Saturday, September 28, 2013

CALDERWOOD LAKE

I knew it was a mistake to drive to Calderwood Lake when I got to Knoxville on the interstate and hit the traffic.  Actually I 40 West was covered with traffic all the way to Knoxville.  I almost turned around and went home but, I kept going.  It seemed like I'd been driving for hours by the time I got to Chilhowee Lake.  I didn't like the thought of driving over Route 129, The Dragon, due to all the motorcycles on that crazy, curvy road.  I kept going.  It didn't take long for two motorcycles to pull up on my rear bumper.  I pulled off and let em by.   Four more pulled up as soon as I pulled back out onto the road.  I pulled off again to let em by.  I thought out loud as I sat there on the pull off -  "Why am I pulling off and letting those idiots by?  I'm going the speed limit of 30 miles per hour and it's a public highway yet, I'm relinquishing my right to drive on it to these wanna be race drivers." 
A Harley came around a corner toward me on the double yellow line and almost took off my drivers side mirror.  This is nuts!  Almost turned it around again.  Just ten more miles and I'd be there.  I hung in.  I sat in the truck beside the lake and just stared down the road trying to decide whether to unload the canoe or just head back.  It's over a two hour drive up here to paddle two hours and then return home.  It's not working for me.

The water was perfect and I was here so, I unloaded the boat and took off down the lake.  I sure wished Shade was here.  I can't understand why she won't get into a canoe.  I missed her and she would have made the difference between constantly thinking about the drive back and having a great experience, maybe hiking along Slick Rock Creek.
Calderwood Lake remains the finest of the finest with her clear, cold water and uncluttered shorelines. I didn't see one plastic bottle anywhere the entire time I was on the water.  The surface had a mirror finish and reflected the mountain sides perfectly.  
As you can see, the leaves have just begun to show gentle shades of color.  It will take a couple more weeks to really have a Fall display of colored leaves, unless a heavy frost hits and then things will accelerate.  Calderwood Lake is the most spectacular place I've ever been to view the splendor of colored foliage in the Fall.
I was having a hard time getting into the paddle trip.  The motivation was left back somewhere around Knoxville.  Photography wasn't even on my mind.  I took some token shots just to document the paddle trip.  I should have saved the gas and returned home from Knoxville.   I'm having a difficult time living where I do now.  It's a lifestyle change for sure.  I'd be ok if I liked football and visits to the zoo..
It sure is pretty up here though.  I'll not return to the lake until late October when I'll camp out here with Shade.  That will be a Gheenoe trip.  One day trips are too nerve wracking.  Too many fast roads.  It just ain't me....
Slick Rock Creek is to the left in the shot above.  There's a tree laying directly in the center of the cove mouth.  I didn't even go over there.  I kept paddling up the left shoreline.

I felt like I was ready to leave.  I paddled across the lake to the opposite shoreline to tie off the canoe and find a log to sit on.

Sure is pretty here though.
I saw a spot where I could get the boat horizontal to the shoreline and got out.


I sat on a boulder and found myself just staring across the lake.  This wasn't working today.  I missed shade and I was thinking about Douglas and the countless trips he and I made up here.  I got back on the water and headed down the lake toward the truck.


I found myself altering paddle strokes and testing new ways to paddle.  I got on my knees to see if the paddle strokes would cause the boat to react differently.  It didn't take long to realize that I didn't want to be here.  It's hard to believe but, I really wished I would have stayed home.  Imagine that!
The scenery is far and above that of any lake I've been on in Tennessee but, I was wanting out of here and back home where there wasn't anything to do either.  At least I would be with my girls.
The little gray squirrel seems contented.  He's a typical mountain squirrel - small.  Notice his face doesn't have any white on it like the squirrels on the Holston River.
I loaded up the canoe and took off for home.  I didn't pull off one time to let the simpletons get around me on the Dragon.  If they were such good race drivers - they'd be able to pass me.  This is just one of those days and the feeling will pass.  I just miss living  back here in the middle of it all.  I know - I'll fire up the vacuum when I get home and suck stink bugs off the ceiling and walls from the house I never wanted.  Can't wait for that....