Friday, December 2, 2011


A Comforting Piece of Information
The sign above pertains to the Rock Quarry.  Well, there's probably nothing to it.  The word "thought" is inserted in the sentence to indicate (unconfirmed.)  They'll figure it out for sure in a few more years.  No big deal!

Today was a strange day on the job.  My designated work area to work on was located at the North end of the lake.  The Rock Quarry narrows down considerably as it takes on the form of, and actually becomes,  the Holston River at it's Northern end.   The water is very shallow at that end of the lake.  The important thing about it is that the lake embayments are very deep.  They can be up to 175 feet deep at full pool (when full of water.)  The river is, at best, 47 feet deep at full pool.  Therefore, when the lake is lowered by TVA, the river is "really" lowered, and so are all the streams that flow into it.  To make a long story shorter;  it was very difficult to find water deep enough this morning to launch the boat in.  The boat ramp areas were very shallow and made me think hard about chancing a launch.  The option to launching the boat was to walk the shoreline in search of bank fishermen or anglers in boats very close to shore.

You may remember a canoe ride I did a few months back in the Champlain up Clouds Creek.  A highlight of that paddle trip was a big farm dog splashing toward the canoe.  Below is a current picture of Clouds Creek taken from a bridge on Route 11W.

It was low when I paddled it and the banks were solid mud every inch of the trip.  But now;  well, the only word I can use to describe it is obnoxious.  The next picture gives a better idea of the depth of the water.

It's hard to believe this is the same creek I paddled a canoe on just a few months ago.  It's a shame that the control of one large body of water, the Rock Quarry, should have such a traumatic affect on every stream and creek that flows into it.  All the creeks are like the one below.  I don't know what I'm trying to say here.  The situation is what it is.  The Rock Quarry (Cherokee Dam) is a flood control dam and I guess it has to be this way.  TVA knows best.  Because of how Cherokee Dam is controlled;  every stream associated with it is ruined for any recreational use whatsoever;  unless you enjoy mud hiking.
We were heading to the boat ramp on Caney Creek.  There just might be a chance the water is at least four feet deep, deep enough to float a boat.
The ramp at Caney Creek

I wouldn't even attempt to put my canoe in that hole.  It's disgusting!  You can see how shallow the water is in the next photo taken at the end of the ramp.

The channel leading away from the ramp may be three feet deep in spots.  Even if a boat the size of mine could get past the bridge that's ahead;  the creek channel is only about a boat width and a half wide.  Wander out of the tiny channel and it's "bent prop" time.  It's not worth it. 
There is a power sub station down highway 11W with a small boat ramp that I saw from the lake.  I think I can find it if I just follow the power lines.  We'll see.

Well, there goes that idea
Pretty, isn't it?  Quarryville boat ramp is down the road five miles but I can't put the boat in the water there either.  The concrete ramp is in very shallow water now and the gravel/mud shoreline is used by fishermen to launch their boats.  They have four wheel drive trucks though.  I don't..  My new four wheel drive truck will be in sometime after January.  Until then;  I need concrete ramps to launch this 22 foot boat.  End of story. 
We, Falcor & I, will drive to Quarryville boat ramp, park the rig and walk the shoreline.  There are always anglers fishing from the shoreline adjacent to the boat ramp.  I love to hike and am looking forward to this new job experience.

Ah;  now we're getting somewhere.  Pristine shorelines!  Ya;  this is where it's at.  I jest, of course...

Just amazing!  Anyhow;  we walked up the shoreline for about a mile and turned around and walked back.  then we went down along the lake for maybe a half mile.  It was profitable.  We interviewed five anglers fishing from the bank.  When we were getting into the truck at the ramp parking lot;  two guys came off the lake and I got to talk to them.  I probably wouldn't have seen that many fishermen if I was on the boat cruising the lake this morning.  It all worked out.
As we were driving out of the parking lot I remembered the old grave yard behind the Baptist Church that I saw last month.  We had time to take a walk through it.  It's a neat old place that has a lot of ancient tomb stones sitting in disarray.  I don't understand why this holy place is not cared for.

The church is neat as a pin.  The graveyard behind it is, well, see for yourself.

Later tonight I will get on the Internet and see what I can find out about this cemetery. It has the potential to be a gorgeous place.  For now, it resembles someplace out of an Edgar Allen Poe novel.

Yep;  Edgar Allen Poe novel.
I notice that many of the stones are dated from 1750's through early 1800.  Do you realize that Americas Seven Year War was underway in 1763?  This is amazing!  Here lie folks who were alive during the Seven Year War.  Oh;  that would be The French and Indian War for those of you who didn't like history.  Remember the movie Last Of The Mohicans?  That should date it for ya.

The dates are almost gone on some of the stones.
Wow;  where did this place come from?  I notice some modern era stones in this yard.  They are mostly by themselves, segregated from the old historical stones.  Ah Oh;  segregation----Government obviously doesn't know about this place.  The stone above is lying flat on the ground.

A thought just struck me.  When TVA dammed up the Little Tennessee and the Holston;  they had to move all the grave yards, except for a lot of Indian burial sites.   Where would they move them to.  I bet this yard holds some of the old grave stones from the valley before the dam was flooded.  Betcha.  That's why they are falling over due to haphazard placement.  No one is caring for them because those buried here don't belong to anyone from this neighborhood.  Just a thought.
The next Sunday I'm working this end of the lake;  I'll stop in and talk to the preacher at this church.

It's a pretty place, in a way.

At least the folks residing in this cemetery have a nice view of the lake.  They can't see the mud shoreline because they are above it.   I like it here.  This cemetery has the potential to be a center piece for the community if someone would apply some vision about it. 

We walked down to the water and I let Falcor be a dog for awhile.  We played fetch the stick and he splashed and played in his water environment.
I want to make something clear.  This lake is a work lake for me.  It's business.  I have the best job in the world and it happens to be on the Rock Quarry.  It's no big deal.  It's sort of like a guy who absolutely loves his job in industry.  Maybe he's a plant manager.  He can't wait to get to work and make a difference.  The only thing is;  he works in an antiquated, ugly factory that needs a new roof and all the windows replaced.   I can't wait to get to the lake every morning with the boat.  Can't wait!  It's just a rocky mud hole in reality.  No big deal.  When I want to enjoy the wild water and the forests;  I simply take the boat or canoe back West where I used to live.  That's just how it is.

 I'll end this submission by showing you the Christmas tree at the office in Morristown.  The ladies that actually run the Region IV office in Morristown assure me that this is it.  I don't know;  maybe the state is really tightening up on the budget.  Tongue in cheek here....It's a beaut though!  Must have taken days to decorate.  Look closely at the Christmas balls hanging on the majestic limbs.  See ya.