Monday, January 4, 2010

COLD, DARK DAYS OF JANUARY

click photos to enlarge

I know it's cold up North but this is Tennessee.  The weather is to hover in the teens for now and the coming week.  This is not normal for these parts but, one has to deal with it.  I have been forced to search for clothing I wore when I used to do Winter hikes and camp outs in Pennsylvania.  The cross country ski pants have been the most beneficial so far.  It isn't impossible to put the boat in the water for a run but, I don't care to deal with the tarp I have it wrapped in.  It would require a half hour to unwrap it just to do a two hour boat run.  I would have to reinstall the tarp and that would take an hour in the freezing cold.  No;  I don't think so.  Better to put the dogs in the truck and do a hike with them.  They need to get in the woods.  I can't believe this cold and snow.

The roads were actually iced up.  No one buys Winter tires down here so I had to be careful with these over half worn out Summer tires.  Very unusual weather.

We went down to the hiking trail at Tellico Lake.  The meadows and the woods were pretty with their spots of green and textures of browns.  But, the lake had an ominous look to it.   The water was gray and framed in white as snow formed on the shore line.  I could feel myself grow colder as I stared into the icy water.  It's amazing how friendly this same water is in the Summer.  It's warm and appears green or blue when the sun shines upon it.  But Winter's icy fingers have touched everything in the wilderness places and they show it.

The water in the back of the coves is shallow and still.  This makes it prone to freezing over.  The snow covered ice reinforces the fact that Winter has truly arrived to the lakes.

There are no tracks upon the snow.  It appears that every creature is conserving warmth in a den somewhere.  I appreciate the fact that there is no wind blowing. 


The lake and surroundings is still beautiful in the Winter.  But, I have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.  Winter forces what I call an "altered state" of things.  The water is always low and the animals and birds seem to have moved elsewhere or are hiding.  Even the squirrels are scarce in this weather.  I do really understand it all;  I just miss Summer I guess.
The trail is pretty and off the trail and over the hill on the right side offers things to investigate.  There are old fences and shacks of all kind here and there.  Their ancient purposes is anybodies guess.



I don't know how these dogs can stand the cold water temperatures.  Now, I have my doubts weather the water even reaches Douglass skin through his hair and underfur.  But, Shade doesn't have that thick underfur that Golden's have.  I guess they can tell if they're cold or not.  We won't be out too long so even if they do get wet;  I'll have them back in a warm truck pretty quickly.

That looks cold!

We'll get back up on the trail and walk on along the lake.  There is a great meadow near here that is beautiful.


At first glance it would appear that the landscape of the wilderness is reduced to green and brown during the Winter months.  Closer inspection would reveal that the browns and greens are combined in various shades and saturation's of each and when combined together present a gorgeous backdrop for the season of Winter.  It's the cold of Winter that I can do without.  Not the colors.  Maybe I've been in the woods too long and my brain has been addled.  Or, maybe it's and age thing.  One thing for sure;  I love it out here.   "Douglas;  Come on."

We'll walk along and enjoy the shoreline from the trail awhile.

The shoreline is indeed beautiful.  Even on this overcast, cold day;  the lake can be depended upon to give up it's beauty in some shape or form.

The snow clings to soil at the water's edge as a reminder that "cold" rules this place.  How nice of nature to add the white separation between water and shoreline.  White is yet another color signifying Winter's hold on the land.


I am wondering what Calderwood Lake looks like now.  I bet there is a lot of snow up on that high mountain lake.  This is Tellico Lake I'm on today and it is a valley lake (my term).   I would love to do a Winter camp on Calderwood or even Santeelah but, Calderwood's shoreline is so rugged I would place the Gheenoe in peril if I tied it off against the boulders.  That is one rugged lake shoreline.  Santeelah is a more friendly environment but, I don't know the shoreline intimately enough to simply drive the boat to a particular spot to camp.  The alternative would be to launch the Gheenoe and cruise the lake until an acceptable camp spot were found and tie off.  This weather is not conducive to driving around all over a very cold lake hunting for an elusive spot on the bank to pitch a tent.  No way. 

Winter out of doors is a quiet time.  The birds are even quiet.  The only thing that can be heard is the wind and the rustle of leaves.  The wind is absent today and I am alone with my dogs and my thoughts.   I have a mind that sees things in movie form.  I can think of the old days as a child or a young man and see the images move through my mind in motion.  Lately my thoughts have been of more serious topics.  Social Security is a big topic.  Medicare is another concern.  When should I sign up for each?  Should I wait until I am 65 years old or just jump into it now?  I wonder if Social Security will be there for me if I wait?  It's always something.  The movement of the dogs continually draw my attention away from serious thoughts.  They are my salvation and help keep my mind clear.  They do not, however, affect the improvement of memory in any way.

The snow is starting again.  I should get these guys back in the truck.  It's a fairly long hike back from here.

I think we made the best of a very cold day.  It is time to move out of here.  Wonder what tomorrow will bring.  We'll be out there somewhere.  I'll throw a couple more pictures below.  Till next time;  show compassion for a dog.  You'll feel great if you do.

"It IS cold.   Where is that truck?"