Sunday, November 10, 2013

CHEEOKEE LAKE'S TRUE COLORS SHOWING

The waters on Cherokee Lake have been drawn down now to the point where the lake's true face is exposed.  The ugly rock strewn shorelines and too steep boat ramps are exposed as the veil of Summer is entirely removed.
Below is a boat that is forced to load onto a trailer that sits too vertical in the water.  The boat must be rammed too straight into the trailer bunks for the bunks to guide it squarely onto the trailer.  The boat, after three tries, finally glides up the trailer rails and slams into the bow stop and bounces back toward the water.  It finally has to be cranked up to the bow stop by hand.  There is just too much angle for the operation to proceed smoothly.  Also, notice that the trailer has been backed into the water from the dirt bank.  That's because the water has receded past the end of the concrete ramp.  That can cause further problems.
Notice in the picture below that the truck's rear wheels are out in the water.  He is stuck in the mud.  After much spinning of wheels the truck finally pulled out.  The boat was too far out in the water for the man in the boat to step out onto shore.  He was stuck in the boat until his wife drove forward with much trouble.  You can see the water spraying off his spinning rear wheels. The boat could have slipped off the trailer at any moment during this process, with him in it.
I got my boat launched and the waves drove it sideways against the shoreline.  It was too shallow to lower the engine into water and the electric motor was useless on the bow for the same reason.  So, there I sat.  I walked back to the truck and withdrew my woods saw and cut a sapling.  After stripping the limbs off I used it as a push pole to push and pry the rear of the boat away from the bank and into water deep enough for the prop to catch water.  I love this lake!
Shade listened attentively as I complained all the way out to the center of the lake.  I did finally settle down and proceeded with the business at hand.  I tried to keep my eyes off the ugly shoreline as much as possible.  Any shoreline that is not wildlife friendly is useless to me and Cherokee's shoreline is just such a shoreline.  Even the squirrels have to wander aimlessly about on the rocks and shale in search for food.  

 Actually they don't have it that bad.  The oak and nut bearing trees on top of the baron shoreline drop their nuts onto the bare banks of the lake and are easy to find for the squirrels.  They act like little beach combers wandering along until they discover a fallen nut.  The little guy below is actually burying a nut he has found.  I guess he's storing away food for the Winter.  Amazing how they can go back to that exact spot and dig it up later.

I'll never get acclimated to this place.  An interesting sight appeared.  Two immature bald eagles were soaring high over the lake and they were sparring for dominance.  They swooped at each other and I could hear their shrill cries from on high.  Eventually one broke away and disappeared, leaving the sky to one.
Notice how closely they were flying together.  I almost didn't bother to photograph them due to their extreme distance from me.  I tried.


They were so high and far that I had trouble getting the camera to focus on them.
 That is some close flying!
Eventually one eagle left.  Guess he couldn't stand the pressure.

I never expected to see bald eagles up here today.   I like to look for photographic subjects while cruising along.  It's hard to find wildlife on this lake, as I've noted before, but then I noticed a kingfisher prominently perched on a limb extending over the water.  What the heck.  I photographed him and the result is one of the best in flight kingfisher pictures I ever took.

"Dad - I was wondering if I might have one of those biscuits I smell in your pocket."
There are all sorts of artifacts and old structures that appear when the water is drawn down.  There are many houses and old roads under this lake.

Well, I guess there are raccoon's at least, on these shores.  They probably only come out at night because there's nowhere to hide in the daylight hours.  I couldn't photograph the real animal but, I have proof they are here.


The most attractive sight I've seen on these shorelines all day. (above)
Well, the sun is going down and it will be dark soon so I better head it on back to the truck.  It's hard to say how much trouble I'll have loading this boat back onto the trailer.  Tomorrow is a holiday but, I think I'll go ahead and work it.  It's scheduled to be a river day and I hate to miss a day on the river.  See you then.