Wednesday, January 1, 2014

CHILHOWEE LAKE 2014

I couldn't take the scenery around here one more day.  I knew as soon as my eyes opened this morning that Shade and I were going to Chilhowee Lake to walk around the old Scona Lodge site.  After putting that miserable interstate behind us, the much prettier and familiar countryside relaxed my senses and the tenseness from dealing with the insanity of the super slab idiocy disappeared. 
There's a little boat ramp located on Tellico Lake that I always stop at when driving to Chilhowee.  It's a good place to give Shade a break from the drive and besides - I really like the looks of the lake from that vantage point.
Chilhowee Dam feeds Tellico Lake and the Chilhowee boat ramp was only a couple miles up the road.  Two of the prettiest lakes in Tennessee are back to back - Chilhowee and Tellico Lakes.  Of course, the prettiest by far is Calderwood Lake which is located just above Chilhowee.  We got to the boat ramp and Chilhowee Lake was angry with some pretty rough water that formed large swells.

I tied the Gheenoe off to the dock and parked the truck.  Shade has been on rough water before and she hates it and I had a difficult time getting her to go down to the boat..  It was rough the last time we were here and she actually crawled up on the seat beside me on the boat and practically sat in my lap.  I walked back down toward the boat and Shade was coming up the ramp toward me because she saw and heard the rough water and wanted none of it.  
She ran back to the truck and sat down beside the drivers door refusing to move and  I had to put a leash on her to get her back down to the boat.  If she absolutely refused to get on the boat I was fully prepared to pack it in and leave.  I won't make her do anything that frightens her but the good thing is that she jumped right onto the deck as I held the boat as steady as possible.  We were off.  This was some rough water!
We moved along at a slow 5 miles per hour to avoid the jostling and pounding we would have to endure by going faster.  One downside of being in a small boat is that they get beat up really bad by rough water and are susceptible to a lot of water spray that comes over the bow and it's rain suit time when that happens and I hate to put on rain suits.  
Chilhowee has a really pretty shoreline that has trees and grasses that actually come right down to the water's edge, unlike Cherokee and Douglas Lakes that have 50 foot high mud and rock embankments.  Chilhowee is a reservoir but it isn't lowered much at all in Winter.  Cherokee and Douglas, as noted before, are flood control dams and it is necessary to draw the water level down to extremes.  It's just the way it must be.  I hate to see those ugly shorelines but I realize why they are what they are.  That doesn't mean I have to like em.

The water smoothed out a bit when we entered that part of the lake protected by the tall mountains, which had an immediate positive affect on Shade's disposition after being thrashed by the angry seas.  Around one more bend and the shoreline of the old  Scona Lodge would be coming into view.
The two ferry cable towers are just ahead, covered in kudzu disguising their structure and making them appear like kudzu covered pine trees.  That's them left of center in the shot above - the two thick vertical fingers pointing straight up.
Notice how the water is much smoother up here, thanks to the blocking effect of the mountains which can also be a detriment, acting like a wind tunnel, depending on wind direction.
 It's difficult to imagine that this shoreline used to be a 9 hole golf course at one time and that it's been transformed into a forest now and probably ever will  remain so.  Scona Lodge has been buried by TVA and the forest is adding a blanket of green on her grave to eliminate even the smallest traces of her existence.                                       




The two tall kudzu covered cable towers stand in camouflage disguising their reality to the unaware viewer.  The wooden structure beneath the kudzu can just be seen in the above shot and these two cable towers are under attack from another insidious alien.  Bamboo.  It seems the bamboo is competing with the kudzu for supremacy of the shoreline and as difficult as kudzu is to kill - bamboo I think is worse.. 
I pushed the boat to shore at my favorite spot that once was the boat launch for the old lodge.  I like it here because there is a water break made of boulders that protect the beached boat from wave action. 
Shade was glad to be off the boat and she immediately started a thorough investigation of the shoreline.  We headed inland for a casual walk through time.
Camper slobs are trashing the shoreline at Scona and it's very sad to see this.  What do people think when they do this?  Is it simply uncaring or is it disregard for anything anywhere at all times?  Look at the shot below.  This is criminal!
These are all beer cans.  This area was never like this before and it's disgusting and shameful.  These aren't hunters and I doubt fishermen.  They might be hunters who have camped here overnight with thoughts of starting a hunt before daybreak.  But, most likely it's just slob campers.  They camp right on what used to be the parking area of Scona Lodge and toss their empty beer cans in one spot to collect into a horrible eyesore.  What is so hard about just carrying them back home?  They're lighter in weight and they could flatten them out so they wouldn't take up room.  The answer is that they are slovenly, filthy, miscreants that bring their social uselessness to the mountains.  
There used to be a wooden footbridge across this little brook in the old days but I won't get into the historical aspects of Scona as I already did a piece on it previously and it can be found using the search facility on this blog home page.  Shade can't cross water without doing her splash about routine.

 
The old stone steps are still here even though thieves have stolen the cap stones from the tops of the side walls and I notice they've even taken the big square stone flower holders from the tops of each wall where the steps lead onto the patio

 Shade has changed from a house dog to a woodland dog today.  She is acting like the great breed she is, excited, investigative, roaming, inquisitive, searching and seeking.  I do wish we had these outdoor opportunities where we live now, but all we have is wall to wall private property.  A shame!

It seems she's becoming a mountain climber ranging around on the side of the mountain, although she is keeping her eye on me constantly. 

Below is another shot of the golf course. 
 There's the old slate spring house and I don't know how in the world it goes on standing with it's leaning walls and rotten beams and frames?  I thought surely this old relic would have fallen by now as it is far older than Scona Lodge was and Scona was built in 1934.





Maybe you'd like to camp next to this old castle.  Maybe not.  Not me.  There are haints on this mountain and they hang in the twisted thorn bushes and trees high up on the slope where the late fog clings to the foliage, their wispy outlines slowly flowing through and around the deformed limbs all the while wailing and shrieking to the night wind to carry their lost souls home.
Even the plants that grow near these old slate walls are perverted and deformed, spiraling around their own kind in attempts to kill one and other for dominance on these harsh slopes.  Ya - we're gonna camp here. It's really neat back here on the Scona shoreline but it ain't joyous and light.
We walked back toward the boat as it was time to drift down the lake to Abrams Creek which I have to check out each time I come here.  I hoped Shade would forget about the high waves out on the main bay as she hopped onto the boat to leave.
Abrams Creek was really pretty, even with the tornado damage and the water is so clean and clear I could see the bottom through a yard of water.    Shade was glad to be on quiet water for a change even though the wind was increasing.  We would not stay long because of the high waves out on the main lake.   
These are fresh water clams, or rather were fresh water clams.
I pulled the boat to shore at a place that is sort of dear to me, just for old times sake.

Now, here's a nice find.  I've not seen beaver sign on Abrams since I've been hiking and boating here, other than very old sign, but this little sapling was recently cut and it appears fresh enough to be cut last night.  This is really great!
 Look at those teeth marks.  Beavers don't actually take big chunks of wood away with each bite but rather bite or drag their big teeth across a preselected area in very rapid fashion back and forth.  It's a chomp and drag repetitively faster than one can see.  They do cut larger chunks out also.  That's hard to explain.
We turned back toward the main lake and the crazy water on our way to the truck and I knew the worse was yet to come - the interstate.

Shade needed this day in the woods and finally became tired due to the much needed exercise.  My sweet black velvet angel.  The blog site is giving me a lot of trouble tonight so I'll cut this entry off here.  Thanks for looking in and Happy New Year.