Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Just look at the above picture!  No florist could create a more beautiful creation.  It was made by nature and is free to all who will make the effort to go out in the wilds and look.
The first and most obvious thing you will notice when you look at the following photographs of Calderwood Lake is the intense color green.  The bright sun was shining down through the very heavy concentration of trees that live on the thousand foot high cliffs bordering both sides of the water and cast a dense green color saturation on everything below.  The water appears to be vivid green as well as the rocks along the shorelines.  I've never seen anything like this and I've visited Calderwood many, many times over the past ten years.  What you will see is what my eyes actually saw from mid morning until mid afternoon.  The only way to lessen the vivid green tint would be with a lens filter, which I do not have.  I have not photoshopped the pictures as I don't own photoshop software.  Wouldn't know how to use it if I did have it.  You have to actually visit Calderwood to appreciate how  the dense tree cover on the mountains surrounding the lake affect the reflective qualities of the water.  The lush green color is the end result of the water's ability to reflect the overpowering green that surrounds it.
Good heavens - She's doing it again.  Shade actually caused me to re-think leaving without her.  I almost took the Gheenoe so she could go along.  I paused in thought and put my arms around her and hugged her.  She will get her chance in the canoe but the water is still too cold to chance a dunking caused by her moving around in the canoe.  I have stabilizers for the canoe but they span across the open area of the boat that Shade would be riding in.  She should be fine in the heavy, wide and long canoe but, I don't want to risk upsetting just yet.  I reluctantly put her in the house and quickly drove off.
Calderwood Lake is nothing less than spectacular.  It is the representation of all places wild.  This lake and surrounding mountains are the hidden jewel of East Tennessee.  There wasn't a soul anywhere on the premises.  No one.  The entire lake was mine.  I saw no one the entire time I was on the water and no one upon my return to the truck.  I chuckled to myself as I stepped into the canoe and paddled away from the shoreline.
The bright green reflection of the water actually caused me to squint my eyes due to its brilliance.  I fumbled in my pack for sunglasses.

The water's surface was perfectly smooth.  It was as if it were a mirror and reflected perfectly the images and colors of the surrounding greenery.

As I stated previously - I've been to Calderwood countless times.  Each time is a new adventure that I never tire of.  The familiar places always undergo some change year to year.  Some changes are drastic and some not so significant but all the changes are beautiful.  Nature always paints a gorgeous picture - even when she's angry.
I wanted to paddle back to the Slick Rock Creek.  I wasn't even near and I could hear the creek water roaring loudly as it churned over and around rocks and boulders before finally plunging into the creek's outflow.  It was about fifteen minutes ahead.

High waterfalls plunged down hidden slopes, many hidden behind dense foliage, to compete with the voice of the Slick Rock Creek.

As I neared Slick Rock Creek, I noticed a pair of wood ducks swimming near the shore.  I counted 29 "pairs" of wood ducks along both shorelines during my visit.  As you know - these are my favorite ducks and are very difficult to approach, even with a canoe.  They are the wildest up here on this mountain lake.  

 Just look at his spectacular colors.  Isn't he simply magnificent?

I have always been attracted to sandpipers.  They sometimes appear to be able to walk down a log straight into the water and reappear on the other side of the log.  Their heads bob back and forth in a jerky movement as they walk about searching for tiny bugs.  It's a most interesting bird to observe.

Slick Rock Creek was just ahead.

The big Mohawk canoe was moving along at a nice pace.  Slow.  I was enjoying the experience immensely.  That being said - something told me I should have brought the Kevlar canoe instead.  Hey - love the one you're with.

The tumbling water of Slick Rock was a magnet that held my eyes as my arms paddled on automatically without any thought on my part.  Everything was working on automatic as I moved across the green environment as if being carried along by some magic, silent, invisable machine.

I paddled the bow right up to the edge of the plunge pool where I absorbed the sound and wildness of the water's essence.  Damn - what a feeling!

The water was wild.  Not dangerously wild but, it was wild.  I laid the paddle in the bottom of the canoe, stretched my legs out straight, leaned back against the little seat back rest and just let the boat go where the current wanted to take it.  What careless joy!

And I was swept away - in more ways than one.
The fast moving, noisy water actually threw my canoe out into the channel.  It was exciting to be taken away by the natural flow of the water.  I took in all the views along both sides of the water.  It is beautiful back here today.  I still haven't picked up the paddle.   I don't want this to end but, I know it will.

There is nothing shabby looking - nothing ordinary.  Its all pristine and gorgeous.  What a place!  What an experience I'm having today.  It was worth the cost of admission.  And, I missed Shade.

I kept the canoe close to the shoreline and paddled under overhanging tree limbs and enjoyed the brief escapes from the intense brilliance of the sun and the intense bright green color that persisted everywhere.

It was under this tree that I discovered another subject to put into the camera.  No, it's not a turtle.

He's a relatively common, harmless water snake.  He had better be careful because there's an osprey on the shoreline who would love to have him for lunch, and I don't mean to share food with him.

I wanted to get at least as far down the lake as the hillside camp spot.  I've spent many camp-outs with, Douglas, there.  I would have to turn around and head back after the campsite visit.  That's the problem with driving here.  It's so far that the paddling has to be cut short in order to get back home at a decent hour.  I hate that!
There was the hillside camp site dead ahead.  The view from that camp site is fantastic.  I used to sit by a fire and watch the lake as the sun set until it was too dark to see anything.  Then I would read or write in my journal.  I loved it, and so did "he".

Looks like the high winds didn't spare this campsite.  There are big trees down everywhere.  Imagine having a tent on the site below when that tree fell across it.  Whew!
Many is the time I've lugged the gear up this hill from the boats.  This place is great!

Man - that's one big canoe!  
I took off and paddled toward the submerged train tunnel.  I'm pushing it for time but, I don't care.  Shade and I will return for a camp as soon as I get two days off in a row.
Well, well, well - who's this?

It's Mister Green Heron.  I've not seen green herons here on Calderwood Lake previous to this.  He's a little one and not very old.  This is a first.  I didn't know they lived this high up on the mountain.
The train tunnel lay just ahead on the side of the mountain.
 Isn't that awesome?
I turned the boat back down the lake and reluctantly paddled on - very slowly.

I took these shots out of the canoe with the 500mm lens.  Got lucky with the shots.  Those are not butterflies but spotted moths.

All good things have to eventually end and so it was with my day.  What a day it was!  Just wait until I get a camp out here.  A dog is mandatory for that.
There is another little entry below this one that I put on the blog tonight if you're interested.  Hope you like what you see.  I've  had a really trying day and am cutting this entry off here.  Yes, even I get tired.  I'll leave you with the following:
Live every day, every minute to the maximum.  The value of time will yield you the greater  interest of any investment you can make.