Funny how the mind works. I do have an intensely deep, bottomless respect for the wilderness, or whats left of it and I feel it's a privilege to be able to enjoy it. The wilderness is no place to bring the clutter from civilization. But where insensitive humans travel, so goes noise, litter and commotion. I guess the only down side to a canoe is that I can't take Douglas. He hasn't been trained to sit or lay in one place for long periods of time. He surely would tip a loaded canoe if he threw his weight to one side or the other. Yes, there are two dogs in the below picture. This is a peaceful place we've visited today and I hate to leave. The sun is dropping fast and it would be prudent to load the boat on the trailer while it's light out. Actually I have to watch Shade closely and she isn't easy to see in the dark. See you later. Oh; so much for the 10 second delay feature on the camera. ha