Sunday, January 5, 2014

CHEROKEE TAILWATERS CONTINUED

I halted the truck along the edge of the river and brought the binoculars to my eyes in order to scan the waterway downstream to where the river's course turned in a wide arc  around a corner and became hidden behind the forest.  The barking of a squirrel caught my attention immediately and there the little tyke was clinging to a tree and staring at me intently.

His noisy, brash, pride and cavalier attitude quickly turned to uncertainty and he flashed up the tree and laid along a limb and just looked at me.
 
Today was the third in succession that I drove my new river route in the truck and I found myself coming to like the new assignment, even looking forward to the time spent along the tail race of Cherokee Lake.  The water remained swift all day and I later found out that TVA was releasing water non stop all today and tomorrow.  That's an amazing amount of water volume.
All of the roads on my route are too narrow to pass two vehicles at the same time making it necessary for one to yield to the other, although I only saw one vehicle along the route all afternoon.  There are a few houses here and there but very, very few along this wild tail race.
There are a vast variety of small birds that have suddenly appeared of late in this area and I really need to read up on them.  Ruby kinglets are everywhere and many tiny high pitched birds that I have no clue about.
This entry is just a continuation of yesterday's posting and elaborates a bit on the environment adjacent to this river (tail waters).   The route has many, many turns involved to keep me on the roads closest to the river, so the driving is fairly continuous with long stops at both the beginning and at the end of the assigned length of river.
All the truck driving time allows me an intimate view of my surroundings.  What I missed while driving through the first time, I'll see the next time - and the next and the next.  In this way I will eventually not only find favorite stretches of water that fishermen frequent, but also I'll discover pieces of prime habitat where beaver and otters live.   One learns a lot about a river after a year of observing it three to four times a week.
The picturesque stream above flows down to the river and it was at that juncture that I pulled the truck over to scan the river.  I heard a loud plop and glanced down into the water at the shoreline from the seat of the truck and there was an otter sticking out of the surface about eight inches looking at me.  I scrambled for the camera that was in the Pelican case and he disappeared before I could even get the camera in my hands.  Now, at least I know that otters are on this stretch of river along this road and I'll be ready next time.  I should have switched off the engine instantly.
There is a secluded, tiny parking lot along the river on a dead end road that is of particular interest to me.  There is an ancient cave a walking distance away called "Indian Cave."  I met the gentleman who owns the property that the cave exists upon and he said I could visit the cave whenever I liked.  That is very gracious of him and I shall take him up on that offer.  He also owns a few hundred acres of mountain and meadow land adjacent to the river and gave me permission to walk there with Shade and photograph wildlife.  How great is that!  I have to fine a way to repay the kindness this really nice man has extended to me.  I intend to visit Indian Cave and photograph it extensively to create a post for this blog.  The cave is steeped in history and can be found on the internet if you care to read about it.  There are some historical details that you won't find on the internet that I will describe in the blog post when I complete it.  

As stated previously, this is just a continuation of yesterdays post to round out the description of the rural atmosphere that I will be working in all this coming summer.  It's gonna be tough but I'll somehow manage.  :)