I took my new paddle partner, Curtis to Wood Creek Lake in Laural County just above London last week. It is as old as I-75, as that is what made the dam on Wood Creek. It is a wonderful lake, as it is hidden from most public access and is just aware to those from the area and explorers such as myself. I "discovered" it two years ago and paddled every inch of the shore line, which can be done in two long days. I guess the shore line to be some where between 25 and 30 miles. I saw a Bald Eagle on this lake the second time I paddled it , if that gives you any idea of the remoteness. It is only the second one I've seen in the wild in Kentucky, the first one being on Lake Cumberland 14 years ago. As I said, I've done the complete of this lake and redid the northern portion of it a third time in hopes of seeing the Eagle again. Since everything is new to my new paddle partner, I decided to redo the lake again to share it with him, a fourth time....and hopefully see the Eagle again.
We started on the northern end. We paddle first to the overflow drain. That is a concrete structure about 30 feet round that drops the couple hundred feet required to go under the Interstate and out the other side to the level of the original Wood Creek. A ride I wouldn't want to take by accident. But since the lake was down by about 3 feet, we paddled up to it, and got out to look down it. Of course it was dark and you couldn't see down more than 40 or so feet. So, boys being boys, we started to drop rocks down it to see how long it took to hit anything. It took a long time.
And then Deb called. I always carry my cell phone on me in case I'm needed for a work decision. I figured since they pay for it, I should have it on me. Deb told me some really good news. Potentially life changing news. It changed my whole mind set. I felt like some one had reached down in the valley of that lake and slapped me, then picked me up and dunked my head under water several times to get a different light on the subject. I was immediately and suddenly jerked back into reality from my "escape". My new paddle partner then became a sounding board for the next couple hours. All the list of sacrifices and rewards with potentially life changing news. Hard as it may be to believe, I've become a little set in the last six years of being in one place. But the news was good and it may or may not come to pass. I won't say more unless it does. But even though I was still on my "escape", reality was every where around me. It was a good paddle, but we didn't see the Eagle.
Today we went out and did the southern portion. The northern portion (from where I put in) is around 7 to 12 miles, depending on how much you hug the shore line. The southern is 12 to 18 based on the same circumstances. The last two times out, I had to cut our day short for personal obligations. Today Curtis asked to make sure I was free to paddle all day. I affirmed that I was and asked him the same. He said he had an obligation at 6 pm but didn't see it being a problem since we put in at 9:15am . That sort of tickled me, being a person who has paddled 5 days straight. So off we set.
The first part of the paddle was great, as it was just chilly enough to keep off the icky feeling from the exertion of the paddle. So we paddle briskly. We saw all kinds of birds from Hawk to Blue Heron, to several species of duck. We went into several "hollars" where the area belonged to boats like ours because of all the standing timber and shallow waters. In one cove, some kind of fish seemed disturbed that we would enter his home and leaped clear out of the water over Curtis's boat. He was blown away and I felt very fortunate to be looking his direction at the time to witness it.
Then Curtis saw a very unique, intriguing piece of driftwood on the bank. To me it looked like a ghost in misery draped over a rock on his back. I'm not sure what it looked like to Curtis, but he was mesmerized by it as soon as he saw it. He went to shore and grabbed it and strapped it to the front of his boat. The fever took hold then. The rest of the afternoon was in search of unique and distinguished pieces of drift wood. They weren't abundant, but they were there if you looked for them. Some were trunks that had been washed to thin ribbons in a 12 inch circle and others were the stumps of Cedar that now looked like a mask for Medusela or an Octopus. I picked up two pieces and Curtis must have grabbed a half a dozen and passed up another half dozen that he wanted. He came up with a great idea of cleaning them off at the car wash, and drying them before coating them with a couple coats of shellac. Since he owns a gem store, he thought of using them to display his gems or marketing them by themselves. I suggested a theme of "Drifting through Kentucky". He seemed to really like that, so I look forward to the final product. If it works out, we'll have another goal in our outings.
Potential life changing news. ..... Is that what I'm looking for in my "escapes"? Is that what I'm escaping from? Will it come to pass? What's it really mean in the big picture anyway?
Sometimes I wonder if I write these "escape" series as some kind of self therapy, or if I'm just doing a critique for potential vacation spots for the outdoor enthusiast. What do you think? You read these....what does my goal seem like?? Is this an escape for you as well??