Monday, February 15, 2010

EAST COAST TELLICO HIKING TRAIL

click on photos to enlarge
 
I was getting really bored here at the habitat today.  The morning started out cold and raining but soon added wind to the equation.   I messed around with the canoe and straightened up inside the shed where the motorcycle is housed.  I gathered up Shade and Douglas and went down to the cove where the East Coast Tellico Hiking trail is located.  It would be six more days until the dogs got any real exercise so today had to be their day.  They hit the trail with noses down and acted as if they just got out of prison.
I left the big camera at home today because my intent was to cover ground.  We didn't get started until late in the afternoon and I figured we could get maybe three miles in before darkness fell.

Of course, this would be the day when some really wild mallard ducks were using the cove.  They took wing in a burst of speed and flew out toward the main lake in a grand formation.  A great photo opportunity gone.  In reality;  it doesn't matter when or where one goes in the forest or on the lake.  There are always photo opportunities available.  
 
I always liked this trail.  It is easy to get to and usually void of hikers.  Maybe I always walk it when everyone else is at work.  The few people I have met here have been wonderful folks who have had many of the same likes and interests that I do.

The trail is clean but there is some debris  in the form of cut trees and broken limbs.  Someone takes very good care of this wooded walkway and it's all volunteer action.

The dogs are doing a good job of staying with me.  Douglas stays on the trail near me.  Shade, however, blasts out into the woods, makes a circle and immediately returns.  She is all action.  Her body is solid muscle and she appears not to know what tired is.  Douglas seems to pace himself and travels over the easier path.  He will go into the woods if he is a mind to.  They won't go far without me.  Just so they get exercise and have fun is all that's important to me.
The Shady Lady;  what a girl!
I wish I would have brought my big camera now that I'm here.  There is no chance to capture any wildlife with this pip squeak camera I have with me.  It is a tool and does what it is designed to do quite well.  But I love that big 500 mm lens.
The designers of this trail had the foresight to label some of the more common trees along the walk way.  Now;  I know what a hickory tree looks like.  But, I couldn't tell anyone what a specific species of Hickory it is.  These little plaques are great and are very helpful for those interested.
Here's another plaque indicating this is a Chinquapin Oak.
And here is the good ol black walnut.  I knew this one.
It seems that all trails close to civilization have quaint bridges crossing ravines.  They are really well built structures and appreciated by hikers.  The trails in the outback (accept Indian Boundary Lake) are rugged ditches for the most part and see little use.  I like em.
I consider this portion of the trail one of the most beautiful.  The forest is void of underbrush and the trees stand straight and tall for the most part.  One can see far out through the trees and see deer breaking out of hiding and running full out or squirrels taking to the tree trunks and safety .
And here comes a weary traveler.  Weary?  Sorry for the fuzzy picture.  It's getting dark

They are never far from the lake.

As usual;  he misses nothing.  Quiet and observing all.

They have to get in the water.  How do they stand it?   That water is about 46 degrees  I would think

Come on guys.  Lets start back to the truck

This fallen tree will provide good cover for spawning fish this Spring.

Alright;  we'll continue on for just a little while and then we have to return.

Across this bay and on the shoreline is where Happy suffered a severe gash on her foreleg that required stitches last year.  When I stop and think about things I realize that I have traveled over a lot of territory down here around these lakes.

Shade;  get out of there!

This is by far my favorite section of trail.  It leads through a perceived tunnel created by the close proximity of the tree tops to each other.  It's great.  The trail will exit this anomaly and turn left where the cove joins the main lake.  We will turn around at that point.

This is indeed a gorgeous spot.  I could hang out here if it wasn't so cold.
This is where the trail bends left and continues along the lake side.  That waterway goes all the way to Chilhowee Dam located at the bottom end of Tellico Lake.  It's late and we better hold a brisk pace to get to the truck before dark.   It's been a cold, windy day and I think we've made the most of it.   Time is too valuable to sit idly by and do nothing.  The ash trim on the canoe got a coat of oil applied to it, the blog received two entries today and the dogs and I got a good hike in.  Can't beat that with a stick.  All I can say is "Come on Summer!"