Saturday, October 31, 2015


I have been looking forward to this day for weeks and weeks as it would be a day when best friends can share a gorgeous Autumn day in the mountains paddling canoes.  And what better place to paddle canoes than Indian Boundary Lake on the Cherohala Skyway?
I was up at 3:00 AM Friday and ready to go.  My canoe was loaded on the trailer the night before and all the gear was in the truck.  I knew it would be dark when I got to the lake but what the heck.  I could take a ride up the Cherohala and take some pictures at overlooks until my friends Paul and Jim arrived.  I sat the camera on a rock and used the ten second delay to get the shot of the Tellico River that flows beside the skyway for a distance.
 It was dark at the lake when I arrived and I watched the sun trying to penetrate the heavy fog that covered the lake.  

I became antsy and decided to find an overlook and watch the sun rise on this magnificent mountain..

This was going to be a day to remember.  The color was as good as it gets and it would be degenerating from this day on.  One rain would disintegrate Nature's Fall paintings.  I headed back to the lake.  I knew it would be at least two more hours before Paul and Jim arrived.  They had a far piece to travel.
 I was surrounded by color where I stood.   I couldn't wait to get on the water 
 The canoe trailer was backed into place and I unloaded the canoe and put all my necessaries inside.

It was time to get a picture before I launched.  I may as well get a hour in on the water  till they arrive.  I reached into my gear bag for my Canon SD990IS and it wasn't there.  Funny thing - I just used it at the overlooks just awhile ago.  I tore the truck apart and no camera.  The gear in the boat was checked.  Nothing.  The truck was dismantled again.  Nothing.  I felt a flash of heat sweep across my chest and face.  Did I set that camera down at an overlook?  I actually checked everywhere I walked or used the camera near where I launched the boat.  I tied the canoe off, jumped in the truck and blasted back to the two overlooks I visited this morning.  Nothing.  The camera was gone.  I saw Paul's truck when I got back and went ahead and adjusted my mind to the realization that I had mislaid one of the greatest cameras I have ever owned.  I wasn't going to let this ruin my day.  I had my 50D canon in the waterproof box with a 70-300 mm telephoto on it and I would make that do.  I do not like telephotos for landscape and water pictures but its all I had.  The SD990 would be sorely missed today.
 Well, my Mad River was in the water already so I'd see if the guys needed help.
Below is Paul's beautiful Esquif, Champlain 16 foot kevlar canoe.  

 The canoe below is a Mohawk 16 footer and it also belongs to Paul.  Paul actually retrieved this boat from a dumpster and revitalized it.  This boat looks fantastic and it rocks!  Why do people throw things away so easily?  I mean this boat is beautiful and Jim would be paddling it today.
 These two guys are outdoors personified and its a pleasure to paddle canoes with them but its an honor to call them friends of mine.  They are the real deal if you follow me....
 Oh, Paul has named the resurrected Mohawk canoe "The Pickle"
We were off.  Well, sorta off.  Everyone had to get oriented and place their boats just so and load them.  Below:  A picture suitable for the centerfold of Field And Stream.

Below:  The Champlain

 Ok, here's where the professional demonstrates how to enter a canoe safely - well, enter a canoe.
 The last time I was with Paul, he showed me one of his quick water launches that didn't go so well.  We'll just let it rest there.  

 Just shove off and ease right in at the same time staying centered and low in the boat.

 There - nothing to it.
 Jim launches without the slightest bit of fanfare.
I was already off shore near the overhanging trees so I just enjoyed the scenery.  Wow!  The colors popped!!!

 Both those boats look great out there and I'm really impressed with the Pickle.  That boat sits very nicely in the water.  Both ends are touching water perfectly like they are supposed to do. 

 Perfect scenery, perfect temperature and conditions and perfect companions.
Check out this scenery!
 Every scene is breath taking.  

 Canoes rock big time.  Slow and silent but sure and steady..  

 That shot below doesn't even come close to being a rendition of the real scene.  Ain't bad though.  Look at those guys immersed in all that color and majesty..

 Jim in the pickle lookin great!
 Paul and his Kevlar Champlain 16 footer.

 Below:  hornet's nest.

 Below: Jim is holding up his wide paddle as a sale to catch the gentle wind that is blowing
 Below:  Monkey see - Monkey do.    :)

 I really like the following picture.  Just something "quiet" about it.

 To of the finest outdoorsmen I have ever met, and the term, Sportsman applies here!!!!
 I beached the canoe and tied it off on a cypress knee and stretched my legs a little bit.
 This boat is proving to be a very good handling canoe.  She's a bit heavy but very rugged and maneuverable.
The picture that follows is of the trail that follows the shoreline the entire way around Indian Boundary lake.  I think it runs about three miles.  Its a beautiful trail!

 We were at the end of the lake and Paul started down a very narrow waterway that lead through and under the trees back in a shaded glen.

 What a pretty place it is back in here!
 We stopped paddling and just sat back and talked for awhile.  I tried to photograph two damsel flies mating with that telephoto lens and I didn't think I would get them.  It was an effort in laziness as I was just fooling around.  As it turned out the images came out.  How bout that?
 Not the best pictures but not too shabby for just fooling around.
 And they're off!
I noticed tiny, perfect symetrical little waves of water emanating from some movement located in the center of the activity.  It was a beautiful thing to watch.
 What was causing this anomaly?
 It was a tiny, tiny little moth struggling against the hold of the surface tension.  The little fellow was valiant in his attempts to survive.  I asked Jim to get him which he did.  I sat the little fellow on a leaf and soon lost sight of him, he was so tiny.  What the heck - insect, mammal, bird ---- they are all just trying to make it against the odds and it takes nothing to reach down and pluck a life from peril.
Sure is pretty back in here

 Paul lead the way back out.

We were facing the mountains when we exited that little glen and approached the main lake.  The views were spectacular.  I wish I had that little Canon 990.  That little thing is a landscape machine.

Its almost over. I wish the days were still long, but they aren't and there's always other times to look forward to.
Something appears to be amiss with Paul's hat
 So, that's almost the day in a nut shell.  One more thing.  I loaded my canoe onto the trailer and went to the truck and opened the passenger door to throw my paddles, life vest, boots and heavy coat inside on the floor and on the seat.  When I threw the coat on the seat my hand felt a lump in the cuff of the right  sleeve.  I stuck my hand up the cuff opening and there was my Canon camera.  I couldn't believe it!  That topped off the day.  
I sincerely hope you liked this blog entry and didn't get bored with it as there were a lot of pictures posted.  Thanks for looking in and see you next time.