Friday, March 15, 2013

Maiden Voyage - Dry

Nothing different was being done with the Photoshop Elements 10, but all of a sudden it refused to cooperate. When I would save the pictures to the file, nothing would come up but the image of a blank sheet of paper. Anyhow, I went back to my instructor from last year, and she got me back on track.

Trying to find water around here is a battle, but you’ve heard me grind away on that subject before. I had wanted to paddle American Horse Lake in spite of it being only 100 acres, as a fish and wildlife officer had told me it was a good place to see wildlife. So I made the 122 mile round-trip to American Horse Lake. I had made several previous efforts to find the lake in the past without success. The sign on the highway just says, “American Horse Lake,” but doesn’t say how many miles it is off the highway, so we’ve driven back into the hinterlands on previous trips until we’ve given up after deciding, “There’s no way it can be out this far.” On this occasion, armed with my DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer and a determination to get Buddy in the water for the first time, I headed cross-country. Fortunately, I counted the crossroads first on the atlas so I could find the turn, and then counted the roads as I passed them, because, for eleven miles, not a single road was marked with its county route number. Nothing. Once I got to the lake, I was greeted by this.

Still closed from last year.

 And then in the process of typing this post the electrical power went out.......f!!%&
Now one would think that another sign would have been posted out on the highway so no one would drive 22-miles out of their way for nothing. Nope. Anyhow, I wasn’t going to drive all that distance and not at least see what was there, so I struck out across the field on foot. I was to learn later that the dam, which dates back to 1966, has indeed been repaired, and water is now being allowed to flow into the lake. What rain we’ve had has only pooled in the bottom of the ravine. With our ongoing drought, it will probably take at least another year or longer to fill the lake. Lake Optima, was built in 1978 a bit further west, and over 35 years, has never filled.

A prairie lake full of clams?
I was surprised to find the drained lake bottom covered with small clam shells, so I called fish and wildlife. The clams are called corbicula fluminae, which are an Asian freshwater clam that will reach the size of a 50-cent coin when mature.  Each clam produces both sexual functions at maturity, first producing eggs and then releasing sperm to fertilize them. Each clam can release about 2,000 juveniles per day, and up to 100,000 juveniles over their reproductive life. They are introduced to a new lake generally by water transfer from other bodies of water, like when the lake is stocked with fish. They serve two functions, both to filter and purify the water and as a food source for game fish, which thrive on the bivalves.

Filling this will take awhile.  The base of the vegetation
marks the normal shoreline.  This would normally
be a nice side-branch of the lake.

Here are the trees that are left when a new lake is flooded.  On the
crest of the hill is the boat ramp and landing pier.
There's a lot of scientific theory as to why the sky is blue.  The color actually
comes naturally when fishermen drop their rod and reel overboard and
start cursing a blue streak.



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