Thursday, June 21, 2018

Sharp Ford and Limestone Bay

Wednesday, Ben and I went back to Sharp Ford and headed out to circumnavigate the big island there.  To get to it, go under the bridge from the ramp, around the bend the channel splits 3 ways.  The far right is Cotaco Creek and you can paddle up that for miles.  The left two channels are the ends of a 3.5-mile loop around one large and some small islands.  If you keep the 'land' to the left (going in the first channel) you'll loop the whole thing without any trouble.  We did this in a couple of hours but given more time (oh, the blazing sun!, it was too hot by 10!) there are lots of little coves and islands to skirt around and explore.
The area that forms the loop is called Grindle Hole.

Paddle back to the junction, take the way you came in back to the bridge.  Easy Peasy.  

The water in here was not QUITE deep enough to cover one paddle blade.  I let him have his jacket off for a bit.

See the decals Matt put on his boat?  Monster teeth! 

A surprisingly open and grassy island.  Most of them are so jammed with trees, you can't see past the shoreline.


Wednesday evening, I went back out for a 5.5 miler with Matt, Gina, Kimberly, and Al

We were at Limestone Bay, launched from Arrowhead Landing at Moorseville

Well.  Kind of a group shot.

Pectinatella magnifica

More water beetles shooting around!

Cephalanthus occidentalis

It's SO FAR across the bay, a full mile of paddling to cross it!

We went, planning for sunset, but it was one of those very cloudy days where it just got dark instead.

It stormed overnight and rained off and on the next day, which was needed-the river may be up, but the ground is dry!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Short Creek, Guntersville

From the launch to the boulders at the 'end' of the cove is just under 3 miles.

Trumpet vine
It's really hard to get a clear photo while bobbing around, so bear with me while I am learning.

I THINK this is creeping primrose.
There are only about 5 million different yellow flowers, which I why I have yet to learn very many summer wildflowers. 

turtle swoosh



Ben joins the hunt

I found a squatch! 
Okay, well, I put it there in the first place, so I don't think that counts.

Ben is touching the bottom of the lake with his paddle

Huge cattail and willow island
This thing was SO cool, the water around it was super shallow, so we could see fish and turtles swimming.  On the island, bullfrogs were going at it.  Herons and a couple of egrets were poking around the shallows, butterflies were flitting around, bees, and little orange flies.  There were swifts or some similar small bird hunting the orange flies, which was cool to watch.  Ben saw 3 bald eagles, I missed all of them!  But I don't doubt him, we have seen several recently.


The kayaks are very stable, as Ben demonstrates here by freaking me out sailing around standing up.  It is very, very shallow here, not even hip deep.

I hopped out to explore the island and found a ton of poison oak, a shed snakeskin, and a toe biter water beetle.  I am calling it Horror Island.

Snake Skin

Ben snagging a floating bottle.  That was the only trash we saw!

This was a great spot, other than the poor timing on our part putting us out in the heat of the day!  We arrived early but played around a long while before getting down to serious paddling.  I liked getting out of the boats and exploring a little, too. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Guess What?

It's ANOTHER kayaking post!


And two new places!

The first is Sharp Ford, off River Road in Morgan County.  This joins the TN one way and Cotaco Creek another.  It's TVA owned.
This is a great spot.  The parking area and launch are right off a low traffic road, the waterway winds and opens into coves and secondary creeks which provides for lots of exploring, and upstream from the river, there are plenty of submerged logs to slow or dissuade motor boaters from flying through.

The major drawback when we went was the mosquitoes!  Holy cow, there were hundreds AND I GOT A TICK.
I think once the water levels drop a bit more and there are fewer boggy areas, that issue with the skeeters will lessen.

I have a friend who makes my repellent and it works fine, it's just in a coconut oil base, so it's oily.  And the bottle I had it in doesn't handle the thicker oil very well, instead of spraying out in a mist, it sort of does a hock tooey thing like spitting out a gob of tobaccy.  So the application of said repellent was an ordeal that left me greasy and made my paddle slippy and it wasn't the best day of my life on the water.  Plus once it tooeyed into my ear hole, which I haven't yet recovered from emotionally.

not a gator

As Matt was loading his boat, I wandered off up a little creek across from the launch.  It went into a shallow swampy area with loads of cattails, reeds, lilies, and muck.

It was getting dark and I convinced myself that spot over there in the cattails that is mashed down was from the giant gator that had launched just ahead of me entering the area.
Then behind me, something about the size of a terrier went through the reeds, pushing them apart like Godzilla moving through the forest.  I could tell whatever it was was barely bigger than a well-fed cat, but my brain instantly converted it to this:

This is not my photo, plus it's a crocodile
Go look at his amazing work, I will never kayak with you, dude.
Well, maybe to see the manatees.
After I paddled out to the main channel again, a carp flipped by the boat and I nearly came unglued.  I have some serious issues to work through involving my fear of the water (or rather what is in the water).

There were 2 things I really liked about this place.  One, I found an island that I was enamored with immediately, it was love at first site.  Later, I found out TVA allows for LNT camping on their islands and that started a whole new level of brain frenzy.
The second thing was the sheer level of water beetles that were swimming around ahead of my boat.  They were zooming around in all directions like fireworks shooting off the bow.

We did just over 4 miles here and will be back ASAP after the water levels drop a bit and hopefully the mosquito levels do the same.  We have not been anywhere else with mosquitoes like that!


Next trip up was a 6+miler to Flint Creek in Flint, just off 31.
We put in and went left, there are 3 creeks that meet at the launch.  One straight ahead, one to the right (that goes to the Tennessee) and one to the left.

There was a LOT of pollen on the water.

That's ALL pollen, though this stretch had hundreds of plastic bottles and fast food cups caught up in the many, many log jams along the length.
It's sad to see the people of Hartselle think of the water as a great place to chuck their trash.  When we go back, we will bring trash bags.  I've done over 30 miles in different areas and we have seen the occasional 20 oz soda bottle bob past and picked those up to drop at the recycling bin.  This place is hundreds of times worse.  It would take a barge to clean up all that trash.
And fisher people-TAKE YOUR WORM CONTAINER HOME.  Good grief, the plastic and styrofoam containers bobbing around.

I liked this-a new thing we saw on this stretch.   It's several hundred tiny fish schooling.  They stay close to the surface and will turn and go the other way all in a wave, making the water splash.  They were all along this section.

I sometimes think these floater bits are gators.

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.