Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn, my God, do you learn.

-C.S. Lewis

Stream In January

Stream In January

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday On Bear Lake

Our son gave us an Old Town canoe several years ago for Christmas. We live in a great area to enjoy it, even though we don't get on the water nearly as often as we'd like. There are several lakes within an easy drive from home. Lake Glenville is the closest, only 2 miles away. But Glenville is a big lake and, being Labor Day weekend, we knew there would be lots of jet skiers, ski and pontoon boats. Not a friendly place for the slow pace of our canoe. Bear Lake is the middle lake in a chain of three, the other two being Cedar and Wolf. They are located in the Tuckaseegee area of Jackson County, NC, and are about 18 miles from our house. We can easily leave home and have the canoe in the water in about 30 minutes. We always choose Bear Lake.

As we leave the dock, we head out into the main body of Bear Lake. The rock face below is home to a herd of wild mountain goats. We always look for the them but have never seen one. It's well documented that they live there, but the distance is so great I'm not sure we could actually see them from the water. I have much admiration for anything that could live on those sheer cliffs.
There are dozens of small waterfalls on the lake. Everywhere we paddle we can hear the water running down the mountainside from small tributary streams. This waterfall is the most majestic. During the summer we can only see the top of the falls because of the heavy foliage. I hope to get back to Bear at least 2 more times this year. Once when the fall color is at it's peak and also in the early winter when the leaves are gone. We should be able to get great photos of the falls then.

As we leave the main body of the lake, we start upstream towards the dam. This is my favorite part of the trip. The Tuckaseegee River feeds Bear Lake and at this point there are no motorized boats. Only canoers and kayakers. Sunday we saw neither. The water gets very cold and clear this far up. The only thing that broke the silence was a trio of barred owls calling out to each other and the occasional call of the great pileated woodpeckers that inhabit the area. It was very eerie, but we loved it.

This island is a good halfway point in our canoe trip and we always paddle for there, dock on the shore and climb out on the rock for a picnic lunch. The round-trip distance is about 8 miles from the dock to the upper end of the river and the dam. We usually stop on the island on the way back to rest.

As we rested on the island, some thunderheads began to build in the distance. We had very light rainfall earlier in the day, but for the most part the day was mostly sunny. The temperature was a mild 78. Perfect for a day on the lake.

We usually stay on the water for about 5 hours and Sunday was no different. I love the water and don't ever want to leave. Being on a canoe in such a beautuful area is pure relaxation. Earlier in the summer the water temperature was nice for swimming. Yesterday, there was a bit of chill to it. In and out quickly! Next time we come, it will be just a toe in the water but the autumn show will be spectacular.

Mountain State Fair and Mountain Song Festival next weekend!


Kat said...

We have Pileated Woodpeckers on our property and they are very illusive. I love to hear their call. What a nice trip for you all. You are making me want to move there for the cooler temps.

Cliff W said...

It looks absolutely idyllic! You're so lucky to live amongst such natural beauty although I'm sure you appreciate every second.

Anonymous said...

Greetings my friend from coastal Carolina! It was rainy all day today but the sun is supposed to be out the rest of the week. Love the pictures, Lynn! Good stuff for sure. I am already looking forward to seeing the fall foliage which I believe will be fabulous this year because of all the rain in the spring and early summer. My parents are leaving to head home tomorrow and my dad says he's going to check to see if my bees are working. Hopefully they'll be just fine till Sunday. Okay, talk to you soon and I'll post some coastal pictures when I get back!

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

Very nice! It sounds like a great trip. I love the near silence of a canoe. Just the drip of water from the paddles...
I also really like the contrast of your garden at home August and January.

Ngaio said...

Beautiful photos Lyn - the area reminds me of the many gorgeous lakes we have here in NZ, especially down in the South Is with the fiords.
Any wild goats we have are imports from the UK many years ago and are a total pest - doing a huge amount of damage to our landscape. NZ before humans arrived, only about 1000 yrs ago, had no natural land mammels except a tiny bat ! Lots of birds and insects but no 4 legged animals at all. Everything we have now have been introduced, including rats, mice, rabbits, sheep, deer, cattle, horses, plus all the nasties.

Paul said...

Awesome beauty. I also enjoy boating. I went to the Cassotat (spelling?) river in Arkansas last year and attempted to traverse the rapids. Your photo's are great. Thanks for sharing this with us.

vicree said...

The pictures are awesome! As I moved from one scene to another, I pictured myself sitting in the canoe with you, moving in perfect harmony with the river and experiencing wonderful peace. What an amazing Green Cathedral you have shared with your readers!