Sunday, August 17, 2014

CALDERWOOD LAKE CAMPING with an irritating ending

The urge is always there to visit Calderwood Lake so I tossed Shade in the truck and picked up a friend who wanted to go along on a camp out at the lake.  Its been a long time since I camped on the shores of Calderwood Lake and I was very excited about the next couple days.

Calderwood is a jewel on the mountain and no lake can compare with its primitive nature.
My friend asked not to be put on the blog so I am honoring his request.  He had not been to Calderwood Lake previous to this and was delighted at what he saw when we pulled into the park lot with the Gheenoe.
I brought the Australian Oz Tent this trip and tried a new way of loading it on the boat.  We didn't get far before we moved it back onto the side of the boat.
We finally got things straightened out and were off for Slick Rock Creek.

The lake was drawn down about four feet as can be seen by the water line in the following shot.  Look at the dark line that exists between the green foliage and the water.  That area of black should be water.  The power company is producing power to sell and is working Calderwood daily it seems.
I turned the Gheenoe into Slick Rock Creek and found it too shallow to navigate through.  We could not get to Slick Rock Creek where it flows out of the mountain.  What a disappointment!   Alcoa Aluminum sold Calderwood Lake when it stopped its aluminum smelting operation in Maryville, Tn.  I guess the new company is doing business differently.  If they continue to draw down the lake daily, no one will be able to get to Slick Rock Creek by boat.  We'd have to camp on the hill camp site (my terminology).  
Its been almost two years since I've been to the hillside camp spot and it looked a little different now.  There were large trees missing and the water was lower than normal.  The trees were blown over by a storm that hit directly on this camp spot and they can be found left and right of the area where forest workers cut them and pushed them out of the way.  Its still a great camp spot.  The Oz Tent is erected in the shot above.\
 The water was very low and the shoreline was lined with big boulders that made it chancy to tie the Gheenoe in close proximity to them.  A sea anchor was rigged in order to keep the boat safely away from the danger of being washed into the boulders on the shoreline and receiving damage.  
A sea anchor is nothing more than an anchor tied on the end of a long, long bungee cord made for that purpose.  The other end of the bungee is tied to a cleat on the back of the boat.  The anchor is tossed overboard well away from the shoreline and the boat is driven to shore where the bow line is tied around a tree or bush.  The boat can then be unloaded safely.  When all items are on shore, the line is untied from around the tree and the bungee cord will pull the boat back out in the river and the bow line is tied off to the tree to secure the boat.  Things look as they do above.
 The Oz Tent is large to carry but it is a miracle to set up.  Just 30 seconds has it up and ready to live in.
I wanted to see if I could find the old railroad tunnel that is usually hidden until the water is lowered in the lake.  Well, I found it and its below.  A canoe or kayak could easily navigate through this tunnel under the current water conditions.

 Just the top part of the tunnel opening is seen but it is open enough to see clear through one end to the other.
The lake was ultra smooth this day and reflections off the water were incredible making it difficult to determine where reality stopped and reflection began.   I'll post pictures here and there as I work through this blog.

Evening found me contemplating the day, wondering about what to do tomorrow and just feeling old.

The lake became quite and cool as darkness approached.  So beautiful!

 This is great!  A warm summer night on Calderwood Lake, my favorite place in Tennessee.
 Check out the little lizard below.  He was in and out of camp during the evening. I haven't had time to categorize him but will eventually.  

Here's some of those reflections I spoke about earlier.

Everything was roses until next morning when we woke up to intense itching and scratching.  Now what?  The marks around the belt line said it all.  Chiggers.  I had over a hundred chigger bites all over me.  It was terrible!  All I could think about was getting a hot shower and wash these bitten areas with soap and water.  We packed up everything and left.

I have been and am in agony since returning home.  Today was actually painful due to the itchy and blistering bumps all over my body due to the chigger bites.  I'm tempted to go to a doctor if they don't quit itching soon.
I can't develop a negative opinion of Calderwood Lake over this chigger business.  Just can't.  But, I will not from this day forth enter any tall grass or woods in Tennessee without Sawyers anti tick and chigger spray.  Never!
It is now the next night and the welts (bite marks) have grown hard and some are secreting clear liquid.  But, the itching has not abated.  Chigger bites are the most horrible I think!  Oh well - tomorrow's another day.  Maybe the itching will go away.
 Help, I've fallen and I can't get up.
This itching is murder and I gotta go now.  See ya later.
And, thanks for looking in......