Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CHILHOWEE REVISITED & MORE

click on photos to enlarge
Since the road to Calderwood Lake is blocked with a rock slide; I decided to put the boat on Chilhowee Lake today. I gathered up Douglas and hit the road at the early hour of 9:30 AM. Well, I'm getting older and appreciative of the extra time to lay around at the habitat. Everyone else was still sleeping when I got up. Everyone, that is, accept Douglas the Golden Dog. The Golden Dog is always ready. He doesn't care where he's going; just so it's somewhere. He's my favorite.
The water of Chilhowee was calm and smooth. I had to perform my usual explanation concerning my odd boat's origin and design and further explain it's strong and weak points to a couple of fishermen at the boat ramp. That boat always starts conversations. It felt great to be in the water. We motored along side Route 129 to look at the rock slide area.
I couldn't see a lot because we were lower than the road. Then it became apparent where the second slide occurred.
That is one steep, very tall cliff. I'm curious how this slide issue will be handled.
We slowly made our way along the highway. This entire section of Route 129 has near verticle cliffs for about a four mile stretch.
It's amazing that cliff hasn't come down years ago.
The trees in the photo above are secreting the second slide area.
I saw a little cove way down the lake on the opposite side and thought we'd take a look. I like to discover new places to explore.
Douglas was really enjoying the ride. He loves the wind in his face.
The little cove looked better and better the closer we got to it. Douglas knew we would be stopping soon. I could sense it in him.
Everything felt good out here today. Warm wind and clear blue sky. Just super!
Check out the picture above. No; not any trick photography. That's called nature.
We idled into the little cove and looked for a spot to beach the boat. A little sandy bar would provide a nice landing.
Of course the golden one has to use the boat as a bridge to the other side. You can see him coming toward the boat above. And he bounces off the deck to the ground on this side in the below shot.
Ok; this seems like a place we can work with. Water and a little goat trail beside it. Oh, all right. A little deer trail then.
So, off we go up the trail. Douglas is in the lead as usual. Guess I'm not his pack leader anymore. Maybe I never was.
Wonder how all these super tall mountains happened in Tennessee. I spend most of my hiking time going up hill. Whew!
That's a great little stream that runs along the narrow trail
This is great. Douglas is really getting into this place. It is beautiful up here. I wonder where it goes.
By the looks of it, up would be where it goes. Whew! I'm getting out of shape. Winter has taken it's toll.
Now, where's he at. Oh; thanks for waiting up buddy.
Oh no! What's this? A no trespassing sign. Who would put a no trespassing sign up way out here? I can't believe it. This is some kind of hunting reserve. Note I said reserve; not preserve.
Oh well! Gotta respect private property. "Come on boy; lets head back down the mountain." I decided to head up the lake and re investigate the Alcoa clubhouse area. I have wanted to return to the old place since last year.
The familiar old ferry landing came in sight and we motored past and around to the left to beach the boat on an old gravel Barr. That is the landing left of center.
And, here's where the Gheenoe will wait for us.
I should have brought along a machete. This place is grown up with cudsu, or however it's spelled. What a struggle trying to walk in this stuff. Cudsu is a foreign vine that grows like wildfire and throttles the life out of everything it comes in contact with. Ha; must be a government plant. It will entirely cover an entire house like a coat of paint if allowed to. I heard Douglas whimper a couple times and saw that he was stuck in some tightly bunched up vines.
"I'm coming boy. Hang in there. I'm coming." He became tangled in the tightly woven vines and his collar was caught in the mess.
Paul and I were just here last year and this stuff wasn't nearly as thick. I wonder why oriental plants do so well here in America? We came out of the viney maze below the club house pavilion and above the old stone milk house.
It's a shame the old milk house is left to ruin. I guess there is no one back here to appreciate it and not worth investing in its upkeep. We'll get to it soon enough. There are some very interesting trees back in this forest. There is a variety of makes and models here. Oddly enough; many are encircled by strange vines that look like rope.
There are huge trees and small trees. There are unique trees and common trees.
A short walk down the path from that big tree above brought the old milk house into view. It seemed ancient and in a way, ominous.
How would you like to camp out in this place on a cold, windy, rainy night alone; without a gun or dog.
I have posted pictures of this old structure else ware on the blog but I can't resist the allure this old building has.
It's a shame it will fall to ruin out here in nowheresville, Tennessee.
Douglas has found the old building interesting also.
I bet this place was a work of art when it was new
I wonder where the farm was located that produced the milk for this milkhouse? You don't suppose there is an abandoned antique farm back here on this mountain.
What a spot this would be for a little cabin. Great views!
The old building has a certain charm about it. But, at the same time there is a darkness surrounding it's existence.
Bet it would be un-nerving to walk up to this place at dusk if one didn't know it was out here.
We walked on past the milk house and continued along what appeared to be an ancient walk or roadway that followed the base of the mountain.
Blooms appeared here and there adding brightness to what appears to be a gloomy environment.
I could not find this flower in my Audubon flower guide. I have never seen such a useless field guide as the one Audubon puts forth. Actually, their bird guide is lacking also.
As can be seen above; the trail was becoming more difficult the further we walked. But, the scenery was improving.
I'd call it a Periwinkle. Yep; I'll stick with that.
The flowering bushes and plants increased in their number as we broke out of the dense covering of the big trees and entered into an area where the larger trees appeared sporadically.
The next photo is probably one of the most beautiful shots I have ever taken. I just happened to look up from the path and there it was. Gorgeous flowers set against the backdrop of the lake and it all happens while under a canopy of forest.
After that breathtaking shot; the rest that follows is second rate.
It was near 3:00 PM and time to head on back. I wanted to stop at the old cove that Douglas and I usually spend time at when we are on the lake. We'll leave as soon as I can pull the golden dog away from an old log that he is chewing through.. What a dog!
This has been a full day so far. I want to visit the old pavilion at the Alcoa club house once again for a few final photos. I don't think I'll be returning to this side of the lake anytime soon. Oh; I like it here but Calderwood Lake is home for me. Wish that rock slide on Route 129 never happened.
Douglas must have some mountain goat in his blood line.
There are lots of rocks and boulders up there and he is vulnerable to snakes in that environment. I won't allow him to go much higher into the rocks.
I just have to try my hand at a bit of creativity.
Or, how about this one:
We turned around and followed the walk way back until we came upon the old fossilized ruins of the club house pavilion. I'll bet this place is haunting at night. And I'll wager it was magnificent in its day.
Nature is taking the place back.
What a shame to destroy this wondrous place. The club house was destroyed using below ground demolition. Totally evaporated.
What do ya think Douglas. We better go.
This must have been a grand place. The Gheenoe was just around the corner and it was time to get on board and drive to one last place. We will stop at our favorite cove on Chilhowee Lake.
One parting drive by in front of the old Club House trout pond. It was built beside the Little Tennessee River at that time. Now, the lake has encroached upon it and threatens to invade the old pond banks.
Douglas and I have stopped here often. It is a quiet place. A beautiful stream tumbles off the mountain side over rock and fallen trees. Douglas loves this place as do I. He crosses the narrow fast moving stream frequently when on his sniffing adventures.
It's not Calderwood but it will do temporarily.
I think I will just sit here awhile and let the Golden Dog wander about.
That tumbling water is like a sedative. I'm writing much of this blog entry with heavy eyes.
He crosses one side to the other. What a luck little boy to have a dad like me. I love him. He is a happy guy for certain.
Just look at that handsome fellow.
He's waiting for me to get active. Actually, he's imploring me to get moving and do some activity.
He acts like he's going without me. But, he won't. It's his way of enticing me to get off my back side and move down some trail.
"Oh come on already dad."
"Ok Douglas; you win. Let me get my stuff and I'll be along directly."
This camera back pack is heavy. I'd hate to carry that big camera around my neck.
"Hey! I'm ready now. What are you doing laying there. Come on; lets get outa here."
The ride back to the boat launch was a nice, normal drive. Uneventful I believe is the phrase. Oh yes; look at the bugs hovering above the surface of the water. I took these shots while easing up to the spot where I tied off the boat. Trout food I'd say.
I will throw some shots up here in an arbitrary fashion as they do not thread well into the body of the blog. There are shots of a pair of ducks that held to the dark recesses of the undercut bank. They lent a flavor of antiquity to the place. There are also some beautiful flowering trees that appeared here and there on the bank of the lake. And last but not least a heron who was startled from his repose. He flew away with an intense effort. For a second I didn't think he would gain enough altitude to clear the tree line that he was flying toward. This has been a long entry and I hope you found something of interest here. Everyone can't like everything but, my hopes are that you find something beautiful once in a while. I'll see you later.
And these are very wild ducks. They are very unlike the ones found at the park.
Climb! Climb! Climb!
Faster! Faster! Higher! Higher!
THE END
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