Sunday, August 17, 2014

One Moomaw and A Bear

A silly name for a very beautiful lake, Moomaw. It's named, apparently, for some local dude who had the unfortunate last name of Moomaw. Whenever I see a lake in the Appalachians I wonder about the natural resources buried perhaps forever beneath the waters of the impoundments. This comes from watching Carter Reservoir forming over the years in the north Georgia county where I went to high school. I watched the earthen dam being built and the river being plugged and the lake forming. That one buried a vast canyon hundreds of feet deep and which was untouched woodlands with no structures at all. Scores of miles of roadless wilderness was covered by water by the US Army Corps of Engineers to create their hydro electric project.

So it was when I first saw Lake Moomaw. Similarly, this one is formed by another giant earthen dam (the Garthright) to back up a river hundreds of feet deep and for twelve miles. It makes for a very pretty watery scene, but my mind dwells on the wonders of the old Kincaid Gorge which is now gone. Are there even any historical photos of that gorge? How many waterfalls were submerged? How many groves of rare plants and trees were cut and drowned?

Carole and I spent a whole day exploring the lake in our kayaks. We had a great time paddling around the shores and stopping here and there to investigate, to eat lunch, and to go swimming. It's a particularly pretty lake completely surrounded by public property which precludes it from being exploited by millionaires building expensive homes to shut the rest of us out of the shoreline.

That little red dot on the far left is me.

Taken on my cruise alongside the cliff.

Carole leaving the dock. The boat beyond her was owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. The lake level is obviously down--about eight feet according to the locals.
This is the Garthright Dam which creates the lake.
And this cliff was obviously created to supply the earthen (rock) building material for the dam construction.
We had stopped on an island to rest. Far across the water on the opposite shore Carole spotted some movement. She thought it was a raccoon but when I focused on the animal with the camera on telephoto setting we saw that it was a bear. It was the second bear of the trip for me. Very exciting!

There was something about this bear that did not look healthy to me. I think he/she was rather thin, but I could be wrong. It was obviously exploring the shoreline for something to eat. Its movements were fluid and seemed strong, so perhaps my impression about its health was wrong. I hope so.

This was the last we saw of the bear as it returned to the forest. I wish I'd had a better camera along, but I don't like the idea of risking my better cameras to a dunking.
And here's a stitched panorama I took from a very small island where we had stopped to eat lunch.


Vicki said...

What a fantastic day out. Ditto the bear sighting. I'm rather envious.

James Robert Smith said...

It was a nice day!