Saturday, April 7, 2012

CANOEING ON MELTON HILL LAKE

click on photos to enlarge
A splendid scene.
Its been a long, long time since I felt like writing anything while on the water.  The mud banks of Douglas and the rocks of Cherokee Lakes are far to the east and Happy and I are on pretty water for a change today.

We put the canoe in he water about a mile from where I helped build the fish attractors last week.  I looked forward to paddling into the coves that lead up to the Department of Energy lands that we worked on.  I couldn't bring Shade as she would cause a dangerous situation with the canoe due to her weight moving around inside.  I could have put the stabilizers on but I wanted to feel the freedom and simplicity of paddling the canoe.  She'll get her turn next time.  Happy needed some exercise and she's been patient for many winter months. 


It was only about a mile to the cove where the old cabin sits on the shoreline.  We beached the boat right below the cabin.  This is great!


















The shoreline was covered with lush, green, soft grass - not rocks, and I pulled the boat up onto the safety of the bank.  There were a few bass boats on the lake this morning but they weren't back in here.  This was going to be fantastic!  I just wanted to be lazy today.  I haven't felt peace like this since the last time I paddled on Calderwood Lake.




I could just barely see the old cabin through the trees.




















The early morning light was soft and exemplified the rich green colors of the forest and grasses.  Even the air tasted sweet.  We headed on up to the cabin.  Maybe I could get some pictures of birds if we were quiet.
This is quite a property.  There is a pond and many acres of meadows lined with trees.  The reason this land here is so pristine is because it isn't open to the public.  It is Department of Energy land (DOE).  I can visit because it falls under TWRA region responsibilities.  At least I think I can come here legally.  Its a perk, I think its called.


Occasionally I can hear a boat blasting by out in the main channel.  Its early enough that boat traffic is sparse on the lake.


















I kept my eyes on a blue bird box just in front of the porch of this old cabin.  I noticed swallows flying over it and sweeping by the opening.  Then one alighted at the hole in the front of the box.  He had an insect in his mouth.  He quickly stuck his head through the opening and re-emerged without the insect.  There were babies in there.  He no sooner left when mom appeared carrying an insect and she, like dad, stuck her head inside and gave her insect to her young.  Curb service.






These are tree swallows.  They are known to use blue bird boxes frequently.  Here's proof of that statement.







These guys are amazing.  They fly at top speed and appear as if they will crash into the box but always put the brakes on at the last split second and make a precise landing exactly on target.  I'm not so sure now if there are babies in there yet.  It appears that the male is bringing food for the female.  Look at the hole in the box.  You can see her head in there.  I think she is laying eggs and Mr. Swallow is bringing home the food for her.  I think that's what's happening anyway.


I watched them for an hour.  I never get bored watching wildlife.  Now, where's Happy?  I heard a crash inside the building and called for her.  A whimper could be heard from inside.  I ran to the door at the end of the porch and immediately saw what happened.  The door was shut and latched with a primitive wooden catch on the inside but, the door had a space between it and the jamb just big enough for Happy to push through.  I guess the door gave inward enough to let her pass through.  It then closed again.  When she tried to come back out, there was no space left for her to push open.  Then panic set in and she ran through the room trying every nook and cranny for an escape.  No problem as old dad was on hand.  She's a little baby.   




I sat down on a nice grassy spot and wrote this entire blog entry.  Just like the old days.




















It was a bit chilly early on and the warm sun felt good right now.  We would soon have to leave as there were more and more bass boats moving on the water.  Bass boats and canoes do not mix well.


We'll work our way back to the water and the canoe.  No hurry.  It's just time to go.




















 Look at the rich green colors of the grass.  Maybe I'm just sensitive to it due to the fact I've been surrounded by the mud brown color on Douglas Lake all winter.  I'm not messing with the color on the computer.  That's real green.


I bet this is chigger city and every tick in the country is visiting his chigger relations.  I put Sawyers Repellent on my clothes before leaving home.  I hope it works!




Our chariot awaits and we're off.


















 The water is perfect.  We are moving out of the cove and nearing the main channel.
 I'll cut over to the left and hug the shoreline fairly close just in case a bass boat gets too near.


This is a really pretty shoreline.  The water level in relationship to the shoreline is perfect.  




















 The Navigator
 Not one boat has bothered us yet.  Amazing!  The coves along this shoreline are many and offer numerous opportunities for exploration.  Canoe's are great to explore in.


























 Looks like the navigator is asleep on the job.


The gentle rocking of the canoe and the sounds of water lapping against the hull causes a tiny little angel to fall sound asleep.




We arrived at the put-in and a group of folks with model boats were preparing to launch them.  This was going to be interesting.  



















These boats were powered by the equivalent of a chain saw engine and radio controlled.  Wait till you see the little movie at the end. 



These were all old timers out here playing with these little boats.  It was nice to see.  They were using a small corner of the cove and having a fantastic time and not bothering anyone.  I sat down and watched.

Look at these little engines.  Neat as heck!


I loaded the canoe and all the stuff and came back to watch the guys launch the fastest boat.  Check out the video below.  I laughed out loud.