Sunday, October 31, 2010


 If heaven is anything like where I am right this minute; I'm changing my ways so I can get in line for a ticket on a fast train bound for it.
The sky was bright and the wind was blowing harder than I cared for.  The Gheenoe was loaded while on shore.
 I backed the trailer into the lake and the boat floated off and immediately floated away with the wind and current.  Of course I had the bow line attached to the bow eye and the other end to the trailer but, the strong wind and current was carrying the little boat on a course that would cause collision with a fishing boat teathered to a second dock below me.  I can't take the slack out of the line until I get out of the truck and get the rope in my hand from  the trailer.

I gunned the truck up the ramp, ran to the trailer, grabbed the bow line and pulled out the slack;  then jumped up on another dock to the left and ran to the end of it, all the while pulling in line.  Another ten seconds and, well, I think the Gheenoe would be wearing an aluminum fishing boat for a hat.  Close one.  There really needs to be a water current deflector up stream of these two little boat ramps.  When the wind is up on Calderwood;  its hard to launch and recover boats.
After parking the truck and trailer I set off to find Douglas and Shade.  I looked at the boat and both of them were sitting on the deck staring at me as if to say, "are you coming or what?  We're all set to go while you're acting like a nut running around in all directions."
It was a short, pleasant trip to Slick Rock Creek.  The Shoreline appeared different than before.
The blow downs were removed from the side of the bank.
The boulders were still there but, there was a clear spot where the Gheenoe could be beached.  Lucky day.  
I quickly unloaded the Gheenoe and prepared for country living at its best.
I brought the OZtent this trip as it goes up in less than thirty seconds and is a wonderful tent to 
to sleep in.  It's a neat package rolled up and a neater package put together.

With just a slight pull on two strips of canvas the overhang pops loose and ready for the poles to be inserted into the grommets at each corner.  I'm set

Now I have rain protection while I sit outside and a sun shade while I read and write.  Less than one minute more and my favorite chair is assembled and set in place.  Oh Wow!

And there she is above; complete and ready for any type weather imaginable.  I truly could live in this thing if necessary.  The Gheenoe will carry it fine but, it's a long package for a canoe.  The seats and yoke of a 16 foot canoe will not allow it to lay on the bottom.  I have another tent called a Spring Bar tent that is perfect for a canoe.  It requires a bit more time to erect but, it also is a fine all weather tent.  
The dogs are excited and ready to go exploring.  We will walk along the stream for awhile and search out the old fisherman's trail (Slick Rock Trail).  I've made mention of this trail in a previous blog entry.
As we walk along, I notice the Fall colors are lacking the vibrant look of last years leaves.  They are still beautiful though.
The hillside to our left displays Fall color while across the stream on the right, green is the predominant color.  That is because the cliff-side over there is rhododendron and the leaves are green year around.
Fallen leaves are floating on crystal clear water.  They move slowly along down stream until the breeze pushes the lot of them back against the current from where they came.
The cycle is repeated over and over.  There is a lazy appearance to the movement of the floating colored leaves.
As a matter of fact, nothing seems to be moving fast back here at the mouth of Slick Rock Creek accept the creek itself.
The stream is tumbling over and around boulders at a fast pace but, to watch and listen to the moving water, fast as it is flowing; the casual observer is lulled into a lackadaisical state of mind.

So, here we all are, lackadaisical and relaxed, if not near asleep.  After all; we can do anything we want to back here.  We've escaped from the idiocy and foolishness of reality.

I can hear no noise from any modern appliance as I sit here along this creek.

There is no sound from the modern world interfering with the sublime.

This makes me think about the explorers and woodsmen who roamed the wilderness in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds.  Many of those hearty souls spent their entire lives on the frontier and in the wilderness.

My camp here tonight is quiet and lonely, but for the dogs.  What of theirs?  Every single day and night must have been as quiet as my camp is tonight.  Brief visits to small outposts or a pioneer cabin no doubt occurred. 

But, for the most part of his life, the frontiersman was isolated from society, such as it was in those days.  I know I will leave this beautiful, quiet place tomorrow and deal with the traffic on route 129.  The frontiersman would expect every day and every night to be spent in solitude.  I wonder what type personality that isolation would breed?  I'll bet those men were alpha male types for sure.  Certainly they were men who understood the ways of all things natural.

George Washington laid praise upon his scouts, all frontiersmen and seasoned woodsmen, when he said "the French with their Huron devils can never surprise us, for my scouts can scent them at quite a distance."  Those woodsmen had to be closer related to animals than human to exist alone in the forests in those perilous times.
What amazing personalities they must have had.  I can only imagine.

We climbed the cliff to the old fisherman's trail and hiked along it for a ways.  The sun was going down as was the temperature and I thought it prudent we return.  The footing is unsure on this steep rocky cliff.

An old rotten foot bridge is located in the upper right corner of the shot to the left.

The entrance to the old trail from the stream is vague and could easily be missed

I am amazed at the deplorable condition of the foot bridges since just last year.  They are rotten and it appears the earth has pushed out away from the cliff side and with it went the bridges.

The trail is a rustic one and the bridges are reminiscent of the old days.  They probably were built in the "old days."  Old, old days!

It was Douglas who found this trail for me last year.  I had heard of it but gave it no thought until one day I was searching for him and happened to look up the cliff side and there he was, standing looking down at me.  I called and he ran really fast;  to fast to be dodging trees and brush.  I found my way up to his position and the rest is history.  A few days later I discovered the trails name;  Slick Rock Trail.. She's a beaut!

The views of Slick Rock Creek are fantastic from the high trail

The camera can not capture and do justice what I'm seeing here.  If I can convey only a part of the beauty of this scene;  then I've accomplished something.

A view out the channel of Slick Rock Creek to the main lake is at right.

Finally;  a cluttered view up the main lake from the trail.

Shade prances back down the narrow fisherman's trail to me and reminds me it's time to get off this cliff side.  Now where is the prince of the lake, Douglas?  Oh, I see him.  He's down there already.  Loner!
The climb down isn't bad at all.  The sun is in my face and will make photography difficult.  No matter.  I've got enough pictures anyway.  Taking pictures is addictive.  The dogs play in the water and on the stream bank the whole way back to camp.  This day is super special for them.

I wish he would be more careful near this fast water.  I guess he knows what he's doing though.

I'm sure glad I found Shade.  She has turned out to be a great companion and Douglas loves her company.  They really compliment each other  when in the woods.
Both these dogs have the knack for sticking on vertical cliff sides.  They are amazing!  I've seen each of them climb almost straight up a steep, high cliff and not slip once.  It's incredible how each foot finds exactly the correct placement, never slipping or coming down wrong.  Poweful muscles can be seen working on their backs as their strong legs push them up the wall in front of them.  And, then they come back down just as easily as they went up.
Back at camp at last.  Feels good to sit down and just watch things around me.  Shade and Douglas find spots to relax in also.  Shade is behind my chair and Douglas is down the trail fifty feet away.  He's sure a loner.  When he wants attention;  he will approach.  But, not until he wants something.  Shade, on the other hand, is all over me for attention.  Quite a pair of partners I have.

Shade just leaped to her feet and entered into a fit of barking.  Douglas joined in.  Shade is frantically running up and then back along the stream, her head turning constantly.
They have a fix.  Both are looking directly down the trail.  Shade ran up the side of the cliff to gain altitude and to see farther.  I'm amazed at that really.  The sun is almost all the way down and it is difficult to see far.  One never knows what to expect, especially out here.   I lifted my shirt exposing the holster that holds the 357 Sig Glock, just to be on the safe side.  It's probably nothing.
And, it was nothing.  Two backpackers were working their way along that high trail I call the fisherman's trail.  I can see them but can hear nothing of them.  No one can approach without these two friends noticing.  They sure makes me feel safe.  They're my wilderness alarm system.

The back packers must have kept moving on up along the creek.  There is a camping spot further up beside the first waterfall, maybe three hundred yards away.  They probably thought there was a pack of wild dogs on the loose out here..

If they camp there I believe they may have a couple visitors tonight looking for handouts.   I don't care where they go as long as I can't hear or see em.  I like backpackers.  They understand what the story is out here and they respect the wilderness.  They're alright in my book.
I'll sleep good tonight because I have scouts posted on the perimeter of the camp.  What an alert pair!

Douglas!  You're supposed to be one of two elite guardians and fully alert too!  Hey!  Well, I still have Shade watching.

Great Scott!  Shade!  Up girl;  up!  Be on alert.  Oh man;  what am I gonna do with em?

They both are super fun to be with.  Great, great companions and friends.

We all just finished a fine dinner.  I had a can of Bushe's best baked beans and then pulled the stops out for Douglas and Shade.  I prepared their favorite.  One large can of Dinty Moore beef stew mixed with chunky Retriever canned dog food,  sprinkled dried oat meal over the top and simmered to a perfect 100 degrees.   They couldn't get enough.  What a meal!  They're my kids and nothings too good for em.
The backpackers are staying at the lowest water fall as I suspected they would.  The dogs are alert and vigil, really.  I know they can hear the people talking even though I can not.

Happy's presence is missed tonight.  That little dog is my constant sleeping buddy.  The only problem with her is her desire to yap or yip if you'd rather.  She is the happiest little dog on the earth and she yips and yaps to express her exuberance.  So, I didn't bring her but, I wish I would have now.
It will be pitch dark in another thirty minutes and time for a fire, maybe.  I'm getting a bit weary after chasing after the two dogs all day.  This entry is written as if a diary of sorts.  I didn't plan it that way but, sometimes that's how it works.  Someday, when I am done blogging, I think I'll print the entire blog to disk,  realign the individual entries together in like kind and in sequence to create continuity, proof it and make a book.  Oh well;  just thinking.

I can safely say one thing for sure.  I have spent the entire day here in this beautiful place and have accomplished absolutely nothing.  It's a great feeling not having to be constantly striving to be successful.  Think about it.  The purpose of relaxation is not having to be working to be successful.
But, at the same time I'm enjoying the life of a very successful person even though I don't consider myself successful.  Do I mean to say one should work hard to achieve success?  Yes, that's a true statement.  I've worked hard all my life and was guided by a work ethic second to none.  I'm ancient now but not financially successful.  Ah ha!  Key word again.  (financially successful)
No, I don't have much money but, as I look around me here tonight I am enjoying more success than one man should have.  And, I consider, by my standards, myself richer than anyone I know.
I wish Socrates were alive.  He and I could have talked.  The guy I really would have loved to meet is Henry David Thoreau.  I know I butchered the  spelling of his name.  Now, that fellow would have introduced me to his pet rock or simply said, "there's my pet rock."  I need to re-read Thoreau soon.  I wonder if he liked canoes?
It's pitch dark and I couldn't see Shade anywhere.  I looked all around the camp.  I walked to the boat and found her sitting in the back of the boat all alone, staring out onto the lake.  Who knows what they think?  I called her to me and told her to sit, which she did.  I put my arms around her and held her tight until her tail started thumping against the ground.  Something bothered her.  I don't know what.
She needed comforting and afterward, everything is all right.  I wished I would have discovered the wonders of dogs earlier in life.
I've missed so much.  It's gratifying to be able to make a sad dog happy.  Guess it's the same with kids but then, I never had one of them.

The damn fire!  I bought a bundle of wood on the way up here and its oak boards cut into 24 inch lengths.  It's reluctant to catch a spark.  Oh, I'll get it.  They don't call me Woody Woodsman for nothing.  Woodrow Woodsman.  Now, there's a name.  Notice that I'm writing whatever comes to mind.  I'm tired of fussing with the wood and the fire.  I think I'll just enjoy the warmth of the sleeping bag.  Come on Shade....

It is a spectacular morning.  We took a hike up along the creek and rested on a big boulder that was catching the morning sun.  This has been quite a camping experience.  We'll load up and slowly meander back to the dock.   See ya next time.  Enjoy Fall and don't forget the sandhill cranes.
Parting Shots
The two finest companions a man could ask for.