Sunday, January 27, 2013

FIRST SUNNY DAY ON BEECH CREEK IN TWO WEEKS

The above shot is my attempt at abstract art.  Guess I better stick to what simply comes out of the camera.
The ice finally melted in East Tennessee and it looked like the weatherman hit right on the nail about 50 degree weather this morning.  I was up and going before sun-up, as usual, and it was very cold.  The windshield on the truck was covered with a heavy layer of ice.  The ride to John Sevier Reservoir was a nice, careful drive without any incidents or frustrations whatsoever.  
The flood waters had receded from the parking lots but the boat ramps were still under water and hidden.  Launching was no problem.  Hitting that trailer with the boat later when I wanted to leave was a problem.  But, it got done.  Anyway, there were seven boat trailers in the parking lot and I figured I'd be busy on the water this morning.  I made my way down the normally narrow Beech Creek toward the Holston River.

Beech Creek was twice its normal width and was running two feet deeper than normal.  A lot of water has dissipated since the heavy rains last week but, the creek is still at near flood stage.  The sun was up and the warmth felt great on my face.  Wish it could get to my hands, which were freezing.
I saw a large reflection straight ahead of me on the shoreline.  Those are all duck decoys you see in the picture above.  The reflection I noticed was coming from that duck decoy with it's wings outspread.  They are not only outspread but they are flapping too.  This thing looked really fake.  Look at it.  Big orange legs and feet and wings that are automatically flapping up and down.  Now, I ask ya - what wild duck is gonna fall for that decoy?  I was very amused by this.  I've seen them before years ago when I saw what I thought was someone waving me into a cove for help.  It turned out to be one of these decoys standing on a big horizontal log with its wings flapping.  The sun reflected off the under wings as it flapped and made the wings appear to be twice the size they really were.  It just looked like a guy waving at me.
I checked up and downstream with the binoculars and couldn't see one fishing boat.  I later found out that all the boat trailers in the parking lot belonged to duck hunters.  They were behind camouflage everywhere out there.


These duck hunters really disappeared.  I'm impressed with their camo set ups.  The entire boats blend in with the bank perfectly.  I found four of the boats but no more.  I have to get some of that material for the Gheenoe.  


I noticed a large object in the middle of the river that appeared to be stationary.  It was huge.
It appeared to be some kind of fort or something.  See how my mind works?  The closer I got, the more it looked like someone stacked trees horizontally in a pile.
It turned out to be a huge pile of trees collected together during the flood.  Either that or there is one humongous beaver at large up here.
I went on downstream to where TVA has danger - keep out signs and got a good view of the dam.  This dam is nothing more than a concrete wall to hold back water.  The river flows over the top of it.  These are called weir dams, I believe.  These things are extremely dangerous as anything caught in the current goes over the top and has about a 200 foot straight down drop to the river below.  There once was an effort to eliminate weir dams in Pennsylvania years ago but, I never followed up on the topic to see if they did get rid of them.  If ya lose your paddles to the canoe - over ya go.  If yer motor quits on ya - over the top ya go.  I noticed a lot of wood that was caught on the top of the dam.  All that wood will eventually go over the top and end up in Cherokee Lake if TVA doesn't do something to pull it off the dam.  Who knows?


It's creepy down here.  I turned the boat upstream and headed for the barn.
I glassed the mountain side as I went by to see if the bald eagle was at home.  He was and another adult was flying over the same tree he was sitting in.  His nest is to his right.  I'm sure these two eagles are a pair and I'll be a dad in the springtime.  The distance was very far and I knew there would be no quality in the picture but, what the heck.  They are in a tree about 500 feet from the water.  I took the picture and cropped it large.  You can see the eagle and his nest in the shots.

And so the morning ended and I had to head to the ramp.  This was a really nice, bright morning.  The only thing missing was a hot bowl of oat meal and some piping hot, black coffee.  Yum!


Yep - that's ice in the photo above.  The aluminum boat crunched through it all the way to the Holston.
Oat meal.  Yum.  I think I'll head on downstairs and make a batch.  See ya.