Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kaw Lake, Day 6-B

I continued north until I once again ran out of water. Gifford says the catfish are scarcer, but I found the north end of the lake lousy with them. The water was shallow enough their dorsal fins would cut through the water, or a large fish would explode from beneath the canoe in an eruption of water and a swirl of mud. When every stroke brought up slimy mud, I came about and headed south. When I got back to Gifford, he showed off the 5-lb cat he had caught during my absence, but added he had caught his largest right there about a year ago, a 35-pounder.

The hills are made up of layer upon layer upon layer of rock. As the erosion undermines it, the large outcroppings jut out in mid-air until they become unstable, or break off when they become fragile from their own tonnage, and down they crash. They break off in random sections, but some are large enough to park a car or pickup on.

Continuing down the shore I found a square building constructed under a large outcropping. It cleared the overhang just enough for the chimney to pass in front of the cliff face. There had been a normal sized door, but one side of the cabin face had broken away enlarging the opening. It looked like walls had been set up in a form of cribbing, which was filled with rock and scraps of steel. Mortar was then worked into the cribbing from both sides and plastered smooth. Once a support was constructed, the cement for the roof was poured over a matrix of pieces of whatever steel the builder could find to use. I saw evidence of re-rod, steel cable, pipe, and flat stock. The roof was mounded slightly around the chimney to insure drainage off the roof. My imagination was screaming to suggest some old Indian had lived there with his pot-belly stovepipe running up through the heavy steel chimney. When I sought out a COE employee that had grown up here, however, he reported it had belonged to a farmer who lived in the valley below here before the lake was filled, and he had built it as a smokehouse.
I continued south down the lake, finally crossing the lake again and returning up the west shore to the campground. In all, it was 10.7 miles. I got far enough south that I was just north of the cape that separates Washunga Bay from the main lake.

Wild purple liatris.  It is beautiful, but this really is a bad time of year to be
poking around tall grass and rocks.  The poisonous snakes are blind during the
end of September and October.  As they shed, their eye scales go opaque.  They
are really ill-tempered (as I would be if my skin was peeling off), and will strike
at any sound or movement.

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