Kayaking, Singing and Bigfoot!
By Rachelle Siegrist
Wes and I decided to take advantage of our amazingly mild and beautiful weather here in the Smokies, so yesterday we headed over to the nearby Tennessee River for a couple hours of kayaking fun. We’ve been kayaking in the river below Chilhowee Dam, because they’re still drawing down Chilhowee Lake. There’s a leak in the embankment currently being fixed, but according to wate.com, they should be filling it back up in a few weeks, and I must admit I will be very glad when our beautiful lake is back!
We were greeted at the boat ramp by a boat full of men in camo carrying shotguns, and a very friendly and wet Black Lab named Zoe. “Uh Oh” I thought . . . since we’re not hunters, we didn’t think about it being duck season. Good thing I had on my blaze pink jacket and my kayak is pink! Fortunately is was late enough in the morning, that they were leaving and only a few fisherman remained scattered here and there. Somehow I don’t feel as concerned about getting hooked by an overzealous fisherman as I do accidentally being shot by a hunter.
The filmy morning clouds parted as we paddled across the river, allowing patches of blue sky to show as the sun shone down. Soon we found a nice, secluded cove where we enjoyed our peanut butter sandwiches.
Calm water made for easy paddling and the warmth from the sun felt delightful as we went along exploring small openings along the bank. They were obviously lowering the level of the river yesterday as well, exposing muddy banks in many areas.
Although it made it tricky to get out of the kayak, the muddy banks proved to be quite an interesting place to see footprints left by different birds and critters. It was easy to see the favorite hangout for a Great Blue Heron, who had left his footprints by an obviously great fishing hole!
I was amazed that the water wasn’t freezing cold and that I was able to wade in it for awhile, and must admit to immensely enjoying being in a temporary delusional state of feeling like it was summer once again! We paddled up along the river for awhile before turning back and heading towards the boat ramp. Our delightful sun quickly disappeared, as clouds rolled in bringing with them a brisk breeze that promptly turned the smooth water into a chop tank. The lack of sunlight turned the landscape into different shades of gray once again, reminding me that it is indeed still winter!
We also enjoyed a couple other highlights this past week as well. Townsend had it’s annual famed Christmas parade last Sunday, bringing to the main road lots of beautiful horses, old tractors, 4-wheelers and a few floats. This year it lasted almost 2 hours, as a fleet of old convertible Thunderbirds, adorable VW bugs and other cars and trucks joined in the procession. I must say a highlight for me however . . . even over being tossed dark chocolates . . . was when a Sasquatch riding on top of a jeep blew kisses my way! My love affair with Bigfoot began as a little girl, when I saw the Bigfoot movie in the late 70s, so imagine my delight when he blew me a kiss . . . Ha Ha!
That evening we enjoyed a delightful Christmas concert at the Barn Event Center of the Smokies, here in Townsend. The Maryville College choir sang numerous carols from their Celtic Christmas program, bringing the interior of the beautifully decorated barn to life! A favorite of the evening for me, was when the all male choir sang “O Come Emanuel”. With the perfect indoor acoustics of the building, and soft glow form the white Christmas lights, it was nothing short of a magical moment! Another memorable song of the evening performance, was when they sang “O Christmas Tree”, but with different words, titled “O Krispy Kreme”! Many thanks to those who made this delightful free event possible for us to enjoy!
~ Currently on and Fresh Off of The Easel ~
While I finished a commission for Christmas, Wes finished two landscape paintings featuring beautiful locations from our “backyard” the Great Smoky Mountains.
Until next time . . .