Sunday, March 30, 2008

Field vs. Stream

This issue has come up before, but it's more relevant to the Sequatchie than any other river in Tennessee:

A river has few "views." It seeks the lowest line of its country, straight or crooked, and what you see when you travel along it are mostly river and sky and trees, water and clouds and sun and shore. Things a quarter-mile away exist for you only because you know they are there; your consciousness of them is visual only if you walk ashore to see them. For a man who likes rivers, most of the time that is all right; for a man who seeks sharp solitude, it's special.

But sometimes, too, the shores close in a bit as room walls will, and you crave more space. . . .

Goodbye to a River, p. 126.

That's the dilemma on this trip. The Sequatchie Valley is arguably the most beautiful in Tennessee, but it's hard to see the escarpment from the river bed. So we're going to camp like we did on the Elk River in Fall of '06 - up high in a field. It's a different kind of set up from our usual streamside beaches, but if you choose the right field on the Sequatchie, the scenery looks more like Yosemite than Middle Tennessee.

Here is the field we chose:

Click to zoom. You can imagine the view to the west.

Like the Elk, we will be in a farm pasture at the top of steep banks. But the access is somewhat better, so Mullowney won't have to build his ADA-compliant handicap ramp down to the river this time. Also like the Elk, we have the owner's permission to camp there. You may recall on that trip that we found the owner by asking at the local Ser. Sta. Gro. In this case it was even easier - the property is bordered by Condra Switch Rd. just above Condra Creek and just outside the town of Condra, Tennessee.

Thanks, Mr. Condra!

Also, the Sequatchie is not know for big gravel bars, so that's another good reason to head for the pastures. Most of the good bars we might have considered will be under water with the high river levels we have this Spring. (Another benefit of this plan: high fields are virtually flood-proof).

Gravel bars shouldn't be as scarce as they were on the now famous Fall of '07 trip on the Green...

In a future where the polar ice caps have melted and most of Earth is underwater, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw "smokers," and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl find dry land.

...but still, don't ever pass up a good place to pull over and get out of the canoe if you see one. From put-in to campsite is 9.0 miles, and we have an extra hour of daylight, so there is no reason to hurry. Even if we don't make it to camp til 4:00 the cooks will still have eight hours of prep time before supper.



Inkslinger said...

peripherally related to the sight-lines issue: Here's a recent vid on low-head dam hazards in Tennessee rivers, including one on the Sequatchie and one on the Harpeth.

Bull of the Woods said...

That basketball looks like Pete Feldman on a grabblin' trip.

Anonymous said...

That's great, we should gunnel wall over that thing.

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