Sunday, January 26, 2014

RIVER ICE ON THE FRENCH BROAD FLOOD PLAIN

gary’soutdoorwanderings2
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The shots above were taken of Swann’s Marina at Douglas Lake.  I had hoped to run into some fishermen there but was surprised to fine the water frozen solid.  Several trucks pulling boats pulled in and left immediately.
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A drive to Walters Bridge upstream of Swann’s Marina proved that the ice had broken up and was floating down in big chunks.  There were no fishermen here either.   The boat ramp at Leadvale was next and then the Rankin ramp above it.  All areas were showing Arctic conditions and proved very dangerous as far as launching a boat.  I could launch the boat but for what?  There is no sign of life on any boat ramp parking lot.
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I finally got to the Rankin boat ramp where the flood plain is and the river was running slow and choked with ice.  And, no fishermen anywhere.
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Just a blue jay
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I decided to travel upstream alongside the river to see if possibly there would be someone trying to fish near the hidden shoreline and was plunged back into that surreal world created by drastically lowering the lake that reminds me of a desert in Tennessee.
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And, as always, the first thoughts that enter my mind is why do people pay extravagant amounts of money for a home on a lot along the lake just to live beside this mess.  There’s water in the summer but a desert exists all winter long.  Yuk!
TVA knocked down all the houses and barns in the valley when they built Douglas Dam,  then, as I understand, they set the rubble on fire.  I notice that the farm silos were left standing.  I don’t understand that at all.
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Hard to believe that someone used to live here on a farm.  The water line can be seen on the side of the silo where the top tan line circles the concrete..  I dropped down to the edge of the mud desert to look at the old, original Route 25 highway that will be back on the bottom of the lake when the water rises in the spring.
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Years of laying under the water on the bottom of the lake has eroded the road bed and allowed the concrete to break apart..  The local fishermen stack old Christmas Trees on piles that will provide habitat for fish when the lake rises again.

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Please let me find an eagle someday with this sky as a backdrop!!
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I’m looking forward to paddling a canoe on the flood plain this spring and it will be a breath of fresh air to again see wading birds and other wildlife return to this area. 

Finally, he looks so alone way out there on the hill top.
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I don’t know how I saw her way out there.
I believe that animals can tell when they’re being watched.  She stopped and looked all around her and finally her nerves gave out and she bounded for the woods. 
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I’m off again tomorrow but the temperatures are to plummet once again.  We’ll see what happens.