Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Night in Canton Canyon

It used to be Canton Lake, but with no water, it’s just a big, wide hole. Nevertheless, it seemed like a place to get away from the recliner and TV for a day and get some use out of the camping gear. After a few chores, it was afternoon before arriving at the Canadian Campground along the North Canadian River.. Camping is free during the winter, as there are no amenities. The water is off, and all the buildings are locked. It’s the irony of primitive camping in an established Corps of Engineers park.

After the tornado, this is all that's left of a healthy forest.
The primary thing to be found in the park now is construction. This is the park that was destroyed a couple years ago by a massive tornado. While area B is open, all of area A, which was destroyed, is closed off as new restroom facilities and campsites are being built. Other than there being no trees in the new area, it does look like it is going to be great, and the new restrooms are of the new tornado-proof type. One old cinderblock bathhouse was where all the campers huddled together when hell broke loose. There wasn’t anything left but a portion of a wall and a couple toilet stalls, but everyone in there survived.

A number of mobile homes, campers, and cottages were swept into
oblivion.  Walking along the lake shore we found pieces of broken
knick-knacks and, here, a pice of kitchen vinyl flooring still attached
to a section of sub-flooring.
At the other end of the park, a huge reconstruction project is underway on the dam and spillway area, along with a new bridge and road project. I discounted the importance of this work area, but was to pay for my mistake. On the plus side, I had the entire camping area to myself. On the other hand, generators and other machinery ran all night. I didn’t mind the floodlights so much, but there was an incredible level of racket. I was just about accustomed to this when about 2:30 a.m., a high-speed pile driver commenced from another area with obvious intentions to continue the rest of the night. Of a more expected nature, however, other sounds that filled most of the night involved two packs of coyotes, one hunting along the stream at the lake bottom, and the other working through the park area. I had just dozed off when a branch came out of a nearby tree and crashed on the ground. I looked at my watch to find it was 6:30. One of our family traditions is having pancakes on Sunday morning, so I climbed out, threw all the gear in the back of the truck, and headed home. It was time to make the pancakes.  
With the lake water gone, the only thing the dam holds
up now are road pavement and guardrails.  This was dawn
as seen from the top of Canton dam.
The night was a rare 40-deg F. By the next night the polar front would be back in place with frigid temps and 40-mph winds.


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