Monday, September 24, 2007

First fall day

Spent on Apalachia Lake. The lake begins here, at the foot of Hiwassee Dam. This lake retains its water level as those above it have gone down.

How's this for a fishing hole?

Good place for airing out toes, in the clouds...

A water garden.

This little falls tumbles into the lake but is nearly dried up.

In front of the falls, a trio of river otters were playing in the water. We followed them for a mile or so as they swam and played on the lake's edge, going in and out of the water, looking up occasionally to see if we were still there. Unfortunately we weren't close enough to catch them in a photograph, except for this blurry one, two of them on the rocks about to slide back into the water....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Folk School Friday night

At John C. Campbell Folk School, Friday night concert in the festival barn:

It's the Dismembered Tennesseans.

Fall equinox, and starting to show it:

Speaking of the Folk School, wonderful tribute to its founder Olive Dame Campbell and the other folk schools in the area (Penland and Allanstand, as well as the Crafts Cooperatives, Southern Highland Craft Guild and Qualla Arts and Crafts) in Western Carolina University's wonderful online exhibit, Craft Revival about the crafts movement in the first half of the 20th century in the Southern Appalachian mountains.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nantahala views

Rainbow Springs Road follows the Nantahala River from U.S. 64 to Wayah Rd, but over high ridges most of the way:After several miles, glimpses of the blue, blue lake below:
Nantahala Lake, not quite as blue from this level:
Nice view from the little restaurant at Lake's End:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Water, water everywhere but...

Despite a good bit of rain on Friday from Hurricane/T.S. Humberto, it certainly wasn't enough for the lakes around here. Here's Nottely , at the deepest end near the dam :
Hiwassee, at Hanging Dog rec. area:
...where you can't get to the water from the boat ramp, or vice versa:
Even North Shoal Creek falls is running much less water than a few months ago:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Signs of fall

...or is it just result of the drought?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Up Wayah way

Wayah Road, popular with bikers and where the Appalachian Trail crosses between Franklin and Nantahala:

But if you take the side road up to Wayah Bald, worth the detour if you can handle the dirt forest road: This is Wilson Lick, where park rangers lived. The house is now shuttered.

No way to emphasize the size of these huge oak trees.
From top of Wayah Bald,a bit over a mile high:

There's an observation tower, built in the 1930s:

The Appalachian and Bartram Trails cross through here:

More dry lakes

This summer's drought has lowered several of the lakes around here, but it seems not as bad as Hiwassee's low levels (news reports earlier this summer said Fontana was below winter levels too). It's been dry all year but we may have had one brief rainstorm since the beginning of August. Hoping for some this week.

At Lake Chatuge, the water is down to winter levels but docks are still floating, barely:

At Nantahala, they started dropping water levels just recently, according to one fisherman (this dock would be level at summer fill):

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dry, dry, dry!

Our local lake, Hiwassee Reservoir, is lower than we've ever seen it in 20-some years of visiting and three years of living here. Lake levels are below the normal winter levels, which are quite low. Marinas and houseboats that depend on being able to use the lake in the summer are sitting on the lakebed. Near the dam, land that's never been seen before is exposed. There are beaches where 20 feet of water should be:

TVA, which runs the lake and river systems around here, needs the water to keep the Tennessee River at navigable levels. The water's needed for electricity generation too, and it's been HOT in the Tennessee Valley this summer, so hot a nuclear generating plant at Brown's Ferry had to be shut down because the water was too warm to cool the fuel.

It's really depressing, though, to visit the lower lakes along the river and see that the water levels there are as high as ever. Other lakes around here, like Parksville, Santeetlah, and Apalachia, also maintain high levels. There's plenty of water for paddlers on the Ocoee and the lower Hiwassee.

But how will our lake even recover from this? How much rain will it take to fill it? Things are just as bad on Fontana Lake, and Nottely lake has lost so much water that parts of it aren't navigable. Blue Ridge and Chatuge must be suffering too. Is this fair? There's still lots of water running through Hiwassee Dam.

Local blog awards

This may be a bit like playing tag with fellow bloggers, but I'm still proud to be the recipient of a B.R.A. award from Byron Chesney at Knoxville Trivia blog. What's a B.R.A., you ask? It's a Blogger Reflection Award.

The award was originated at, from a 16-year-old 'Lady of Light' who came up with the whole idea. I don't pass on chain emails and I don't think I'm going to follow 'the rules' here either, but you can read them at the originating site. Says Jocelyn ("Lorien"):
The reason for the title is because this award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy... of knowing them and being blessed by them.

Well, there certainly is nothing more 'godly' than beautiful mountain or rural scenery, so I'm going to mention several bloggers who devote much of their blogging time to displaying their beautiful photographs:

1. Marie, whose Blue Ridge Blog highlights the photos she takes while also working as a photographer for her local newspaper in Boone, N.C. She was one of the first mountain-area bloggers I discovered and her photos are gorgeous and her comments revealing, humorous, and very down-to-earth. And, if you want to know what's going on at Appalachian State, Marie has it covered.

2. Fred First at Fragments from Floyd, who I discovered many years ago when considering Floyd, Va. as a possible new home. Fred's photos are beautiful and his writing has developed into a book (Slow Road Home) that is getting lots of attention. His reflections on nature, animals, rural living, preserving the mountains, and aging will make you think. Not to mention his occasional useful software and hardware reviews.

3. Doug Thompson, who has one of the oldest political websites around (Capitol Hill Blue) but who moved home to the Floyd area a couple years back and has been documenting the move, changes, and life around Floyd ever since in his Blue Ridge Muse blog. A journalist and photographer, Doug takes amazing photos of skies, trees, animals, and Floyd life, and has a lot to say about the changes development brings to the area.

4. Susan at Patchwork Reflections, who looks at my blog to see if I've recently photographed some of her childhood haunts, but who also photographs scenery around her North Georgia home and places beyond, and whose blog is always entertaining and thoughtful.

5. Rurality, where life on a north Alabama farm is meticulously photographed. I especially enjoy the 'critter cam' where passing wildlife are caught passing in the night. The proprietress, who also crafts handmade soaps, does a great job of identifying wildflowers, insects, and the like. Oh yeah, and that cat that's trying to adopt her? We have an identical one here, doing the same thing. Does everyone?

Thanks to all of them for the examples and the wonderful photography. I just try to keep up......

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gentle summer day

Near the Tennessee border in western Cherokee County:

Appalachia Dam from the other side (over the ford): the tube carries the entire Hiwassee River to the power generating plant downriver near Reliance, although they were releasing some water over the dam yesterday.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

History and music in Murphy

The annual Heritage Walk and Festival was held Saturday. Great fun. Booths near the courthouse:

Antique tractors on display:
The weekly farmers' market: plants, produce, butterflies and crafts:
Adorable puppies and cats available:
Music and crafts by the Depot:
Great music this time, including Polecat Creek:

Rising Appalachia:

And Blue Ridge Grass:

Friday night, there was music, too, at the Hiwassee Dam community center (Opry). This is Steel String Session (formerly Ducktown Station):