Monday, February 18, 2013

FOILED CANOE DAY

I got myself all excited last night about putting the canoe on Abrams Creek today.  Couldn't sleep.  The weather man, as usual, wasn't to be trusted.  They called for 65 degrees on last nights prediction and then it changed to 57 degrees this morning with rain moving in late tonight.  High wind was supposed to hit in the Cherokee National Forest and the Sevierville and Route 129 area late in the afternoon.  Ok- I ought to be able to blast over there and get a morning paddle in and be off the water by noon or 1 PM. 
I lifted the canoe off the saw horses in the living room and out the door to the truck I went.  I pulled the last tie down strap tight and hopped off the truck and looked up toward the house.  And, there she was.
Look over on the porch at the top of the steps.  She's doing it to me again - the head trip.
She's not out here with me because she know's she isn't going.  She breaks my heart doing this.  I don't know why she just doesn't go inside and stay hidden.  I usually give in when she does this but, I can't have her in the canoe.  It's too dangerous, especially with 45 degree water.  I gotta get out of here cause if I don't - I'll take the canoe off the truck and stay home.
The thing about it is that her heart is aching to go with me.  All I'd have to do is do the come here motion with my hand and she'd trip down off the steps to get over with me. Shade is one very dedicated dog.  I've not seen the like.
I went back inside and busted open a large can of Dinty Moore Stew and divided it up into three bowls and gave each of them a portion.  Dinty Moore rules and that took Shade's attention off me long enough for me to slip out and shut the door.  I'm ok leaving as long as I don't have to watch her stare at me..

It's a long drive to Chilhowee Lake from here but, its worth it to me.  I stopped in Greenback at the Greenback Drug and Cafe for breakfast.  It was good to visit and talk to old friends.  The spay/neuter clinic was just down the road and I stopped to get Heart Guard and Front Line Plus for the girls and I was off to the lake.
Chilhowee Lake was beautiful in the bright morning sun.  It always is.  I used to live minutes from this body of water.  I sure miss it.  I watched the Chilhowee Dam pass by on the right and then the little boat ramp that Shade and I launched from two days ago.  The entrance to the Foot Hills Parkway fell away to our left and the rock slide area that closed Route 129 two years ago passed by on my left.  The bridge that crosses the mouth of the Abrams Creek channel was just ahead.  I pulled off the road just above the canoe put-in.

I hopped out of the truck and walked back to look at the water on Abrams.  I stopped at the old steps that lead to a trail and a burial site where I photographed an interesting grave stone years ago. 
 Douglas and I used to come here to hike frequently.  He would run up the steps and impatiently wait at the top until I caught up with him.  I stop and stared at that top step for a moment, shook my head and continued walking to the bridge at Abrams Creek.  The water was smooth.  
Back at the truck, I started to undo the straps that held the canoe.  I undid the front strap and moved to the rear.  My hand grabbed the strap and a gust of wind hit the truck with force.  What!  It abated but the wind returned instantly with less strength.  I turned and looked out across Chilhowee and saw that the ripped surface now had a wash board texture to it.  Another short walk to the bridge indicated that a stronger wind was blowing down the canyon holding Abrams Creek and the water there had a heavy texture on the surface.  A quick glance back at Chilhowee Lake found the wash board surface replaced by small roller waves.
 This was just great!  If I had Shade with me I'd go for a hike but, hiking is no good without her.  Just isn't.  I slowly walked back to the truck and re-did the front canoe strap and lingered around in hopes the wind would die away.  It didn't.  Again, the weatherman is wrong.  The wind came hours before his prediction.  I thought for sure I could get a morning paddle in.  I jumped in the truck and sped off for the interstate and home.  
I ran up to the door and let the girls out to enjoy the afternoon.  I missed em.
Oh well - things can't go perfect all the time.  My real complaint was the waste of gasoline to get over there and back.  That hurt!
So, I'm sorry I couldn't put it together for you today.  There will be a lot more opportunities to play in the canoe.  Tomorrow's another day.  See ya.