Wednesday, November 30, 2011

AMERICA THAT I LOVE------You Better Wake Up and Fast

 I'm not a political person and I don't ever want to use this blog site as a platform for my political beliefs.  Some things I can not abide with.  This is one of them.  Who would struggle on a battle field to uphold laws for America like the one depicted in the below video?   Actually, the proposition depicted in the video is so ridiculous it's almost laughable if it weren't for the fact that it's real.  Think, think, think!!!
If you haven't watched this video;  you need to.  Put party preferences aside and just listen to it.  Ask yourselves if this is what I want for my family.  Guess what;   it goes into effect in 2014 and you'll have to learn to like it.
This is nuts! I can't believe an educated leader would even consider anything in this video for Americans. What idiocy! It's the most indecent proposition I've heard of. Rates right up there with mandating that pizza is now a vegetable. Well; I guess ya gotta look at who's doing the mandating. And, they're all in agreement about the pizza. We're doomed in this country.  If a new government isn't installed; the United States will be on an irreversible plunge into a black, bottomless abyss and will be destroyed. Wonder what it takes to wake up the population to this fraud we have as a president? He's a damn fraud! I don't care about Democrats or Republicans, blue people or black people or Martians. Look at this ridiculous representation of a president we are stuck with. Just look at him. He's not a joke. He's the most dangerous individual who has ever been entwined in the web of national government since it's inception. Don't listen to Rush Limbaugh or Shawn Hannity or Mark Levine. Forget them. Use the head you were born with and just rationalize the situation on your own. No half conscious American can believe this guy is helping America. He's destroying it. He's destroying everything that historical blood has been shed for. He's on an agenda of some sorts and it isn't to strengthen This country. I don't know what it is but, it's obvious it isn't to better the American people. The illegal immigrants got it made. Votes. The blacks of the country got it made. Votes. And, now we want to help Somalia. Ever hear of the Samolian pirates? Yep; Somalia is scheduled to receive billions in aid. "Welcome to the USA Samolian citizen." Votes. This is just a damn rant but, I hate to see the blood of our forefathers, and damn near my own, who sacrificed it all for the protection of this nation we live in and "shop" in, defiled and diluted to the consistency of alcohol. Maybe our congress could designate blood a vegetable and levy a food tax on blood recipients.
Better yet; levy a capital gains tax on blood "banks."

Monday, November 28, 2011


It was back on the agency clock today after a few days off for the holiday.  I looked forward to getting back on the government boat and on the water.  The weather was not cooperating very much, however.  Today, also, was Falcor's first day on the big boat.  We arrived at the boat ramp before sun up.  That's when I got depressed.  I don't know what came over me but, when I looked at that bare shoreline I instantly felt less than excited.  This lake, rock quarry, Cherokee Lake has got to be the ugliest piece of man made work there is in Tennessee.  Douglas Lake is number two.  Even in the dark the thing is ugly.  

The kids looking good
I have, and am, trying to find something about the lake I find appealing.  There is nothing.  Absolutely nothing!  I have driven a motorcycle across Death Valley in Nevada numerous times and there isn't a plant growing in that place.   It is wall to wall sand and rocks farther than the eye can see.  I've been across it when the temperatures were 126 degrees and I find it more appealing than this mud and rock infested soup bowl.  Thank heavens I can jump in the truck and find gorgeous lakes West of here, where I came from.  I deal with this hole in the ground because I look upon it as a job and nothing more.  When I need peace of mind;  I head back West to Tellico, Indian Boundary and Calderwood Lakes where the water is sweet and the shorelines are gorgeous.  I mean;  just look at the boat ramp in the picture below:
That's the state boat at the end of the ramp in the water.  The water normally is way up here above Falcor past the bottom of the photograph.  That's nuts!  I mean look at that!  That brown should be covered with water.  Well;  it's a flood control dam.  That it is.  But, it's a money dam.  Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has at least seven dams on the Little Tennessee River alone, as I recall and every one of them produces power..  This one produces power also.  Power and the all important flood control.  Homo Sapians control too much of nature and things natural.  Way too much!  It would take a hell of a lot of water to fill this empty hole right now.  It would take a Noah event I'd say.  I guess it's a good day to rant a bit.  Who in the world would pay good money for a home on "the lake?"   They do.  People pay extravagant sums for enormous houses "on the lake."   I meet and ask people;  "Where do you live?"
They reply; "We have a place right on the lake."
I just keep quiet.  Guess it's pretty when it's full of water----------three months out of the year.
Anyway;  we were off.  I didn't expect to see any fishermen out today but, I had to make a pass through the area.  Falcor was sporting his new floatation jacket.  I wouldn't think of taking him out here without that.  He was a good little guy for me on the boat. 
He inspected the deck and came back and sat beside me.  I noticed he kept his muzzle pointed up like another friend of mine used to do.  Falcor will work out fine.
It was drizzling and the wind had kicked up a notch.  Waves were forming quickly and I haven't seen a soul out here.  We would cruise back toward the boat ramp.  We have been out for three hours and enough is enough.  We'd finish out the shift checking the boat ramps and the shoreline for guys who just park their cars and walk down to the water to fish.   In the case of this lake they would "hike" down to the water to fish.
Falcor was messing around at the edge of the woods, back at the boat ramp.  I yelled at him to come, which he ignored.  We gotta work on that.  So, I walked up there to where he was.  This brings us to rant number two.
Some hunter drags his deer kill down the walking path to his car and cleans and butchers it on the trail.  He then happily leaves the entrails and hide laying right on the trail for all the ladies, kids and dogs to step over and walk around in the mornings until someone makes their husband or kid go down and drag it away.  I've seen this before on walking paths near lakes.  I'm not an anti hunter but, this action just simply pisses me totally off.  Hunters, excuse me, sportsmen and women are constantly griping about how "no hunting" signs are gradually robbing them of hunting area.  I hear it all the time.  Wonder why?  If I owned this property I'd have no hunting signs posted immediately, clear around it.  TVA owns this particular property and they could care less.  The point is that when residents see this inconsiderate action perpetrated by "sportsmen", they are repulsed and sickened by it and their opinion of hunting and respect for "sportsmen"  is lessened to a great degree.  Know what?  It should be.  This display left by an uncaring hunter negatively affects his sport and his ability to justify his presence on people's property.  There;  I got one more rant out.

A tired little guy
I made a pot of coffee when I got home and sat on the porch and enjoyed the antics of my house mates as they played in the rain.  It rained hard and is still raining now at 8PM.  I love a rainy night.  Love rain anytime.  I even like to camp in the rain.   There's just something peaceful about it.  Falcor is dead to the world here beside my chair.  He did well today.  I can't wait until he gets older.  He is still a puppy at seven months of age and has a habit of chewing things he shouldn't.  But, he is well mannered and has bonded with me.  As you can see above;  where ever I am;  he follows.

Next day off it's back one more time to the Scona Lodge site to see what that strange building is on the mountain.  I'm taking Haint bullets with me.  As my friend Paul says; Haint bullets are invisible.  OK!  I hope I can find em...

Sunday, November 27, 2011


click on photos to enlarge

As usual, I have to apologize for the less than acceptable photography.  Small camera, shooting into the sun and camera shake due to me shaking from heavy breathing.  Whew!  I really need to take the big camera but, when I'm making time through the forest and up mountains;  it's too heavy.  I'm getting this Scona project wrapped up soon and can get back to more casual exploring.  The problem is that I live so far away that when I get to Chilhowee Lake ;  it's noon, or close to it, and the sun is high.  I miss the early morning soft light. The small camera doesn't have the manual adjustments to allow me to compensate.   I used to live close to the lake and could be there in 30 minutes and start before daylight.  Now it's mid morning or noon until I can get into action.  It's just the way it is.
The little girl, Anne, who spent her youth at Scona, told me of two homes that sat up a "holler" near the trout pond.   I discovered a map that clearly designated the spot where the homes were.  Today, Falcor and I would hike back to that spot and photograph what we find.
This day would be Falcor's first big day in the true wilds and on the big lake.  It proved to be a test for him from the very start.
I must remember I am dealing with a 7 month old dog basically, a puppy.  He acts older than he really is, due to his education no doubt,  and it instills a trust and confidence in me that he has some common sense.  Funny;  dogs don't have common sense.  Dumb me!  It's been a long time since I had to deal with a puppy.
I put the boat in the water and had to lift Falcor in.  He would not enter.  I had the same problem with every dog I ever had on the water.  No big deal.  I pushed the boat away from the dock and turned the key to start the engine.  Falcor, on the bow deck, simply decided to walk off the boat and onto the lower surface which was water.  He had no idea about water, other than splashing around in the stream.  This lake surface looked solid to him.  He plunged in and disappeared beneath the surface.  My heart leaped!  I threw my cell phone on the floor and took off my fleece and prepared to jump in after him.  He was out of sight a good five full seconds.  Just as I was about to go in;  I saw what looked like a white soft ball rising from the darkness, toward the surface, slowly.  This was the first time he ever had to swim and obviously didn't coordinate the paddling well.  He was coming up too slowly.  I leaned over the edge and plunged into the water up over my shoulders and grabbed his hair and pulled him the rest of the way up.  He was fine.  Douglas did the same thing on his first voyage but, he stayed on top.  The life jacket will be on Falcor from this point on until he is totally acclimated to swimming.
The drive across the lake was uneventful and I beached the boat at the same spot as last trip.  The hollow I wanted to hike was directly in front of the boat.  How lucky is that?!
Look directly over the troll motor, the white thing with the black end, and you'll see heavy foliage.  That is where Scona Lodge would be able to be seen had it not been destroyed.  That thick foliage is Kudzu.  That is the only spot on that shoreline that contains Kudzu.  I believe it was planted there directly on top the lodge site to further eradicate traces of its existence.
We'll land and tie off onto those two trees ahead
The trail was easy to follow and the sites of the two homes were identified not far away.

The Gibson's selected a gorgeous spot to build homes on.  This is beautiful back here.  The first home sat on the right side of the trail and the second was a hundred feet up the trail and sat on the left side and up a little cut in the mountain side.  A small hollow came down in front of the second house.  There wasn't much to see. 
A foundation wall was visible where the first house sat.  This was the support for the front wall and is just about all there is as testament to habitation.  A few odds and ends could be seen lying about on the ground.
There was less to see where the second house stood.  Both these sites will soon be obliterated from view as the forest is reclaiming it's land.  Chicken wire was here and there and everywhere.
The only remnants of the second house were a few roof pieces scattered about and a drain pipe that channeled off water from the property.  The pipe dumped run off into a small ditch.  Water flowed from that pipe even today.

A tile pipe is broken off back inside the above hole.  It was a drain for water

I had hoped there would be fallen down houses back here.  The destruction of Scona has been very complete.  I don't know if these places were bought by the big company and destroyed or, if nature simply worked it's destructive magic.  The entire Scona site is almost entirely eradicated to the point that soon, no evidence will remain to prove it's existence.  
Come on Falcor;  we've just begun.
There must have been a million turkeys back here.  They had the entire mountain side scratched up.
I counted over 20 scratch marks on the mountain sides.  A herd of turkeys for sure!
I hiked on up the draw past the Gibson site to the top of the mountain.  This is the prettiest section I've seen on this side of the lake. 
The forest is open the whole way up the draw.  It does no good to photograph such areas in a forest as the pictures can not capture the real views.  The camera I have is inadequate for such photography and even my big camera doesn't have the proper lens for this type work.  You can, however, get a feel for the terrain.

OK;  I'm coming.  Relax.  Don't get yer hair all ruffled up!
I had another little friend before, who would wait impatiently on the trail for dad.
  We were finally on top the mountain above the Gibsons.  Falcor started a low growl and I thought, "Oh no, not Haints again."
I didn't have any strange sensations on this side of the trout pond and on this mountain at any time.  He was onto something else.
I caught a glimpse of white far across the draw on the other side, half way up the mountain.  I'm surprised my worn out eyes saw it.  A White Tail Deer slowly stepped from tree to clearing, to tree ever so slowly.  I can't imagine how Falcor could have sensed that deer.  It was so far away that to see or hear anything would be impossible, even for a field dog.  It's all in the nose I guess. 

I saw a strange building on top the mountain behind the trout pond that I never saw before.  It has been hidden by the tree leaves and brush.  I photographed it from the lake on the way over.  I wanted to go up Anne's trail one more time.  After that;  we would work around behind the trout pond, cross the creek and climb up to this strange building.  Again;  pardon the poor photos.  I shot straight into the sun.  It's too late in the morning for this.  This may be a castle full of Haints.
It appears to be round but, I can't be sure. 
Scona Lodge used a dammed up creek as a water source.  I photographed it.  Maybe, in later years, a water tower was built.  If so;  it's a big un!
We drove the boat to the lodge site and started up the now, familiar trail.  I wanted to make one more run on this trail to see if there was anything I missed on previous visits.

I wanted to try to get to the strange building before climbing up the trail.  We would work around behind the trout pond and cross the creek to the base of the mountain where the strange apparition was located.
The water was flowing fast in the creek and it was deep.  I searched for a crossing.  Falcor found many crossings.  He bounded through the water from one side of the creek to the other.  A pair of rubber boots would be required for me, however.
 There is no way I can get across.  We'll go back and climb the trail behind the lodge site.  The strange building is across from the overflow at the trout pond on the opposite mountain top.  I can get to it from the lake shore next time over.

Above:  A pontoon boat beached on the boulders along the overflow of the trout pond.  The problem is that Alcoa dropped the lake level during the day and he's sitting on dry rocks.  I can't imagine what he will do.  I guess wait until the lake level rises.  That could be next Spring. 
These are steps at the Scona Lodge boat launch.  I've never seen them before.

The trail up the mountain at the lodge is very familiar now.  It is steep.  Falcor would need watching.  Gotta remember;  puppy, puppy;  no experience.

The trail goes up, between those two boulders.

Again;  the sun is straight overhead and I'm shooting uphill into it.  Sorry..

This is a cliff.  The drop is straight down.  A fall from here would hurt.
Careful little boy!

A fall from here would result in worse than hurt.

It is a few hundred feet straight down from that promontory in the above picture.  Whew!

Above:  Falcor is truly standing on the edge of the world.  He really is!

I saw what I came to see.  There's not much left of Scona.  It's gone into history, I'm afraid accept, it isn't history until it's existence has been documented.  I will do that.  I have collected enough data to do a decent job of presenting a picture of what the lodge was like.  I will not do so until I have a few more photographs to highlight the dialogue.  The lodge, trap and skeet range and the gulf course;  all cut out of rugged territory are all gone.  They are gone like the Gibson's houses and the extravagant cabins that stood along side the trap range.   Gone, also, are many of the people who have been associated with the magnificent lodge;  and with them go the memories of wonderful times spent there.  An old patio, overgrown with vines and fallen trees, along with a silted trout pond, an old spring house and a dammed up creek filled with sediment that once provided a source of water for the lodge, are all that remain.  Soon, what man could not completely accomplish, nature will finish.  After all, when it's all said and done;  Nature will always win.  Always!

Love and miss ya Douglas.