Reformation Day Paddle

Paddling toward Hwy 41-A

NB – photo/caption alignment is unreliable in this version of WordPress editor.

Last Saturday, 31 October 2020, I paddled my new-to-me Long Haul Mark I kayak for the first time. I put in at Estill Springs City Park – an easily accessible primitive launch site – dirt, no real ramp, park where you can. Before leaving the house, I’d already planned to put in and paddle to the right – toward the populated by lake houses banks of Tims Ford Lake and as far as the Loop. I thought the water levels at the lake would be winter-pool low, so didn’t think I’d get far if I paddled up toward the dam at Woods Reservoir.

When I got to the put in, the water level looked sufficiently high to paddle in either direction, but I carried on with my planned route. There was a headwind to paddle against in the direction I chose, but I hoped that would have the wind at my back on my return trip.

Problems

Before getting to the water, I had to solve two new problems. The Long Haul Comfort Seat in the Mark I tends to flip forward – a circumstance that cannot but cause problems when the paddler enters the cockpit. I fixed that by using a small bungie cord. See the photo, below.

This short bungie keeps the seatback from flipping forward

The second problem, and one I should have considered more fully when assembling the kayak Friday, was that I needed to move the rudder pedal assembly forward from where I originally pinned it into place in the middle of the bow keelson’s track. Mark Eckhart, in his instructional video for the MK I assembly, recommends attaching the rudder pedal assembly before the forward frame half is inserted into the hullskin. The reason for this, as I learned, is that the attachment track and the pins that secure the assembly to the track are most easily accessible while the frame half is outside the skin.

Saturday morning, before loading the kayak onto the car, I decided to move the assembly closer to Rib No. 3 because at 5’9-5’10”, my legs might not reach much further forward while underway. Thought it was better to reach the pedals even if slightly uncomfortable than to not reach them at all while on the water.

I almost didn’t get the assembly reattached. I sweated and prayed a good deal but my efforts were ultimately successful. I then adjusted the number of chainlinks for the rudder cables at the carabiner on each rudder pedal. Less annoyingly difficult than what went before.

An older problem long since solved is getting a heavy, wood-framed folding kayak onto a car’s roof rack. Ralph Hoehn suggested this to me years ago. Open the car’s front door, lift the bow end of the kayak and set it on the top of the open door. Then lift the stern end onto the car’s rear crossbar. Then the bow end onto the front crossbar. Make adjustments, secure the kayak, go. Here’s an illustration – bow end on front door, stern end on back crossbar:

Door loading/unloading trick

Immediately after I got underway, I felt the tension in the left rudder pedal give way with a sound that seemed to indicate something’d broken. I got out of the kayak at shoreline and, negotiating the spraydeck’s opening with arms, head, shoulders while using my teeth as a third hand, I counted out the cable links and re-fastened the chain to the left pedal’s carabiner. Nothing had broken, I’d just failed to make secure the connection before I left the house. Thought I had, but was mistaken. Getting that corrected was more difficult than solving my rudder assembly placement earlier in the day.

Paddling Impressions

In an online forum, I noted that I felt weak or out of shape when it came to paddling this kayak for the first time. In the last ten years or so, I haven’t paddled regularly. When my son got old enough to miss me when I was gone all day, I started cycling instead.

Part of the problem was I used an unfamiliar paddle for the first time Saturday, too. I bought a 240 cm Werner Camano paddle from Ebay early last month knowing I’d be getting Mark I.

That’s my Ebay 240 cm Werner Camano paddle

As I think back about it, I would have been better off using my old Eric Renshaw Greenland paddle or even my heavy Aqua-Bound paddle. 240 centimeters is too long for this solo kayak. 230 or 225 would be better for me. The Werner’s a nice paddle. Lightweight, strong. It’ll work for my RZ-96 or even my old Grumman canoe.

Rail bridge foreground and bridge at 41-A

It took me a while to feel like I was equal to paddling, controlling the Mark I. The kayak is 15′ 10″ in length and 28″ wide. The manufacturer’s website says the kayak weighs 69#, but I think that’s without rudder/pedals and the seat. It’s pretty heavy.

After paddling past the rail and highway bridges at 41-A, I found the robotic, ab-crunching torso rotation reliant paddling style that has always got me out and back again even when feeling so worn out that paddling felt like a clumsy, tedious slog.

I do lift weights most days a gym, but the artificial practice of strength training with machines and free weights is crap compared to using my muscles to do real work in the real world. Paddling versus weights – paddling’s better. So’s cycling.

The Long Haul I don’t paddle as fast as I did my old E-68. It’s more immediately stable than the E-68. Because I wasn’t totally comfortable with my connection to the kayak at the rudder pedals or with my knees against the gunwales and also because I wasn’t comfortable with my new paddle, I didn’t try to lean the kayak or do any braces. Maybe next time with a shorter paddle.

All in all, counting breaks for bladder relief (out of sight of any lakehouse residents) and a lunch stop, I was probably on the lake for about four hours. My paddling experience was pretty awful due to being out of shape and out of practice.

Shallow grove

I saw a grove of trees standing in shallow water with oddly shaped trunks. I saw some great blue herons, other birds I couldn’t identify, some turtles. Mossy rocks.

I paddled out to the Loop, then explored a backwater accessed through a tunnel under the highway that leads to Loop Drive, I think it’s called. I passed numerous palatial lake houses. One of them reminded me of the Apple Barn restaurant and shops in Sevierville. On the way back to the put in, I saw a bald eagle. The picture didn’t turn out very well. The bird looked alert and oriented, a beautiful creature.

Estill Springs City Park put in

By the time I got back to Estill Springs City Park I was glad to see the car again. Got some dirt or sand on my back deck – no idea how that happened.

Dirt? No idea how it got there
Inexpertly tied painter knots

Sunday 27 June Estill Springs Slough

I am still trying to figure out how to get multiple photos to appear in some kind of sensible order.  Probably the solution involves inserting a table and inserting the photos into the cells, then adding captions.  I’ll try that next time.

450-S-at-Rest
Gongle (or Gongol) my 1962 Pionier 450 S kayak up a shallow creek that empties in to the Elk River upstream from the ruined footbridge above Beth Page Rd.
450-S-Stern-.75-Waterline
Starboard (right?) rear three-quarter view showing waterline, rudder, steering yoke.
1962-Comfort-Seating
State of the art comfort seating of 1962. My butt didn’t hurt until about the third hour on the water. The curved seat provided adequate thigh support, and seatback supported my lower back to a much greater degree than either of the modern Pouch folding kayaks I own.
Back-Downstream
Heading back downstream toward the bridge above Beth Page Rd. Don’t usually manage to make this far upstream on the Elk; helped by recent rains.
Beth-Page-Rd.-Bridge
Eric paddling Campsis Radicans, my Pouch E68, at Beth Page Rd. bridge. Note the high water.
Blanket-of-Green
A blanket of green water plants (dunno what they’re called) near that second bridge.
C10-in-450-S
That’s me looking a little Spock-like under the hat and smirking while at rest in the cockpit of 450 S.
E68-Cruising
Eric paddling upstream toward that second bridge. Note the waterline. I liked the reflection, which is why I took the picture.
EricE68
Eric & Campsis Radicans up that shallow creek.
Eric-Underway
A snapshot of the E68 underway. Eric was using a Werner Skagit paddle he’d purchased a couple of weeks ago to use with the plastic rec-boat he bought. At 230 cm, the paddle is too long for the E68.
Getting-Seated
Eric snapped about six shots of me getting out of and back in to the 450 S hoping to capture something similar to his concrete-roll portrait the day before at Boat Day in Murfreesboro. Here I’m getting in to the boat. The paddle’s about 223 cm. Dunno what that is in inches.
Lunch-Lock
A not terribly secure lock on our lunchtime mooring in the shade of the bridge at Beth Page Rd. The Pionier came without any deck rigging or perimeter line; I improvised.
Pontoon-Baot
A couple sight-seeing in their 20′ pontoon boat
Rafted-for-Lunch
We rafted up for lunch and ate the remains of a large chicken alfredo pizza.
Rocky-Overhang
I love this stretch of the Elk River above the ruined bridge. Even in extreme heat, this section is cool from the cold river water, and the smell of spring-water seeping and flowering leafy plants at the rock overhang is pleasant. As a bonus, bird sounds and the sound of wind in the trees makes this place worth the price of admission.
Shallow-Maze
The shallow creek maze where we rested a couple of minutes before proceeding to the next bridge upstream. Usually passage upstream from here necessitates wading and pulling the boat behind not much past this place on the map. The river is to the photographer’s back.
Steps-Ahead
Winchester has a number of these stony piers that don’t seem to have much to do with anything currently visible either here or behind the city’s housing projects.
Steps-Close-Up
Some of the stone facing is missing this year. Previously I’d always thought these were Civil War old, but the concrete underneath makes me wonder if they were’nt part of some WPA flood control project before the river was ever dammed.
Strange-Marker
Strange marker at that second bridge. The map shows a gauging station here.
Swallow-Nests
Swallow nests under that second bridge.
Take-Out-Awaits
Thursday awaits us at the take-out, an “unimproved” dirt ramp at Estill Springs City Park in Franklin County, Tennessee.
Trumpet-Creeper
Trumpet creeper, or campsis radicans, in bloom.
Upstream-Elk-River
Just paddling – note improvised deck rigging.

Paddling Injured

Ready to launch - dirt boat ramp at Estill Springs City Park

Ready to launch - dirt boat ramp at Estill Springs City Park

Injury

Yesterday, for the first time since November, 2008, I paddled my kayak. My shoulder diagnosis was something like “partial thickness tear supraspinatus,” and “spurring on the acromium,” as well as tendonitis. I had a cortisone injection. I took a drug called Soma for 30 days, followed by two months of physical therapy. Star Physical Therapy at Stepford was fantastic. Had some almost out of body experiences while napping in traction. Overall pain reduction and regained most of my pre-injury range of motion. I’m still working on regaining full strength in that one shoulder. Same side trapezius is still occasionally very painful, but much improved. Hurt my back again two or so weeks ago and couldn’t walk for the better part of a day, but my genius chiropractor fixed me up.

Take It Easy

My physical therapist, my chiropractor, and my wife all recommended I take it easy, maybe a couple of hours or about a quarter of my normal distance. So, with no real goal in mind, I drove to Estill Springs City Park. The city permits campers there, and the sites are what I’d call primitive. About five or six families were camped out in tents and RVs when I pulled up at about 8:00 am. Late for me, but I was trying to do this without any goal in mind beyond getting home in time to mow.

Campsis Radicans, the plant after which I named my red Pouch E68 folding kayak

Campsis Radicans, the plant after which I named my red Pouch E68 folding kayak

Going through the routine of assembling my gear, securing the boat to my car’s roof racks, putting on my paddling clothes reassured me at home that I might still know how to do this stuff. Same at the put in, going through the motions in reverse, except I left my boating clothes on. And once in the boat, I felt about the same as I always have in the cockpit. Low-angle stroke powered by torso-rotation and leg movement produced no discernible stress on my injury, no pain.

A Goal

Because I’m obsessive, goal driven freak, I was unable to make having no goal my goal for the day. When I observed the water level in the Tims Ford impoundment of the Elk River higher than I’ve seen it before, I took the opportunity to poke around in the slough. I paddled over ground that’s normally dry, got just about stuck in a shallow place with grass gone to spiky seed. I’d gone in over a small log, but my rudder caught against it paddling backwards out again. Necessitated an 18 or 20 point turn in a 16.5′ kayak. Still, it was better than getting out and wading half sunk in the mud to turn the boat by hand. I felt hungry, but ignored it.

Shoreline across the water from the put-in

Shoreline across the water from the put-in

More water made this place accessible

More water made this place accessible

Straight ahead's where I almost got stuck in weedy mud

Straight ahead's where I almost got stuck in weedy mud

My best guess is that man has carefully explored shoreline out of the desire to find a non-muddy, easy landing place to get out of the boat for urination.

Round-trip maybe 10 miles - not much straight-line paddling, and in no real hurry

Round-trip maybe 10 miles - not much straight-line paddling, and in no real hurry. Click on the image, then in the browser url address line on the linked page change width to some number greater than 300.

When I returned to the main channel of impounded Elk River after exploring hitherto unseen backwaters, and after having found a convenient place to, um, stretch my legs, I continued paddling up toward the bridge at the place Spring Church Road becomes Payne’s Church Road. There’re a couple of farmhouses on your left as you paddle toward the bridge. Past that bridge, which Saturday morning had people fishing under it and off it, the river water has noticeable current, and is much cooler felt through the boat’s skin.

I thought I’d paddle past the first bridge to a ruined bridge maybe a mile further upstream, and then turn around and come back. But at the ruined bridge, I was annoyed to find loud campers, talking like people talk who have been drinking already in the morning after having had too much to drink the night before. Unwilling to have my turnaround place spoiled by the presence philistines, I paddled on, up to where the river takes a left turn (as you are paddling upstream) in broad, steep-banked, tree shaded place. I’ve only ever seen one other boater that far, and saw no one on Saturday.

Because the water was clearly deeper than at any other time I’d been on this part of the river, I thought, “why not see if I can make it to the next bridge?” So I did, even though I knew I should probably call it quits for the day and return to the put-in. I made it to bridge at Morris Ferry Bridge Road (I’m pretty sure that bridge was not Morris Ferry Bridge). Not long after that, I had to get out and wade for a bit, pulling the kayak behind me. I shot some video at this point with the Pentax, pulling the boat by a length of yellow poly-pro line in my left hand, and the camera in my right while trying to step carefully over slippery shin-deep rocky bottom. The water was cold, and felt good rushing past and around my legs that’ve been too long out of sun and kayak and water.

 Reduntantly, the bridge Morris Ferry Bridge Road

Redundantly, the bridge Morris Ferry Bridge Road

Big block mid-stream

Big block mid-stream

Back in the boat, paddle a bit. Out of the boat, wade and pull a bit. My injured shoulder ached a little bit deep in the muscle. I paddled farther despite misgivings. I passed a huge concrete block with rebar around it set squarely in mid-stream. Finally, I came to a place where I had to get out of the boat again near a bank littered with small shells. Undoubtedly some raccoon’s shellfish buffet. There I turned around and headed back downstream.

Small carnivore's shellfish feeding place

Small carnivore's shellfish feeding place

Heading back to the second bridge

Heading back to the second bridge

Plant submerged tenaciously clings to rock in current

Plant submerged tenaciously clings to rock in current

A pretty place

A pretty place

I needed to get back to the car with enough energy remaining to lift the 70 plus pound boat up onto the Volvo’s roofracks, then, once home, to edge and mow the lawn. Going downstream, I think I only had to get out of the boat once at a shallow place. Easier going with the current. I saw a large bird of prey with a white head and whit e tail feathers – a bald eagle?

I ate my "lunch" as I drifted past this place

I ate my "lunch" as I drifted past this place

Last night my shoulder hurt pretty badly a couple of times – woke me up – aspirin helped. This afternoon, I did my prescribed physical therapy exercises. We’ll see whether I can sleep tonight.

This is what a fish sees when it looks at me

This is what a fish sees when it looks at me

Lost Creek, Copper, Anderton Branches – Tims Ford Lake

Lost Creek Branch

Lost Creek Branch

During an approximately 14 mile roundtrip Friday, I paddled Lost Creek Branch, re-explored Copper Branch, and for the first paddled Anderton Branch on Tims Ford Lake.  My left shoulder hurt again the first mile or so, then no longer pained me.

House looks okay from a distance

House looks okay from a distance

A house on the lake with sign proclaiming that it is or occupies Britney Point appears derelict in spite of the fact of its evidently recent construction, huge size, elaborate outdoor entertainment areas, and covered dock. I first saw the house a year or two ago, and wrote about it at my Yahoo blog. At the time, I wondered, “What happened to these people?”

Somebody's kept the yard mowed

Somebody's kept the yard mowed

Paint peeling and weathered on the ghostley outdoor entertainment area

Paint peeling and weathered on the ghostley outdoor entertainment area

Yesterday I found myself wondering the same thing. The white-painted wood frame doors at the back porch hung sagging from their hinges with torn screens. The many windows appeared lifeless and still, the speedboat continued to mildew in its covered slip, and its woodwork has rotted green. I was surprised and somewhat heartened to note that none of the black windows appeared broken. Somebody, maybe the wind, has cleared away the dock’s cobwebs and the dusty orange lifejackets piled haphazard trailing their straps into the murky lakewater. Buckets and field tile littered the leaf-covered steep hillside.

Ski-boat moldering dockside

Ski-boat moldering dockside

Mossy limb

Mossy limb

Gothic arches

Gothic arches

A final view after my first lunch stop

A final view after my first lunch stop

I ate part of my lunch across from the three-storey brick derelict, while seated on a beam set up on cinder-blocks near a dry dock and two circles of of folding chairs in need of burning. Certainly other things had been burned nearby. Moss grew heavy on one tree’s limb – not unusual, but for some reason I noticed it.

I ate part of my lunch other side of that dock

I ate part of my lunch other side of that dock

Colorful dock on Copper Branch

Colorful dock on Copper Branch

Paddling back out Copper Branch, elaborate houses on my right cluttered the shore like an expensive ghetto. Two guys in a bassboat sped up and down Lost Creek, Copper, and I later saw them at Anderton, branches. I never did see them fishing. My guess is they were making a burglary list of houses that’ve been closed up for winter.

Anderton Branch Crow Tree

Anderton Branch Crow Tree

On Anderton Branch, which I’ve bypassed at least three times before, I saw and heard a large, ungainly bearded man berate a little boy for having broken a “thurday dollah” gew-gaw in his tackle box, “These don’t just fall off, you broke it off!” Sheesh, like I’m sure the little kid deliberately broke whatever the aitch it was. They’d been bank fishing but had come by boat, which was pulled up on the shore. The kid was in the boat. I slowed, but don’t think the man physically beat the child. What he said to the boy, and the way he said it was beating enough.

Colby + Chryssy Forever

Colby + Chryssy Forever

The Dawn Sisters

The Dawn Sisters

Go Vols!

Go Vols!

At farthest corner of Anderton Branch, I came to a public boat ramp I never knew was there. But when I looked at my map, there it was plainly shown – Anderton Branch Public Access Area.   I stopped, stretched, ate the rest of my lunch.  After that, I threw some trash away at the garbage can next to the dock’s boardwalk, and noticed that Colby and Chrissy had declared the eternal nature of their presumably romantic attachment no less than three times in graven characters upon the structure’s upright supports.  Gad, I thought, who would name his son after a cheese?  Then I thought, this is what I would expect of someone named for a cheese.  Then I noticed the sheer number of names and messages carved upon the dock’s every surface.  They spoke all at once momentarily unfiltered into my brain through my eyes. I realized this was a significant anthropological find, and set about photographing many of the most striking glyphs.

Mysta Big & Illegible

Mysta Big & Illegible

Amanda

Amanda

Haley + Bryan, and Heart Rebus Verbed

Haley + Bryan, and Heart Rebus Verbed

Derisive & Vulgar Imperative JR

Derisive & Vulgar Imperative JR

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Having completed that important work, I set out to return to my car, Thursday, and then home.

But first I paddled out of Anderton Branch in a more southerly arc than proved adviseable, completely overshot the main channel of Lost Creek Branch, and found myself unbenownst at the mouth of Ray Branch staring due south at the smaller of the two islands near Tims Ford Dam.  I shouldn’t be seeing these, I thought, then turned my back on the islands and paddled north.  In the distance, the channel narrowed.  I saw a rocky outcrop that didn’t look familiar.  I saw a line of colorful jugs floating in the distance.  To my right I saw another channel, its features likewise unfamiliar.

Islands of the Dammed

Islands of the Dammed

Excrement, I thought, I’m lost, and the last of my food just eaten.  Not so lost I don’t know where I am, just lost enough to be unsure how to return to where I want to be.  Grateful I’d had the last-minute sense to bring both map and compass, I put my back to that small island, found the island on my map, consulted my compass, consulted my map, looked due north, marked a feature, found it on the map, and paddled back to Lost Creek Branch.

The breeze freshened as I paddled northwest, and I paddled with renewed vigor, happy with the wind’s resistance.

Cold Morning Sans Camera

15 degrees Fahrenheit when I checked the weather online yesterday morning. Frost on the red boat’s deck. I debated whether to skip church, and paddle today, instead, but ultimately solved the problem by getting a later start. By the time I got to the put in at Hurricane Creek Branch on Tims Ford Lake, the temperature’d risen to about 31.5 degrees by the 850’s in-dash digital thermometer. Only one other vehicle at the boat ramp. Maybe on the water by 10:00 am. NOAA predicted a gentle breeze from the south at 5 mph, but I felt no wind as I pulled on my Bombergear Radiator drysuit for the first time since March or April. A couple of months ago, I finally sent it off to the good folks at Amigo’s for professional repair, although that Kirch’s Kwik Patch was still holding up pretty well.

Water didn’t seem too cold as I waded to get into my boat. No camera because the beloved Caution-Lady required it last week to photograph a classroom project, and she’d left the Pentax at school. Paddled in a southerly direction with significant left-shoulder pain, and adjusted the stroke as I went to minimize same. I’d forgotten the inflatable blue Klepper seatback I normally use as lumbar support, so had to take responsibility for keeping my own spine straight for proper torso-rotation. I did okay with that, too. Not much back pain by the end of the day. Had some left leg numbness and pain that resolved with position changes and exaggerated leg use while underway.

I turned left into Turkey Creek Branch, realizing as I did so that the features I was expecting to find there are located in the vicinity of Lost Creek Branch. I paddled as far back into Turkey Creek Branch as the winter pool water level permitted. I came to a place where the water was so clear and lightly blue-tinted it appeared much shallower than it really was. The kayak’s keel passed over four or five tires, miscellaneous junk, fishing lures, hundreds of little two-inch fish swimming together in swirling patterns like those made by water-weeds in current, until I came to place where the sandy soft bottom barred further progress. Ahead and to my right I could hear the stream’s gurgling as it flowed around and over dry sticks of the water plants that flourish in the summer months when the water’s level is higher, and the water itself warmer.

On my way back out toward Hurrican Creek Branch, I came to a backwater on my left in which I saw more of the straw-colored plant stalks like a field of dry grass. On these Tennessee lakes I have frequently seen in the warmer months something like soap-foam that gets pushed by the wind up against anything relatively stationary in the water, or along the shoreline. Looked like a lot of foam up against those water twigs. I paddled in for a closer look at the gray hulk of a wrecked speedboat. I’d seen it before the last time I was up this branch, only at that time, the water was much lower, and I couldn’t get near it. As I approached I became aware as my bow broke through it a layer of clear, thin ice in place of the water’s usual liquid surface. It cracked, and I was able to paddle through, close to and past the wreck. Somebody’d removed the steering wheel, the outboard motor, the seats, but had left the boat’s in-dash AM radio. All covered in gray mud, I didn’t imagine the radio could be made to work again, but wondered why the fiberglass hull had been left. Maybe holed-through? Dunno. Didn’t get out to check. Water over the wide transom in the hull was completely iced over, too. Up close, what had looked like foam was ice all around where the dry sticks poked up from the water. Before paddling backwards out again, I gave the ice ahead of me sound whack with the paddle, and it reluctantly broke, but no point in going any farther that direction.

I paddled on out to the main branch. A little farther down on my left is a boat ramp I’ve never been able to find from the road, and a little beyond that I stopped and ate all of my lunch. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten everything in my lunch bag at one sitting while paddling. I have always left something over for the paddle back. I guess I was thinking I could get something at Holiday Landing restaurant if I needed it.

Around Awalt Bridge I paddled, then back into the branch where Holiday Landing is located. Some very large, rectangular houseboats in there. Bigger than buses they appeared from the cockpit of my kayak. The restaurant was closed, all its outside seating stacked up on tables. I paddled around the floating docks, looking at the boats in their slips, then back out again to the main channel.

By this time I was tired, and stopped to empty a bottle of something called Vitamin Water (I got a case of the stuff pretty cheaply back in the Spring, and it tastes like melted popsicles), took a swig of Gatorade, and paddled ploddingly back to the boat ramp. Maybe the slope of the ramp, but I had a hard time lifting the boat up to get it on the racks. I’ve worked out a sort of time-and-motion routine to efficiently lash secure the boat on the racks, then to release the straps and tie-downs to get it off the racks again.

Using the distance tool at Dunigan’s Tennessee Landforms site later on, I found that I’d only made about 12.5 miles, roundtrip.

On the way home, I stopped at my mom’s house and observed the work the city is doing to prevent further erosion along the creek bed that bounds the backyard at her house. Very workmanlike.

Mom last week knit Seventy-Six a winter cap with ear-flaps and toggle-fastener, and yesterday she had finished his matching mittens. Funny mittens for infants have no thumbs, like socks for tiny hands.

Then home, a much-needed hot shower, and the joys of family life that far surpass (edited) those of the life aquatic.

Little Hurricane Creek & Fanning Bend

Warm and not very windy today. I put in at Pleasant Grove boat ramp near the top of Little Hurricane Creek branch on Tims Ford Lake. First found the location in October, 2007, and paddled Little Hurricane branch that November, and again in February, 2008.  Some bearded guys were fishing from the bank when I arrived about nine. I believe I mentioned earlier today that I had a lazy morning.

My goals were to paddle all the way down Little Hurricane Creek branch, then some of the lake’s south shore toward the state park. I’d hoped to get to Big Hollow, but only managed to explore Fanning Bend today. (Another possible goal is related to subject-verb agreement)  Maybe 12, 13 mile roundtrip.

The leaves are not yet as colorful as they will be in two or three weeks. Water’s not as cold, either, but is certainly cooling off. I saw fish, not as many of the herons as I’m used to seeing, two small black ducks with white beaks, empty covered slips from a lakeside housing development that’s not taken off yet, a yacht, ostentatious houses, a living turtle swimming head out of water before diving at my approach.

Empty slips at Fanning Bend lakeside housing development

Empty slips at Fanning Bend lakeside housing development

Three of these hazard markers around this shallow place marked Seven Islands on the map

Three of these hazard markers around this shallow place marked Seven Islands on the map

Boat wakes broke like waves in here making splashing sounds like a big fish in shallow water

Boat wakes broke like waves in here making splashing sounds like a big fish in shallow water

In rehab, money saved after having been in rehab, profit money from a rehab to the stars, mocking rehab?

In rehab, money saved after having been in rehab, profit money from a rehab to the stars, mocking rehab?

The fabled stone turtle view 1

The fabled stone turtle view 1

The stone turtle view 2

The stone turtle view 2

Stone turtle view 3

Stone turtle view 3

I liked this house

I liked this house

Chicken wire holding in place broken glass and plastic pop bottles...for burglars?  Geese?

Chicken wire holding in place broken glass and plastic pop bottles...for burglars? Geese?

Not as interesting a find as Caiaphas' ossuary, but more useful and wholesome - a little stone box dispensing spring-water

Not as interesting a find as Caiaphas' ossuary, but more wholesome and useful - a little stone box dispensing spring-water

I like the orange leaves and the bright red leaves best

I like the orange leaves and the bright red leaves best

Tims Ford State Park

Winds’re predicted from East Norhteast today. I’m headed for a state park boat ramp, to an area I’ve never paddled. Have a map, have a compass, three quarts of water, and a lunch I’ve just packed. I overate yesterday at a coworker’s farewell lunch, so I’m all carbed-up for the day. Joints are feeling better, but the ancient Klepper backrest I’ve been using for the past year or so blew out last week. Dunno what that’ll do to my forward stroke, much less my aging lower back. Time to find out.

At the state park boat ramp and dock - Wildlife Resources boat
At the state park boat ramp and dock – Wildlife Resources boat
Paddling southwest and looking left - warm morning's sky
Paddling southwest and looking left – warm morning’s sky

When the markets crash, and those institutions and things relied upon are no more, this will look a lot more Charles Addams than it does now
When the markets crash, and those institutions and things relied upon are no more, this will look a lot more Charles Addams than it does now
Nameless islands and distant shorelines seen from The Narrows
Nameless islands and distant shorelines seen from The Narrows
Second time I've approached this island (last time was the day my golf umbrella broke), this time from another direction
Second time I approached this island (my golf-umbrella sail broke last time I was here)
My back and legs hurt badly by the time I reached the island's lee - convenient cinder-block steps led up
My back and legs hurt badly by the time I reached the island – convenient cinder-block steps led up
Steps behind me, I walked through a clearing and down the ridge's central trail, looking back to see the way I'd come
Steps behind me, I walked through a clearing and down the ridge’s central trail, looking back to see the way I’d come
To my surprise, I found island camping is permitted
To my surprise, I found island camping is permitted
No surprise at all, I found what trash left behind
No surprise at all, I found what trash left behind – this; an open latrine; a portable grill; etc.
Here's a view from the island looking back toward, IIRC, The Narrows
Here’s a view from the island looking back toward The Narrows
Tims Ford Dam distant - a boat ramp is to the right, almost adjacent the dam
Tims Ford Dam distant – a boat ramp is to the right, almost adjacent the dam

Not far from the dam

Not far from the dam

Completing my original circuit - here is the boat ramp at Tims Ford State Park

Completing my original circuit - here is the boat ramp at Tims Ford State Park

You can rent these at the boat dock - Looks like they've got them chained to prevent theft - Can you imagine?

You can rent these at the boat dock - Looks like they've got them chained to prevent - I have to laugh at this - theft

I saw a lot of fish, but didn't see anybody catching fish

I saw a lot of fish, but didn't see anyone catching them

Later: I’m going to have to find some back support. My body today was a Disneyland of neuropathy – numb feet, shooting pains in the palms of my hands, similar pains in the soles of my feet, some numbness in the left hand. Didn’t help that I started off with the Nautiraid Greenlander seat (which replaced the East German rubber tractor seat that shipped with the E68, and worth every penny) a little overinflated. That coupled with some of the lately recurrent shoulder pain, and back pain.

The predicted wind blew, and was alternately a hindrance and a help.  I made about 12 to 13 miles, counting the paddle back through the park after completing my original circuit.  I’ve walked the trail to Weaver Point dozens of times.  Today I was able to paddle the water seen from that path, which has been sort of a goal since I got my first boat in 2005.

I think these are martin houses - used to see many more of them in this part of Tennessee.  The martins, in season, help to keep mosquitos and other insects in check.

I think these are martin houses - used to see many more of them in this part of Tennessee. The martins, in season, help to keep mosquitos and other insects in check.

I chatted with the Wildlife Resources woman before setting out about 7:20 am (I had farther to drive than last week).  A state employee, her job consists of every day driving around the lake in the boat pictured near the top of this post, and talking to every angler she sees in order to determine number of fish caught, their type, and their size, then recording that data for the agency.  That’s it.  She said that, as with any job you have to do every day, it can get old, but she remembers answering phones for the agency’s revenue division, her previous employment, and said, “I’ve been blessed.”  I guess she has.

Young great blue heron takes flight

Young great blue heron takes flight

Plenty of fish were in evidence.  All day long I heard the sound of countless cicadas in the trees, listened also to the sound of the wind in the trees, each tree taking a different voice than its neighbor.  I snapped a picture of large carplike beast to port in a shallow creek in the park.  I saw what I think, because of its slow reflexes and starveling appearance, was a very young great blue heron, and I was able to snap its picture as it moved to take flight.  On my way out of the park, saw something to port that I, with hardly a conscious thought, noted and dismissed as the shadow of a ledge, or a submerged stump.  And then it moved, swimming toward and behind the boat as I started, then paddled on.

Kudzu, at left, encroaches upon indigenous flora, right

Kudzu, at left, encroaches upon indigenous flora, right

Kudzilla rears up to smite puny kayak man.  Undaunted, Christov_Tenn takes a few snapshots to show Caution-Lady and Little Seventy-Six
Kudzilla rears up to smite puny kayak man. Undaunted, Christov_Tenn takes a few snapshots to show Caution-Lady and Little Seventy-Six

I discovered Kuzilla’s Garden, and Kudzilla himself. Some genius imported this stuff from I don’t know where to slow topsoil erosion, and it grows like a monster vine in Jumanji. At an Alabama barbecue, I recall discussing the plant with a fellow who works for a chemical company that manufactures weedkiller for use on big farms. He said it grows from a sort of potato, and to kill the plant, one must kill the tuber. I remember he also said the Kudzu potato is edible. Heck, it’d be the one crop nothing could kill, that would never fail. Probably tastes awful.

Kudzilla's garden - looks like fanciful Disneyland topiary
Kudzilla’s garden – looks like fanciful Disneyland topiary

Paddling Owl Hollow

I ate so much yesterday evening at John’s house that my gut physically hurt. He offered to send a covered plate full of that same amazingly good food home with me, but I could not at that time regard or contemplate another morsel. And that is why I am eating a bowl full of leftover spaghetti as I ponder what to write next.

This morning I slept in until about six. I got up, made coffee, boiled water in the kettle for oatmeal, looked at email, read the news, ate breakfast, read from another novel. I pulled my synthetic water clothes from where I’d left them hanging over the shower to dry, and more importantly, to air out overnight. Most of yesterday’s lunch I’d left uneaten while on Woods, so it served as the basis of the lunch I took with me paddling today.

By Thursday I’d made up my mind to skip church and go paddling this morning. I wanted to put in at Devil’s Step boat ramp on the south shore of Tims Ford Lake, and paddle west to explore Owl Hollow, which runs almost south to north.

Driving 41-A through Estill Springs and Winchester feels like it takes forever because the geniuses who run both municipalities have limited the four-lane highway’s speed to 40 – 45 miles per hour for unreasonably long stretches. It’s a speedtrap.

The boat ramp was busy with pontoon boats, daycruisers, speedboats, and jet-skiis. I quickly unloaded Campsis Radicans, moved the car, rigged the boat, and got underway. NOAA weather report predicted eventual winds from the south, southwest at five miles per hour, so I hoped I’d have a gentle breeze at my back on the return leg.

First, I paddled over to Devil’s Step campground, part of Tims Ford State Park, to have a look at the spot my wife and I camped in May of 2007. Water’s up pretty high, now. I saw a red, A-frame tent in the place we pitched our green A-frame tent. Most of the other spots were filled up with camper-trailers or motor-homes. A number of campers had pontoon boats and jet-skiis tied up near their campsites. Back past the courtesy dock at the boat ramp I paddled – last time I paddled near it, the water was low and the dock was high above it, as if on stilts. Today it was at water-level.

Around the other side of the boat ramp picnic area the shoreline cuts in and I paddled as far into it as I could. Saw what looked like a broken beehive cairn, maybe housed a spring spigot a hundred years ago. I continued on my way, and my journey was uneventful. I observed hundreds of small fish with bluish tails silhouetted under the water against shallow rock shelves. I stopped to stretch, and to don my sprayskirt. I saw a box turtle swimming away from my kayak. I enjoyed paddling the waters confused by powerboat wakes.

At Owl Hollow, two or three speedboats towed their tethered skiers. I paddled to the top of the branch where there were no other boats, and paddled further, up the creek I’d guess is called Owl Hollow Creek, but is not identified on my map.

Insects buzzed. The creek looked impassible. I found a narrow space between a fallen log and a bank overhung with a thorny vine’s branches. I made it through and paddled further, passing under a log fallen across the creek from bank to bank. about a 50 feet past the log bridge, another fallen tree completely blocked all passage, and the creek was too narrow for turning. I backed my kayak out, remembering to lay flat forward face to foredeck as I had on the way in.

I found the narrow space more difficult to negotiate on my way out. As I was managing the thing, I saw something that looked like a big, black tractor pedal. It looked like it had a length of black cable attached to it, and it was about six inches from my kayak’s waist, up against the bank. I prodded it with my paddle and it scooted forward. A snapping turtle, with a tail like a ray or a skate. I took its picture, camera battery about dead, and got quickly past the tiny Gamera spawn.

Finally, I found a place to eat part of my lunch, in my kayak, watching as a family group tried to teach one of their children to water-ski. I never eat all of the food I bring paddling at one sitting. It’s better, I think, to have something in reserve if delayed or without energy toward the end of a trip. Usually, I wind up not eating part of the lunch, and take it home.

I’ve got a bag of unsalted peanuts with salted almonds on the kitchen counter now. What I did eat was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with four generic Fig Newton cookie bars. I found the jelly in the cabinet yesterday beside the peanut butter. Apple Cinnamon Something. My wife often buys a variety of food items without mentioning them to me, and from time to time, I find them.

Not much else to say. It was hot today, but not hot as hell. I used my sprayskirt because the Greenlandish paddle I habitually use has no drip rings, and because I thought that if some drunk in a speedboat gets too close to me, I have a better chance of righting the boat if I don’t ship much water. An older couple watched me paddle up to the boat ramp. The man was interested in the folding kayak, and we talked about the boat for awhile.

Then I secured the kayak to the car’s roof racks and drove home.

To the Map’s Edge Twice – Winchester, Tennessee 6/21/08

Saturday, I intended to paddle along the south shore of Tims Ford Lake into Winchester, retracing the route my wife and I mistakenly took during our May 2007 camping trip. On the way to Devil’s Step boat ramp, however, I noticed a wide gravel road that turned off HIghway 50 adjacent the closed gates of a public “beach.” Because I thought it might lead to a put-in nearer Boiling Fork Creek and the City of Winchester, proper, I turned off there.

The boat ramp at the end of the road was paved. One other vehicle, a battered pickup truck with an equally weathered-looking trailer, stood parked near where I’d parked. Although I wondered whether I’d find my car intact when I eventually returned to it, I launched and paddled.

As far as I got on Dry Creek

That’s as far as I got on Dry Creek before turning around and paddling to Winchester

Mill dam, and as far as I got on Boiling Fork Creek

And that mill dam is as far as I got on Boiling Fork Creek

All the photos worth keeping, and maybe some that aren’t, have been posted in this album.

After putting in, I paddled south with the same shore on my left toward the public beach near Highway 50. Campsis Radicans is in bloom all along the lake’s shore. I hadn’t put in there because the gate was locked when I drove past, and a sign nearby said the park would remain closed until 9:00 am. As I approached the beach from the water, I heard voices coming from the trees in a scrubby area about a hundred yards from the park. The young people stood around a red pickup truck talking. Two males and a female. One of they guys greeted me politely, the other asked me to demonstrate an Eskimo roll. I politely refused, and the first guy apologized for his friend saying, “He’s been drinking.” The female looked on and said nothing.

Tangle of trees at the top of Dry Creek Branch

Dry Creek branch south of Highway 50 was a large, almost mirror still body of water I paddled quickly. I passed on my left an elaborate dock and new-looking boat-ramp. Part of some housing development as evidenced by a number of recently built brick-fronted mini-mansions. At the top of the creek was the usual tangle of trees, vines, bushes past two or three somewhate older waterside houses on my left. To my surprise, a clear channel of water led through the trees.

After the tangle of trees the path led here

The water path through the trees led to one of those places of unexpected wild and tranquil beauty that make me wish my wife shared my interest in flatwater kayak paddling.

A little further on

Paddling down Dry Creek Branch, I passed a currently disused fishing camp, what looked like it may have been a beaver lodge, a tall tree standing sentry in the middle of the creek, paddled over the frame of what may have been a footbridge or a track for launching boats adjacent a neglected paved ramp, and, just past Hwy. 50, a tree with reddish fuzzy flowers reflected in the lake. A little further, up the same small, nameless branch upon the banks of with grew the reflected tree, I came upon a lakeside retreat behind a house visible up by the road. I got out of the boat near this place and adjusted the air in my kayak’s inflatable Nautiraid Greenlander seat-bottom.

Tree in fuzzy red bloom

Lakeside retreat

Last year, when I got us lost and we paddled on through Winchester, we didn’t stop to explore Dry Creek, and it wasn’t really my primary objective Saturday, either. I’m glad I took time to have a look.

I think the next time I paddle Boiling Fork Branch into and around Winchester, I’ll put in at Winchester City Park, if I can figure out how to get there by car. Last year, to keep out of the wind, we paddled along the north shore of the lake close by the city park. This time around I didn’t care, and there wasn’t too much wind. I paddled the south shore then crossed the lake near the park to paddle under the bridge. Don’t know what street or highway crosses over there, which has something to do with the fact that I don’t know how to drive to that park.

Road to Winchester Square

On the other side of the unknown highway, I turned right, and paddled Boiling Fork Creek branch toward Winchester, passing a number of less imposing houses on my right, and some truly beautiful older houses on my left. Pretty soon I approached the bridge over which one drives into Winchester near the city square. Winchester’s a county seat (Franklin County), and a federal court convenes in the courthouse on the square – a boxy but decorative 1930s style government building – maybe WPA? The old jail, however, is just an old two or three storey brick building built on a high bank above the lake.

Old Franklin County Jail

Keeping the jail to my right, I continued to paddle around to the left. Again on my right, was the mystery monorail of Winchester, probably a support and housing for a pipeline no longer extant. Maybe jail sewage?

Mystery Monorail

Further around the bend, on my left, I could see the backsides of buildings housing small businesses and apartments, a gas station. The channel veered right, again; near the monorail is an ancient bridge pier looking about the same age as the piers and steps at Estill Springs City Park.

Pier, Stone

A little further, on the left bank is situated an untreated sewage discharge point adjacent to Winchester city’s public housing. Were it not for the Scheißewasser, those lakeside projects would be located on high dollar real estate. As a political conservative, I abhor the fact that my tax money goes to support what has become in this country a subculture of entitlement. I’m a little bugged about housing citizens next to untreated sewage. Remember folks, this is yellow-dawg Democrat country, so you can be sure Democrats did this.

Poopwasser Discharge Point, Winchester, Tennessee

Winchester\'s lakeside housing project

It’s already a week later, 6/28/08, as I write this, and I’m ready to write other things and paddle other waters. I finished up Boiling Fork Branch, paddling past people fishing near the big slough west of the housing projects, then on past the new Franklin County High School, which looked like a prison on the low horizon seen from my cockpit, then on past a farm, a number of older houses adjacent a meadow that appears to flood in the high water, then to cave into which I paddled a short distance, and on past Hwy 64 on some of the prettiest, most hidden flatwater I’ve seen in this part of the state. I could there feel the flowing water of Boiling Fork Creek radiating a soothing cold up through the hullskin, past a cave like a crack in a rock wall from inside of which I could hear the sound of a small waterfall. Eventually I came to a stop near a mill dam, and the mill, itself, still standing but unworking, its broken windows attesting to a period of neglect. I pulled my kayak closer, like a child’s red wagon, tied it up to a rough support, and rested awhile, then returned (against the wind) to my car, which I found intact at the primitive boat-ramp on Dry Creek Branch.

Resting place - neglected mill

Against the wind

Lost Creek Branch, Broken Umbrella

Lost Creek Branch, Tims Ford Lake

Sunday evening, and I’ve just reread this after mowing the lawn, running the line-trimmer and the leaf-blower. I am a man in need of an editor, or a man who needs to run a line-trimmer around the edges of his prose.

Now that I’m cartopping, I’m less freaked out about leaving the house later in the day to paddle. Caution-Lady actually got out of the house before I did, taking Little Squall with her to scrapbook with friends at Name Removed Denominational Church.

I’m noticing wear on the E68’s keelstrips, toward the bow, and have only noticed since I’ve been keeping the the kayak assembled. Probably I need to spend part of an afternoon out back with the boat, needle and thread, patching material and the soldering-iron. Been noticing also some bow flex, too, and am wondering whether I’m cinching the bow tie-down too much. The distance between the 850’s rack-bars is certainly less than 1/3 the boat’s length.

Predicted high temperature today was 74 degrees Fahrenheit, and when I left the house the temperature was in the low 60s. Grass, car, inverted boat’s hull were all still wet from the rain that’d been falling earlier this morning. Stopped by my mom’s house (it was on the way) to say hello to a family friend from California childhood, a contemporary of my mother’s, who is now teaching at Tulane and contemplating retirement and a return the Golden State.

Water temperature’s been in the low to middle 60s, so I’ve left off wearing the drysuit. Instead, I’ve been wearing cutoff knee-length thermal bottoms under NRS Black Rock splash pants, an unfortunately form-fitting short-sleeved garment under a bicyclist’s 3/4 sleeved jersey. Today I brought a long-sleeved splash-jacket folded under bungies on the back deck, but Monday, when it was a bit cooler, I wore it. Sealskinz waterproof socks, Chota light mukluks, a WWII USN watch-cap, and a PFD completed the outfit. Also, although I feel foolish with them on, I wore my sunglasses.

Brought a map in case I got farther down the branch than I had previously. I knew to expect some islands and the dam if I got far enough. Brought the Round-Up golf umbrella hoping to sail part of the way back north to the put-in should the winds continue to blow as predicted.

I put in at Lost Creek public access area boat ramp (Moore County), and the wind blew strong from the south and west. Without any real distance goal in mind, I paddled south after crossing the water to the far bank. Didn’t stop to explore the shoreline, having already done that last year. Just paddled steadily against the wind to see how far I’d get. Last year I got as far as Anderton Branch, but did not explore it. This time (now yesterday, as I’ve picked up writing again Sunday morning), I didn’t explore it either because it didn’t compel my interest. As I approached the point at Finney Hole, the wind got stronger, and I could see chop being blown in the channel straight ahead.

At the point, there’s a covered dock, a large seawall, and steps up to a house I couldn’t see from my position in the water. That floating dock’s in the position most exposed to the wind that blew from the southwest. Nothing was tied up there, and the large sign affixed to it served as notice that the property is “For Sale.”

With the point on my right, I could see the dam straight ahead. I’d seen it about 12 years ago from the highway, and don’t remember it being as large as it seemed yesterday. The wind had a lot of fetch just there, pushing up scores of small wind waves which broke over my bow. Paddling straight into the wind is easy because the kayak’s most stable then, and Campsis Radicans tends to point into the wind, anyway. Again, I was glad I’d purchased and learned to use a Greenland style paddle. Less wind resistance, less required arm movement, easier on the joints. Mostly torso rotation and abdominal crunch type movement – large muscle groups designed to hold up all day under repetitive use.

I was paddling in the direction of The Narrows, toward what the map on my foredeck identified as the smallest of two nameless islands. My lower back had begun to ache. Before launching, I’d forgotten to inflate the Klepper seat pad I use to cushion my back in the E68. To my right I saw still water flanked by the windblown point now behind me and to my right, with a rocky outcropping of sorts protecting it from the wind to the right, ahead of me. I needed a stretch anyway, altered course and paddled in.

All along the lake’s shore deciduous trees are in bloom, and the smell of flowering things in the air was present in my awareness to as great a degree as the wind, and more so than the gasoline exhaust of the outboard fishing boats and other motorized craft on the lake. Once in the smallish sheltered bay the profuse trees in glorious white bloom spoke loud the joy of their existence in a language olfactory. Someplace heavenly on earth for which I gave thanks to the Creator. Found a place with bank sloping gradually enough to deeper water to enable me to get out, stretch, inflate the backrest. Back in the boat and feeling hungry, I ate a power bar snack significantly past the shelf-life printed on its wrapper.

Into the wind then, I paddled toward The Narrows and the smallest of the islands, having made up my mind to paddle around the former hilltop, then try umbrella sailing back up Lost Creek Branch. Tediously the wind waves broke against the kayak’s bow, and tiresome my paddling into the wind that spawned them. Close to the island, I saw the water benext its banks muddied by the lapping waves.

Around the windward tip of the island, remembering the swim I took this winter past, I carved a turn cautiously left. Not so much wind with the island on my left. A larger island to my right looked interesting. But because I hadn’t earlier made up my mind to paddle around it, as well, I took my umbrella from the foredeck bungies preparatory to sailing north. Thus, I rigidly adhered to my chosen itinerary.

Wind tugged the umbrella held by my left hand aloft, and the kayak’s bow dug in as the boat surged forward. Sailing maybe 50 yards before the umbrella inverted. This happened before, on my 25-mile day on Woods Reservoir, and I remembered to hold the inverted funnel-shape over my shoulder into the wind, which provided motive force, and bent the umbrella back into its usual configuration. I made another 30 yards or so, and the umbrella again inverted This time when I let the wind force it back into shape, a couple of its metal frame spokes snapped. I furled and stowed the broken thing. I took the paddle from the foredeck’s bungies, and made straight downwind seemingly pursued by legions of small wind waves. I experienced a surfing sensation as I raced them.

At Anderton Branch, now on my left, the wind howled from the west, and from this point on there was no more easy downwind paddling. More tedious paddling, million dollar houses, thoughts of what God has in mind for me, remembering that line from Sutton’s The No Asshole Rule, “I have enough.” Enough to be the only man on the lake moving his own boat competently with his own strength, enough to be married to Caution-Lady, to be father to Squally Boy, to have more than enough money to meet every one of our reasonable needs and most of our reasonable wants, to have found a church I can tolerate attending, to have two or three good friends, to perform work that uses my skills and abilities, work that sometimes serves to help others who are in need of help, to have robust good health and reasonable fitness at the age of 44, a cheap brick house in a mercifully forgotten neighborhood, and three nearby lakes to paddle. Some good. Certainly enough. All of it attributable only to the Almighty. Stuff I think about while paddling. Some days I manage to paddle without thinking about much of anything. Either way is fine.

Back at the top of Lost Creek Branch, I was pretty tired. Because I’m a goal-driven, obsessed freak, I still felt I had to paddle the keyhole under the causeway that crosses the top of the branch. Three local guys sat atop the concrete arch fishing. I greeted them, and politely asked whether I could pass without interfering with their fishing, and they said sure, that they’d just got there, anyway. I was too tired to paddle the entire impoundment’s shoreline, or to search for the actual flow of the Lost Creek. I just paddled in a large circle up there to satisfy my need to complete the course, then back through the concrete tunnel to the boat ramp.

No pictures today because Caution-Lady had the camera to get prints of baby photos. Paddling without feeling the need to snapshot document the journey was pleasant.