The road to nowhere was originally supposed to go somewhere, yesterday I went somewhere.
The town of Proctor NC was at one time a thriving logging community with a thousand citizens, a theater, school, and cafe.
Now it is a ghost town inside the Great Smoky Mountains accessible only by boat across Fontana lake.
When I arrived at the ramp, the lake had a lot of wind. There had been no wind all morning, it was just on the lake. Whitecaps with at least a twenty Mph wind with two-foot swells. I headed into the wind even though my passage was straight across. My kayak “Big bird” is not happily rolling with the waves, nor am I. The plan was to tack across the main passage and then hook downwind into the hazel creek. The hull would begin cutting into a swell before rising and falling with a crash sending a spray of water into my face. I am pleased with how well this boat tracks Little red looks like a duck shaking it tail across the water Big bird resembles an arrow even without using the additional skeg. As I hit the bottom of waves I would often find the water coming in from the sidewalls emphasizing the need to wear my skirt (but it is hot on a summer day!).
When I did hook downwind, Wow! What a ride! Surfing the waves. one wave I managed to ride on top of for at least a quarter of a mile! I was dreading the paddle back through these waves. But it was only one-half of a mile across the main channel and three miles up the hazel creek so not bad at all.
After locking my kayak to a tree I was off to explore. Less than a 1/2 mile up the mostly level road I came to campsite #86 I will return to this beautiful campsite!
Around the next corner was the town of Proctor a bridge going over to the Calhoun house. I walk along some of the old roads trying to picture what it was like. Artifacts were strewn everywhere. An old stovetop, foundations reduced to piles of brick, old car parts, and much more.
The roads were a perfect tribute to summer meandering through the forest with a rumbling stream alongside and through fields ready for the first cutting of hay (there is something magical about a field just before the first cutting) and butterflies, thousands of butterflies all day I tried capturing a photo of the road and all the butterflies but had no luck. One of those things where you just had to be there.
The Calhoun house a trip back in time the door was open so I went in. With a fireplace in almost every room, the ceiling was falling in places but was otherwise in good shape. After exploring a bit I came back out onto the porch to eat lunch. Wow! Sitting on this porch in the shade of two massive oaks one had at least a ten-foot girth with the river less than twenty feet away I was carried back in time. The perfect place to watch a hot summer afternoon turn into a hot summer night. I did not have that much time but I did spend a couple of hours eating, reading my book, and just contemplating the mysteries of life.
Then I noticed there was one room that I had not explored. This room was not accessible from the rest of the house, nor did it have a fireplace but rather a flue for a woodstove. But it did have a single south-facing window with the old wavy panes of glass. The most amazing light you could imagine streamed through this window. It Illuminated a table with a brick and an old sofa. It was a photographer’s dream come true. But not having a model, I wanted to run into the forest and bring back beautiful woodland nymphs, food, and flowers to photograph. But I had to make do with modeling for self-portraits and orange lol!
Afterward a short hike up to the cemetery. A quiet peaceful place up on a hill under the tree everything you would want in a gravesite. One young girl’s name carved into a headstone caught my attention “Ardella” I love that name. Maybe a character in an upcoming book?
All great things must end so I returned to the boat. I had planned a swim and It was still very warm so I paddled out of the cove and into some deeper cleaner looking water and stopped at a curve in the river. I had not seen boats all day and would be able to hear them the good ways off, it was the perfect time for the first swim of the year, and no need to wear clothes. Coming around one bend and watching the waxing moon rise over the mountains was magnificent! I swam again at the ramp when I got back but I did keep my clothes on this time. lol
Still had daylight left so spent the rest of the evening slowly driving through farm country exploring new to me roads that cut through old farms. As I said before something about the just before the first hay cutting is magical. That sweet, lush smell combined with the heady scent of cow poo somehow just works!