Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A SPECTACULAR RAINY DAY ON CHEROKEE LAKE

click photos to enlarge Yes;  you read the title to this entry correctly.  I used the words "Cherokee Lake" instead of rock quarry.  That's because the lake took on a very different look this morning.  It was the rain and dark skies that did it.  The water scenes were awesome!
Falcor and I got to the lake at sun up and instantly launched the boat.  I discovered why he would not come to me when called the other day.  I put that little film in a previous blog showing him ignoring me.  I beached the boat on the shore until I could park the truck.  I then walked down toward the boat.  Falcor ran to the bow of the boat ahead of me.  It was obvious he couldn't wait to get on.  But, he didn't try.  I jumped aboard and called him.  He looked at me and barked.  Then he stood against the boat with his paws just over the edge of the bow.  He was intimidated with the distance he had to jump to get on the boat.  That was it.  He knew, the other day that we were returning to the boat and he refused to come to me because of that jump to the bow.  Stupid me!  I jumped off and lifted him up.  He was good to go after donning his life jacket.
The rain was falling hard.  The ambient temperature wasn't what I would call cold.  It was, well, nice.  I pulled on the rain pants and slid into the top and we were off.  This was great!  I absolutely love rainy weather.  I can't explain all of it but, I love angry weather, especially when I'm on the water.  I won't go out in 25 mile per hour winds with rain, lightning and thunder.  I'd have to be nuts to do that.  But a steady rain sooths the soul.  The boat has a tower with a top on it and provides good protection against rain that falls straight down.  Falcor ignored everything and went about his business as usual.
The air smelled clean and fresh and the rain wasn't cold.  Everything was right with the morning.  I doubted I would see any fishermen this shift but, I was on a fantastic boat with a good friend and I set the throttle on 25 miles per hour and enjoyed the spin around my area of responsibility.  I noticed there were many more animals active today than usual.  I think that's because there were no motor boats creating tense moments for all the critters.
The lake just didn't resemble the rock quarry I see every day.  The place was beautiful this morning.  Fog clung to the mountains and to the tops of trees on the islands creating a soft textured effect when combined with the dark and gray of the rainy skies.
I noticed a movement in the water against a shoreline.
A quick look through the binoculars indicated a beaver was cruising along enjoying a morning swim.

There was something odd about the way this beaver appeared.






Look closely at the markings on his fir.  Is that not strange?

















I've never encountered a beaver with stripes on his coat before.  What's that all about?  He was a pretty one though.
He knew where I was and he knew the boat was following him.  There was no sneaking up on this guy.  You've got to have a canoe to be able to do that.




I tried to get in front of him for a head on picture but,  he would have none of it.











I was making him nervous so it was time to break off the meeting.  What a nice thing to see on a rainy day.  It was pouring rain the whole time and photography was difficult.  I was trying to keep the camera dry and make adjustments at the same time.  Should have just put it on automatic and pushed the shutter.
I think what appears as stripes is his wet, oily hair clinging together to form long lines of compacted hair appearing like streaks.  Either that or his dad was messing around with a Cheshire Cat.











And all of a sudden;  he disappeared in a flash;  or I should say "in a splash."

A Grebe makes his way along the shoreline, ducking underwater to grab minnows for breakfast.

A Coot family scurries away from the monster that passes by in the rain.

The water appeared to be endless.  It resembled a primitive lake.  It was stark naked this morning!  It was a water desert.....


Falcor was showing all the signs of becoming a great boat dog.  He ignored the big, noisy engine and stood tall on the point of the boat enjoying the wind from the 40 mile per hour speed we were now holding.

I was particularly impressed how he acted when next to the power plant.  That engine was turning some serious revolutions and Falcor just stood next to it and watched the shoreline whiz by.  Not bad for a 8 month old pup.  Think what he will be like when he is a year or more in age.
I think growing up on the deck of a boat builds confidence in a dog.  I believe it gives them a foundation to face adverse situations elsewhere and react more predictably toward them.  What'd I just say?  Make sense?  Probably not.  I'll leave it as written though.
And then we came upon a little lost one.  He trotted down from the woods toward the boat as if to say "take me,  take me."
The decision process only took a second.  I turned the boat toward the shore to get him.
He was trotting straight for the boat.  Then, Falcor barked a series of loud barks.  The newcomer stopped, turned and ran back up the hill toward the woods.
That little guy was only a minute away from the best life he could ever imagine.  I remember a feeling of relief come over me when I watched him bolt away.  I felt ashamed at that!  I was thinking another mouth to feed.  How shallow that thought process is!  That little fellow needed someone to get him and pull him out of the miserable fix he was in and I was so close to being the "one" for him.  There are houses on the other side of the hill and he surely will find a soft hearted soul in one of them who will help him.   Let's hope so.
We were coming to the end of our shift and it was time to nose the boat toward home.  We both were getting very wet.  It rained steady for seven hours and it's hard not to get wet even with good rain gear on.  I know I had a soaked little dog friend with me.  We never saw even one fishing boat or fisherman on the shore.
I ran the boat onto the bank at the boat ramp and got the truck.  Once loaded, the boat would have to be secured and all the gear taken off and put in the truck.  That's when reality set back in.  I looked at my shoes and the soles were covered with the red gumbo mud from the lake shore.  I cleaned on the boat's deck for an hour last night and it was all for nothing.  I am forced to climb back aboard to finish up and track this filthy mud all over the deck again.  The dreamy morning is over and I'm ending another shift on the mud infested rock quarry.  "Falcor;  get in the truck."


Douglas;  you ain't missen nothin on this rock pile.