Today is Friday, October 31, 2014

Summertime canoeing

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By GEORGE ROBERTSON, M.D.

It's rare that the Smith branch of the Caney Fork River is flowing in the middle of summer, but for Bernie Sy and me, we caught it at an ideal level for a canoe float trip Aug. 5.

The several thunderstorms filled up the aquifers enough to permit a generous runoff and the water was beginning to clear just as we put the canoe in on the Dry Creek branch at Dowelltown.

We walked through waist-high weeds and wild rosebushes at the bridge in town. This is usually a no-no for me because of the severe case of chiggers one could get with that adventure. But by using the DEET spray all over I am proud to report not a single bug bite.

The 7-mile stretch of water down to the bridge on Highway 27 was beautifully surrounded by trees, vines and some wildflowers. We saw eight deer, a coyote, turtle and numerous butterflies along the tranquil route.

Many water birds including Great Blue Herons, Lesser Herons and ducks were flushed out of their perches as we rounded the curves and floated close to them before being discovered.

One odd sight was a recent model flat-bed truck with water up to the cab apparently drowned out by misadventure. The owner must be waiting for the water to drop before trying to retrieve the very functional vehicle.When we rounded the last bend before the bridge, we took the canoe out then paddled our bikes (previously deposited there) back to get our transport car 7 miles away in Dowelltown.

The overcast, unseasonably cool August day made for an ideal and comfortable venture on one of our Middle Tennessee streams.

Editor’s Note: Robertson is a physician with Family Medical Associates, PC, in Lebanon. 

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