Friday, July 30, 2010


click on pictures to enlarge
Today has been a full day.  I took old Sigh, the hound, to the vet at 7:00 AM this morning to get that despicable tumor removed from her right foot.  My thoughts have been with her all day.  I won't soon forget the look on her face when I handed the leash to the vet's assistant to lead Sigh to some back room.  Sigh turned her head clear around and looked at me as she went through the door.  I can only imagine what was going through her mind.
After dropping off Sigh, I rushed to Maryville to meet a realtor who found a couple shacks she wanted me to look at.  She thought it funny I was more interested to know if any had a car port or garage on the property.  I have to have a place to keep the canoes and the Gheenoe.  "Three bedrooms, you say?"  Like I care.  "Where's the car port?"  I only need one bedroom.  I'll build bunk beds down at the end of the room for all the kids.  The Realtor lady just laughed.  I told her that owning a house was not my idea of fulfilling my American dream.   A house boat would be fine for me except I can't figure how to keep my dogs on it.  I'd have to return home every single night to take everyone outside.  With a dog door on the house;  I can leave for up to three days and they are fine for food and water.
I picked up old Sigh from the vet at 2:30 PM.  She was very happy to see me.  Her toe nails were neatly trimmed and that horrible growth was gone from her foot.  I carried her through the gate in the yard and sat her down gently.  That old girl has had a hard life up until our meeting.  She's had shot gun pellets removed from her hips, had a broken pelvis, a two inch piece of her left ear is missing, she was near death through starvation when found.  She was pregnant and the puppies were absorbed back into her body to keep her alive.  Arthritis is getting to her and she has a bad hip joint that allows her hip to pop out of the socket at times.  And now this growth on her foot.  I hope it is not a harbinger of future tragedy. 
The temperature is hot;  almost 100 degrees.  Humidity causes perspiration to soak the clothing.  I'm out of here.  I filled up the dog bowls with food and fresh, cool water, tossed the canoe on the truck and sneaked Douglas through the gate and into the vehicle.  It's off to Calderwood.
The camp is built, Douglas is fishing in his favorite stream and I'm enjoying the cool air coming off the water of Slick Rock Creek.  This is going to be another fabulous evening and night.
There's not a soul around this evening.
The canoe ride to Slick Rock Creek was beautiful and amazing. We arrived after a gentle paddle and I got the camp made in a hurry so we could sit back.  I struggled to get the canoe out of the water without gouging it on boulders and rocks.  I've never seen so many rocks in my life as along that lake.
I successfully struggled to shore with it and set it in a secure place.  Then to erect the tent.  Again;  I brought my old back packing tent.  Quick and easy.  I am spoiled with the OZ Tent though.  This tent is just too small for me now.  I've got the room to carry a larger one, and carry one I will.
As you may be able to tell;  I am very much addicted to canoe travel and camping.  I love the feel of the paddle in my hand and the fact that I can steer the craft in any direction I wish simply by twisting my wrist, thereby angling the paddle blade against the water causing direction change and control.  The moving weight of Douglas causes me to incorporate many paddle corrections.  It's no big deal.  Whatever euphoric feelings are diminished by his innocent movements in the boat are minor, compared to the joy his companionship gives me.

Ah;  Its great to sit on this rock with my feet in the cool water and watch my boy try to catch fish.
He never tires of fishing.  Never!

I have been putting a plan together to paddle across Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.  Now, I'm discovering some negatives about the idea.  Camping is on platforms only and limited to six canoes.  That is a maximum possibility of 12 people.  No way am I partaking in that mess.  I may as well go to a tourist campground at Indian Boundary Lake if that's the case.  Also, the maximum amount of time allowed in the back country is three days.  That won't get it either.  I guess the human intrusions have finally reached that wilderness swamp to the extent where regulations come into play.  I wonder what's left to explore anymore where there aren't any signs that say "keep out" or "private property."
It's 9:00 PM and time to start a fire.  But wait;  I think I'd like to just sit in the dark under the sky and enjoy feeling sleep overtake me.  That's what I'll do.  The sky contains gray clouds that can be seen moving across the tree tops.  Surely it will rain and blow tonight.  I wish I had the OZ tent with me.  It's a dream tent.  I can't fit it and Douglas in the canoe together.  But;  there is a new tent on the way.  It's called the Spring Bar Tent.  It is much like the OZ tent but packs smaller.  The bundled up tent packs to 14" diameter by 28" long.  I can put that tent behind me in the canoe.
I think I'll bring all the guys up here next weekend.  I have four days off in a row and the Gheenoe hasn't been out for awhile.  I have a new way of anchoring that boat to keep it off the rocky shoreline.  It will float out in the cove anchored off shore;  I hope.
Here's a neat little guy I just saw:
Don't know what the name is but, I'll find out.  It's not in my insect books.  A millipede of some sort.
Oh;  the tail end is toward the top of the photo.  And below; a woods spider )daddy longlegs, is ambling along with a partially eaten insect.
And along came a thief
Bats are flying low over the water.  Now;  theirs a challenge.  How in the world can I focus and shoot a bat at night while they are on the wing?  Gotta read up on that.
Douglas and I stayed awake until 11:00 PM.  Well, I did anyway.
The sky kept changing from stars to clouds.  It may not rain after all.  My loss.

The morning is overcast and cool.  The climate on this mountain is so very different than the valley.  I feel totally rested when I camp up here.  I think it's the comfortable temperature and peace and quiet.  The real cause of rest is escape.   It takes longer to load the canoe than to unload it.  I'd rather have the boat floating in the water to load it but, I've got it sitting on a large protruding tree root.  I can just slide it into the water after I strap everything down'
The paddle back to the truck was uneventful and a lot of fun.  I can't wait till next time.

   I should really MOW GRASS today.  We'll see.  More importantly;  Sigh needs her medicine.  Hope you had fun on this little overnighter.

I'll  post the name of that worm bug as soon as I can find it out.  I may post a movie below if it will upload.