Saturday, January 28, 2012


click photo to enlarge.
All the reservoirs in the Tennessee valley are fed by primary streams as well as secondary streams that flow into the main channel.  These feeder streams can be interesting.  The lake is lowered during the winter and that can't be changed.  The views, however, do change.  Douglas Lake, muddy as it is, has the Smoky Mountains as a back drop.  Side trips up some of the feeder creeks can offer some really nice views.  It just so happens that Indian Creek is on my schedule for today.  It flows directly from the direction of the mountains.  The views aren't spectacular because the creeks are really low and I can't traverse them to their ends which would be a lot closer to the mountains.  But, they allow me to approach closer than the main lake will allow.  Summertime on Douglas Lake should provide an entirely new visual experience when the water is at full pool (level).
Distant shots of mountains are difficult to attain and capture the actual colors at the same time.  The distance forces one to look through all the haze between himself and the mountain.  The further away the mountain, the more haze must be looked and photographed through.  The camera records the haze as well.  Light diffraction is another problem on distant photographs.  Oh well;  they're pretty pictures anyway.
Watch that first step, Ralph.
"Hey Ralph;  Where do you and Ethel live down there in Tennessee?"
"We have a house right on the lake.  We're right on the water.  We just walk out the back door and jump in."

All right. I won't start.
Manfriend and I motored clear up Indian Creek as far as we could on the right bank of the stream and returned down the left.  The creek was void of anglers.  Not one boat.  I thought it would be a good time to beach the boat and allow more time for fishermen to show up on the lake.  I am conscientious about running gasoline through this boat even though it's not my personal gasoline.  It's gasoline paid for out of the reservoir fisheries budget and that's where I work.  Ethically I can not run the boat around when I know the water has no fishermen on it.  It's just how I was raised I guess.  We'll make another run up the creek in a half hour.  It will be noon and will be a few fishing boats out by then.
Bridge over Indian Creek

I got an email from a friend up north asking how I have the time to take so many photographs and be working at the same time.  He has no idea about boats.  I can take my hand off the wheel and walk around behind the tower, sit on the bench seat, kiss Shade, write reports or eat a sandwich in perfect safety.  It ain't no car.  I much prefer a boat to a car.  Of course one wouldn't want to do any walking in front of the tower.  If the boat were under way and struck a floating log it could throw the driver clear off the boat.  Then I would have to float in the water while watching my beautiful 22 foot bay boat get smaller and smaller in the distance until it was a tiny black dot on the horizon.  In reality I would have my safety lanyard attached to the belt loop on my pants that would automatically shut off the engine when I fell over the side into the drink.  It wouldn't matter as I'd die of hypothermia in less than ten minutes.  Pleasant thoughts.  You can bet there would be a smile on my face cause I'm just a happy kind of guy.  I can't be hurt anyway.  I have insurance.  Actually I don't walk anywhere on the boat while it's moving.  That's asking for trouble.  In this weather one gets no second chance if he falls in the water.
I found a really nice spot to beach the boat and went for it.  Shade was all set for a romp on shore.
There really isn't anything to do on these shorelines when we stop.  The stops are to eat a sandwich and to let Shade exercise and use her nose to sniff new smells.  The terrain is nothing but mud, rock and shale.  Even the forest is so far up the hill it would take a helicopter to get up there.  The lakes back west of here are interesting in that they have all the flora and fauna imaginable.  Winter flowers and mammals are everywhere as well as a great variety of birds. They are in or near the Smoky Mountains.  The photography is great.   Most of all there are very few people.  The opposite is true of here.
An interesting little pile of stones.  The highlight of the day.
Photography is limited to seeing how many shades of brown I can photograph.  Sometimes there are interesting rocks that make nice photos.  I even saw a nice tree once way up on top of the shoreline.  I was going to take a picture of it but it was too far up the muddy hillside.  Sometimes a bird will fly over.  They rarely stop though.  I got excited when a Great Blue Heron flew over once.  He didn't stop either.   Oh well!.  One thing I do have and that's my sweetheart Shade.  I can rely on her to provide photographic material.
Wow;  this girl is sweet!  I can't believe she is the same dog I knew last year.  She's totally dedicated to me and has put all her trust in me to keep her safe.  She listens better than I deserve and is a "perfect" companion all day long.  She even takes silent commands.  I can point to the boat and she instantly runs top speed and leaps on board.  Sometimes she almost goes clear across the deck and off the other side.  Such exuberance!  The same holds true for the truck.  She started out the year refusing to get near the truck.  Now she bounces up and down beside it in the morning begging to be let in.  I figured that one out though.  She associated trucks with my old truck with the cap on the back.  That truck was in the accident that took my Douglas's life.  Shade was under the cap.  Once she understood she could be in the front seat with me, she was fine.
"Come on girl.  Hurry, hurry, run, run!"
"Good girl.  Good girl."

You can see a lot of debris in the shot above.  The waves carry all trash to the shorelines.  The tires in the background have old Christmas Trees tied to them and they are staked to the ground.  These abominations are known as fish attractors.  They create fish habitat.  The fish junk will obviously be under water and out of sight when the lake resumes it's full water level in the spring.
Here's something to get excited about.  Pretty rocks.  They're a nice shade of brown.
I still can't see why anyone would spend a million bucks to have a house on the edge of this desolation.  Oops!  Sorry.
It's time to get moving.  I need to make one more drive up Indian Creek.
My sweet companion is all tucked in out of the wind.  

Heading across the bay toward home.  The wind is up a bit.
There is one happy, contented girl.  There aren't many dogs who have the wonderful and exciting life that she has.  I can think of a few people who would envy her if they knew how wonderful her life really is.  She has finally gotten into my blood and I love her unconditionally.  "Right back at you Shade!"  
This entry was about one of my normal days on the lake.  There was nothing outstanding about it.  I love what I do no matter what you may think after reading my descriptions of the lake.  It's a work lake.   I can separate work and play quite easily.  I did put a lot of tongue in cheek moments in this entry.  I do hope you caught the sarcasm. 

The Scona Lodge tale is coming along nicely.  It's a real bear to write as there is nothing written about the lodge to research.  I have several lead in stories finished and am ready to work on the main story about Scona Lodge and the girl who grew up there.  Actually, it's as much about her as the lodge.  We'll see how it all works out soon.   It won't be long.  Thanks for looking in and please help a dog in need.