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Saturday, November 15, 2014

We Never Know Where Our Day Is Going

This time of year the lake at the J. Strom Thurmond COE project is very low, a perfect time to inspect all the dozens of beach areas at all the campgrounds and day use areas surrounding the lake.

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One of the items at all the beaches are depth pole markers.  The numbers indicate the water depth when the lake is full for swimmer safety.  With the water level low, it is the perfect time to perfect time to do maintenance on the poles, like replacing missing numbers.

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Marti and I got pulled off the task for a higher priority job.  At one campground, the host notified the rangers of a drifting boat.  It had drifted aground and then drifted off into the lake.  The concern was not only for the boat to drift out into the lake and become a safety hazard for other boaters to run into at night, but if the boat had been in use and the operator fell off.

We headed to the campground with binoculars and a portable radio to see if we could locate the boat.  After talking with the campground host as to where he had seen the boat last, we headed out along the shoreline.

We’ve done a lot of hiking in the woods with our pin hunting work, but walking along the lake’s shoreline in this area was some of the most rugged terrain we’ve encountered yet.

The shoreline is not like an ocean beach, it curves back and forth and has many streams, coves and ravines that are not passible, causing us to have to head quite a way inland through the brush to find a place to cross.  Parts of the beach are very rocky,

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while others look smooth, but are actually very muddy.  Your feet sink down into the red Georgia mud four or five inches with every step.

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We stopped every so often to scan the horizon with the binoculars to see if we could find the boat.

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Finally we located the boat aground on a spit of land.  Even though it looked fairly close, it took us another hour of hiking to reach it.

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It was a 26 foot long pontoon boat.

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Boarding the boat, we were able to ascertain that it was not operated by someone who had fallen overboard.  The boat was in various stages of disassembly and looking at the mooring lines it was obvious that it has just broken loose from its dock and floated off.  We pulled out the boat’s anchor and secured it to the shore so it wouldn’t drift off again.  With the registration numbers, the rangers could track down the owners to come and recover the boat.

A job well done, right?  With Marti’s iPhone, we calculated we had hiked about 3.6 miles to get to the boat.  Now that we had found it, it was back another 3.6 miles to our truck through the rocks and mud. 

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Being out in the woods, you’d think we’d see all kinds of wildlife.  Nope!  But we did see some dead life.

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For our friend Sherry, I wanted to remind her that even little trees deserve hugs!  ;c)

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Once we returned home to the Journey after our day, I spent about about a half hour with a wire brush outside, cleaning what appeared to be five pounds of mud off each one of our hiking shoes.  They are clean, but stained reddish from the mud.  I guess we won’t be wearing those shoes to formal events anymore.

We love the variety of the jobs that pop up here at the COE, we never know what we’ll be called upon to do next.  We remain “Semper Gumby” (Always Flexible) and have realized with all the hiking we get to do, we don’t need a gym membership.  ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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15 comments:

  1. Love the picture of you hugging that deserving tree. Does he get his feet wet when the lake is high?? I think you guys need hip boots for your job there. 7.4 miles is a good day's hike. You probably lost 5 pounds that you could put back on at an ice cream social or something. :-)

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  2. Too bad you just couldn't drive the boat back.

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  3. Now that's a cool job...HIKING!!! However, having spent years trying to remove Carolina Red Clay from our childrens' clothers, that is not a cool job;o(( Congrats on finding and securing the runaway boat...that was a really big Geocache:o)))

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  4. A job well done! Exercise and no gym fees! Can't get much better than that :)

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  5. I remember when the lake was low last year, you sure could see what was lurking under the normally higher surface. Good job retrieving the boat. Too bad "finders keepers, losers weepers" does not apply here, that boat would have been a nice addition to the Volunteer Village. ;-)

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  6. Wow.. what a hike! Glad nobody was in that boat or worse yet... OUT of that boat and needing help!

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  7. Glad to know somebody hadn't fallen overboard but good grief. Why weren't the owners out there looking for it. I know they probably didn't even realize it was missing but still. Jim always knows where his boat is even when its sinking. Good job you guys.

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  8. I sure hope you filled out the marine salvage forms!

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  9. I was beginning to wonder about that new weight loss program you and Marti had taken up. I bet you can eat all you want the pounds still fall off of you. What I discovered is the more weight you lose, the more your wrinkles show so be careful what you lose. You might decide to gain it back.

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  10. Good that you could combine your exercise program with your work :)

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  11. Good for you guys doing 'whatever is necessary' for the COE :) Too bad you couldn't have just taken a ranger's boat to find the pontoon boat!

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  12. The beauty of the lifestyle is you never know what will pop up next on your agenda.

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  13. Another great rescue adventure. Well done. The COE is lucky to find volunteers like you and Marti - real 'mudders'.

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  14. Wow! Over 7 miles! Over muddy terrain. I would have to take a couple days off to recover. Congrats on a successful mission.

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