Saturday, April 21, 2012

DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE ON DOUGLAS LAKE

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
I know the above photo has nothing to do with lakes but, every now and then one of my girls offers a photo opportunity I can't resist.  This is Happy's post card photo.




























This is just a short blog entry to document the day.  The shots above are from the boat ramp at Walters Bridge on Douglas Lake looking upstream toward the confluence of the Nolichucky and French Broad Rivers.  Tennessee Valley Authority  (TVA) has been allowing Douglas Dam to fill up with water.  Very soon the lake will be at full pool (measured from sea level) and safe navigation on all the water will be possible.    The waters shown above were not navigable in my state boat until only recently.  Today is the first day in weeks I've been to this area and I launched the boat on new water today, so to speak.  I was scheduled to run upstream to the next ramp which was about five miles away, and beyond.  The wind was up and it was interesting launching in a fairly rapid current.  The current and wind would try to sweep the big boat downstream if given the chance.  I backed the trailer into the water a bit deeper than normal, unhooked the bow and safety hooks, jumped on board and backed the boat off the trailer under power.  I then docked and tied her off, parked the truck and jumped on board and was off.  The whole thing went without a hitch.  We had about 16 feet of water under us.  I'd keep a close watch on that.


That tree in the water on our starboard (right) side is sticking in mud.  About thirty feet more to starboard from the boat and we would be in about a foot of water.  That was dry land a week ago.  The cormorants seem to have made it a community perch.






This is more like it.  The scenery resembles that of the Little Tennessee River below Fort Loudon Dam.  No houses, no people and nice views.  There doesn't appear to be any fishermen up here either.  The weatherman is calling for storms today.  The wind is up too.  That combination is probably keeping them off the river section of the lake.
I saw a couple turkeys but that's all.  The wildlife is probably in shelter due to the wind.  Animals can sense bad weather and they take appropriate action, unlike humans.
This section of river is really pretty.  I can't believe I'm on Douglas Dam.  In reality I'm on the downside of the Nolichucky and French Broad Rivers.  We, Shade and I, will chug along this water corridor to the Leadvale boat ramp where we'll stop and interview fishermen who are fishing from the bank.
The experience boating up this river is refreshing and welcomed.  The lower lake is filled with boats and floating debris.  The lack of the human element is delightful.  Its a breath of fresh air.
Its a funny thing, my thoughts about humans - I'm supposed to be out here talking to them and I'm delighting in the fact there are none to talk to.  Am I messed up or what?
The navigator is on duty as you can see above.  We got to Leadvale and talked to some anglers.  Their catches were documented and we shoved off for points downstream.  The next ride up here will be exciting as we should be able to get to the confluence of the Nolichucky and French Broad Rivers.  That will be wild area if I'm reading my maps correctly.  There is only one more boat ramp above the Leadvale ramp that I am aware of and that is at the Rankin Bridge.  That's on the Nolichucky River and where my responsibilities end.  I believe the Gheenoe will be coming up here in the near future and we'll see how far we can get up the Nolichucky and the French Broad Rivers.  The Nolichucky turns very shallow in places and is a notable white water river further North that kayakers adore.  That's going to be a Gheenoe ride you don't want to miss.  This is all new to me and I'll kick myself into exploratory mode with the Gheenoe on that trip.
Above shot is of Leadvale Bridge.  Boat ramp is on the other side.


Walters Bridge, our put-in, was dead ahead.  I needed to float below it about  two miles to complete the afternoon's run.  There isn't much to see going that direction.  The good stuff is up stream.
Stay in touch and don't miss the ride up the Nolichucky and French Broad Rivers.  It will be an interesting journey in the Gheenoe.  Thank you for your interest in the blog.