Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Oh no!  The Gheenoe is hitched up and I'm heading for the Holston River.  There she is - waiting for me to open the truck door.  I needed to have the ability to move about on the boat unimpeded with the camera and she would be under foot.  Besides, there are very few places to let her off to run about up on the Holston.  I'll go back in the house until she thinks I'm not going.
Going to the house won't work.  She's waiting me out.  That dog would rather be with me than do anything.  She is absolutely a one man dog.  She is pulling on my heart strings.  I went out and got her by the collar and walked her into the house.  I hesitated a second while looking at her before turning and leaving.  She just stood there in silence and watched me leave.  I took my guilty feeling self out to the truck and left as fast as I could.  I love Shade.  She will go with me tomorrow on the state boat.
Its 60 miles up to Beech Creek but worth the time.  The water was perfect.  The colors were vivid and the day was peaceful and quiet.  I owned this water today.  I was totally alone.
These are views from a bridge far upstream.  These shots will give you a broader perspective of the manor waterway I'm on called the French Broad River.

The Gheenoe moved along quietly, disturbing nothing.  Even the color of the boat blends well with the environment.  If I had to describe this waterway to someone I'd have to state that it is a quiet place surrounded with vivid green foliage both surrounding and in the water.

Water channels shoot off to the right, surrounded by water grasses.  It is impossible to set foot on dry land.  A canoe is the perfect craft to travel on these waters.
 I discovered four duck blinds on the area of water extending from the bridge a mile upstream down to the John Sevier hydroelectric plant.  There are wood ducks and blue winged teal on this lake.  I haven't hunted for years and I hold no animosity toward hunters but, I hate to see animals killed.  Its a shame when a coyote can't cross an open ten yard stretch of ground adjoining two forested areas and be shot at just because he was born a coyote.  He had nothing to do with his birth or species yet, he's condemned.  Humans!
I made a right hand turn when Beech Creek entered the river.  I wanted to scout for otters.  It was almost noon and I knew that critters would be in their dens during the heat of day but, I had to look.  That's really what I came for.

If any otter was out he would be sticking close to the undercut banks of the shoreline.  I put the electric motor down and moved along silently.

Cardinal flowers are everywhere.  They are on both banks of the river and are beautiful.  I've never seen them in such quantities or in such dense populations.

Can you find him in the grass?  He's there.
Funny little guy!  Below:  Blue winged teal fly silently by.  They took me by surprise.

This guy needs no introduction.  What a mouthy little guy!  He faced off with me like he was going to threaten me.  Funny!  He's a character.

He climbed down to the shoreline and disappeared into the tangle of wood, weeds and vines.  What a brave little squirrel!

There certainly are beavers in the area.  The cuttings on the tree below are very fresh.

I saw a movement in the undercut of the bank and shut off the electric motor.  There it was again.  I was all set to photograph otters.  But, what was this?  A raccoon was traipsing over the otter's habitat.

He wouldn't show his face.  My presence was totally unknown to him.

What is this?  He's got the face of a possum and the body of a raccoon.  What?  I've never seen this!  He's either ancient or his dad was messing in the possum flocks.
 Even the face mask has turned silver.

I think this guy or girl is so old that the facial hair has turned silver.  The body weight appears to be somewhat shy also.  I think this animal is simply old.

A group of ducks blasted out of a corn field over the edge of the bank and out across the river.

I've given up on finding otters.  I'll get them another time.  The timing is all wrong today.  But, what a wonderful afternoon!  This is one of the most beautiful pieces of water in East Tennessee and I hope it stays void of human intrusion.

The belted kingfisher - what a scamp and gremlin!  No lake would be complete without his presence and his unique sounds.

I had to pack it in and head home.  There was a funeral I had to attend this evening.  A coworker at Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson had passed away and I wanted to at least be present at the funeral home.  Lewis and I were not really "great" friends but, we were friends and talked often.  He was a great little guy who was always "up" and always had a kind or humerus word.  There would be over 300 motorcycles leaving the dealership at 6PM to visit Lewis at the funeral home.  The drive to Maryville was horrible.  Traffic clogged the roads in every direction.  Twice I almost turned around and gave up.  But, I arrived just in time to see all 300 bikes lining up for the ride.  I looked at all that iron and imagined the noise all those machines would make and I didn't want to be there.  I wanted out.  I was saturated by all the people in motorcycle costumes.  They all seemed so unreal, alike, duplicates of each other.  I'm not a crowd person - period!  I thought I could deal with it this one time.  I could not.  I wanted to be with my dogs, on the river I left, anywhere but here.  The older I get the worse I hate crowds.  In reality I've always been that way. Never married.  Never owned property and never wanted to.  Hate new cars and trucks.  Don't like noisy motorcycles but, like motorcycles.  Old stuff is better than new stuff.  I drove through heavy traffic to get here and wondered how all those people stay alive.  I also wondered how there could be so many destinations for all those cars to be heading for and couldn't figure why the rush to get there.  This wasn't me at all.   I gave my apologies to a few people and left the group.  I went to a bar and drank two beers and drove back home over the mountain.  Lewis would understand.  He knows.