Monday, August 8, 2011

CHEROKEE LAKE HAS IT'S OWN KIND OF AMBIANCE

This huge lake is totally void of boats and totally quiet today.
I was on the water at 6AM this morning enjoying the cool breeze as I cruised along my area in search of fishermen in boats.  Today was Happy's day to ride along.  I couldn't get Shade out of the air conditioned house.  Funny girl!

Entrance to German Creek
 We left Oak Grove boat ramp, an isolated ramp, and headed downstream to German Creek.  German Creek cuts North under the Lake Shore Highway and continues on until Route 11W crosses over it at it's extreme Northern tip.  The lake is being lowered as Fall approaches and the course has to be watched very carefully.  Later on I'll show you what I mean.  There is a picturesque marina on the left at the entrance to German Creek.  See above.

Happy loves riding the boat
 I like this area as it has low human habitation.  The further North one travels up the river, the fewer people can be found and, the more treacherous the waterway becomes.   Submerged mud hills and stone piles (tops of hills) are nearing the surface of the ever lowering water. 
The scenery is grand.  Can't beat early morning on a lake.  Just can't
All that brown shoreline is normally covered with water.  The lake appears to be dropping fast.  When I show you these same areas next month;  you will be totally amazed.  It's unbelievable how the lake changes.
But for now, it's beautiful.

The rising sun seems to have focused on this one spot of shoreline
I have been on the water for abut ninety minutes and have not seen one fishing or pleasure boat.  The entire run up German Creek to Highway 11 bridge was devoid of any human activity.  Odd, it seems, for a lake this large.  I'm not covering the entire lake;  only one assigned section of it.  The lake is divided into eight sections, or areas, and I follow a schedule that places me in a predesignated area each day.  I'm sure that other parts of the lake have fishermen on them.  It's time to leave German Creek and motor across the edge of my area to the other side of Cherokee Lake and work my way along the islands, inlets and shorline there.

Happy is funny.  The wind gets under her ears and lifts them.  She's a darling little girl.

Happy has gathered a lot of courage over the past weeks.  She used to run back to me and lay or sit between my feet when I'd push the throttle.  Now, she stands on point looking for submerged rock piles for me.
Last year and up as recent as a month ago I couldn't get her to move away from me on the boat.  Now she moves from side to side peering into the water and testing the passing breezes.
The breeze is rapidly turning into wind and will soon whip the wide open water areas of the lake into rolling waves and maybe white caps.  We  should be behind a string of large islands across the lake and in quiet water fairly quickly.  It's almost lunch time and I have a left knee that is acting tricky that needs a bit of walking.
I'll look for a nice quiet piece of shoreline to park the boat and walk off this little ache I have going on in my left knee.
I usually do a thirty minute stop to eat a sandwich or some fruit and down a quart of water.  I'm ready to go again after that.  It gives what ever dog I have along time to stretch legs and do whatever.  This is a pretty spot and has a quietness about it.  Cherokee is a huge lake and there are uncountable coves and stretches of back water where few people go.
I would be interested in seeing the beaver that worked on this tree.  He's long gone I suppose.  This is a very, very old beaver chew and is normally under water.  It's the only sign of beaver I've seen on this area of the lake.  Of course, I haven't put boots to the ground yet either.
I've always liked to find oddities in the wilds.  The tree above is alive even though it's roots are submerged totally in water for most of it's life.  It is stunted and deformed but, it clings to the here and now.

Rose Mallow or (Swamp Rose)

Rose Mallow (Swamp Rose)
 Gorgeous!
OK, Happy.  Get the stick.
Happy is the only dog I've had in the family who will not only swim out and retrieve the stick but, will bring it all the way back to me and lay it at my feet.
It sure doesn't take much to keep her contented.
Who would have thought a little terrier would act like a retriever?
I noticed some strange tracks following the shoreline at the water's edge.  There appeared to be no shape to them.  I'm at a loss to even guess what they belong to.  They are deep and fairly fresh but, the imprint is inexact in appearance.

The tracks are in a straight line and evenly spaced.  Very, very odd.

These are a new thing to me....
Look at the track below.  I found BigFoot.  I laid my wallet beside the track for size.  Look at it closely and you'll see the heel and the toes.  Whew!  Ain't campin near here!

It's been about a half hour and we had better shove off.  The wind has picked up and the main lake will have heavy waves on it and maybe white caps.  We'll see how this boat rides out there.
Check out the above shot.  That is a mud hill, as I call them.  Look how far from shore it is.  I was moving along in 45 foot deep water and in an instant I was in 5 feet of water.  A bit more and the boat would have made contact.  Fortunately I have Happy on the bow keeping a look out.
As the lake is drawn down, more and more dangerous spots like this one will appear.
The point is that all it would take to hide this dangerous spot totally is about a foot more of water on top it.  The danger still would be there, only worse.  At least now it can be seen if one is carefully looking.  Water skiers beware!

We're out of here and heading for open water.
It's quite a different world out here


This boat rides like it's on air.  Handles great in the waves.
It's sure changing quickly out here.  A bit more and white caps will form.  We're at the end of the shift and the truck isn't far.  It's just across this huge bay.
The bouy indicates a rock pile is beneath it just under the surface.  In other words theres a mountain top only a foot or two under the surface.
There's another.  Got ta be on yer toes....
The rest of the ride back was uneventful.  Nothing broke down and I didn't hit a rock pile or get stuck on a mud hill.  I only saw one lonley fisherman.  He was a really nice guy and I spent some time in conversation with him.  His aluminum boat was rigged totally wrong.  The front of the thing was way out of the water and the stern only had about four inches of freeboard.    I told him if a wave hit him from behind he'll swamp.  He said he knew that and I just shut up about it.  He had a thirty pound anchor, the portable fuel tank, him and his seat, the trolling motor and two batteries, all in the back of the boat.  Don't change things though.  He was an enjoyable character to talk to.  Most fishermen are. 
It was a nice morning but I wish I could have seen more fishermen and weighed more fish.  That's how it goes out there.  I couldn't wait to get home for some ice water.  Look who was waiting on the porch step when I pulled up to the house.  Look on the steps.  She  finally left the air conditioned bed room and went to the garage through the house, exited the dog door and laid on the steps till I came home.  Love her!
Oh;  check out my living room decor below:

Well;  suits me!  Tomorrow's another day on the lake.  Hope to see you then.

I think of you every minite of the day Douglas.  You'll never be far from my thoughts and never ever will you leave my heart