Monday, January 13, 2014

MUD, SWEAT AND TEARS

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These two pictures are absolutely not color enhanced in the slightest.  This is the sunrise I witnessed this morning down at Douglas Lake and it seemed to extend forever into the horizon.  I’ve only seen one other sunrise similar to this one and that was last year.  The two shots are slightly different but simply grand and amazing!  Click on the U Tube button if you like for the move clip
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The French Broad River at upper Douglas Lake
Seeing all this endless mud simply makes me want to cry.  I thought I could get used to Douglas Lake mud after a time but it seems I just can’t because the scenes are just too unnatural.  I was saved from depression today by the most gorgeous sunrise I ever saw and had to stop the truck to gaze in awe at the colorful display.  The interlude soon ended and off I went in search of more mud at Walters Bridge and Rankin accesses, which are on the upper end of Douglas Lake.  Actually it’s the French Broad River where it flows into the reservoir.  I’ve posted many similar  shots two years ago but they may be new to a lot of you.
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The shot above is the raised road that goes straight to the Leadvale boat ramp which behind you when looking into the picture.  The water will be right up to the edge of the road in the summer.
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All the pictures above are views from the Leadvale boat ramp road.  That entire brown colored, muddy area will be ten feet under water in the springtime when TVA allows the lake to fill to capacity.  Beautiful, huh?
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The river turns to the right just upstream from the Leadvale boat ramp, continues and passes the Rankin ramp at the flood plain and on past the Nolichucky and Pigeon Rivers which intersect the French Broad River.
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The water is so low at Leadvale that boats can’t launch.  Those that dare to do so must negotiate the many rocks that lay just under the surface.  All that rough water you see is caused by water flowing over rocks.  The piers in the photo support a railroad bridge.
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A rock pile extends across the river just upstream from the boat ramp.  Nasty, nasty!
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No kidding!!!
Lets move to another popular boat launching area.  How about we move on down to Walters Bridge access area which is downstream a few miles.  Surely beauty and wondrous things await us there.
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Ah, that’s more like it.  More mud!
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The above picture is the boat ramp at Walters Bridge, named for the bridge in the photo.  It’s odd but a new bridge is being constructed right beside this older bridge.  I find this interesting because Walters Bridge is one of the best bridges I’ve crossed in this area.  It is very wide, smooth and appears to be in good repair and even received a new paint job just a year ago.  I can think of two bridges immediately that should be replaced and one of them isn’t this one.

I know you’re overcome with the beauty of Douglas Lake and I don’t want to overload you with gorgeous pictures of this scenic lake but I’ll try to keep the shots subdued and low key so as not to dazzle your eyes too badly.  Lets take a ride over to Swann's Marina, a favorite fisherman’s launch area and boat docking establishment.  Hold onto your hats for some super gorgeous pictures.  Sorry to have to do this to ya but I want you to have a full appreciation of what I have to deal with on a daily basis.
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Ah, there she is standing out there in the distance just waiting for -----some water.  All that brown mud in the foreground will be under water in March.  The boat I use is 22 feet long and if I try to launch it here the back of the boat will hit the docked boats that are in slips under roof.  It’s nuts.  How about a view to the immediate left.
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That’s right.  More mud.  There is a tiny stream of lake water just over that rise in the center of the picture.  Normally that’s an inlet full of water, but for now it’s simply---mud.  Here’s another view:
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You guessed it.  More mud!  Lets look to the right.  Remember that I’m parked in the main parking/launch lot in front of this marina.  The lake lays to the right of the buildings.  Lets take a look out that direction.
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A great view is provided filled with, you got it, more mud.  OK.  You’re not impressed so far.  We’ll drive along the lake and just arbitrarily select a spot to look at, pot luck so to speak.  Here goes-
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Surprise, surprise.  Mud.  The entire lake shoreline is nothing but sticky, gluey, brown, deep, quagmire like mud not fit to walk, drive or sit upon.  And people pay a million plus to have a lakeside home on this mess.  It don’t figure.  I can’t wait for the water to return.