Thursday, December 28, 2017

Day 2 on Fort Cobb Lake

The end of the road.  The green to the right behind the sign is where
we took out across the farmer's field (authorized).
We had to greet today with a high degree of both flexibility and equanimity.  We decided to make this trip because of the wonderful weather forecast---3 clear days with winds of 8-13 mph.  At least for today, they lied.  With strong winds blowing straight into the cove, there was no reason to rush onto the water.  We took the time for a wonderful breakfast of French toast.  Within minutes, the wind had escalated to 25 mph.  White rollers began marching into White’s Catfish Cove after crossing the expanse of Ft. Cobb Lake from the southwest.  Paddling was definitely off the schedule for today.

This 12 or 14-foot double-barrel shotgun illustrates just how serious
they are about their hunting around here.  It looks like it could use a
new stock though.
We took a nice long walk and checked out other campsites and the open lake, which looked like it had been frosted with white icing.  The day was beautiful, but for the wind, and that was a deal breaker.  With the days really shortening and my poor paddling muscle conditioning, paddling the full 35 mile perimeter of the lake was not even a pipe dream.  A fall back option was to do one side of the lake, take out at the furthest north ramp, and then return to do the other side on the following day.  Many lakes, however, will shallow-out and turn to marsh and reeds before reaching the ultimate headwater, so the last ramp is sometimes impossible to reach.  I had wondered during the night if Jean could find it by road as well as whether I could reach it by water, so after lunch we decided to go exploring and drive north to check it out.

Where White's Catfish Cove meets the lake is the foot of Caddo Hill,
and the best of the fall colors here.  We were starting into another deep
drought, and that steals most of the colors, but still not bad.
The road was “interesting.”  It finally petered out to a ride across a farmer’s field, dodging side to side to keep tree limbs from removing the canoe from the rack.  When we finally got to the end of the rutted lane, we found the broken derelict remains of a long-ago ramp and piles of dumped trash and broken glass.  It was workable, barely, so I got the GPS coordinates for a planned future run, whenever that might be.  While we were out, the wind had lightened and turned to the north.  It filled me with enthusiasm for an afternoon paddle, but on the way back Jean pointed to the huge mare’s tails being dragged across the sky. 

All that is left of the ramp is a pile of concrete slab rubble to make
people realize that they've reached the end of land before diving
into the lake.
By the time we got back to the campsite, the wind’s strength had continued to build from the north, and the temperature began to plummet.  When I sat down at 8 p.m. to write my journal, the wind was roaring and whistling around the RV and sounding like a Nordic winter storm.  I thought we’d wait to see what the morning brought, but it wasn’t sounding promising.

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