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.
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.
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,
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.
We stopped every so often to scan the horizon with the binoculars to see if we could find the boat.
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.
It was a 26 foot long pontoon boat.
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.
Being out in the woods, you’d think we’d see all kinds of wildlife. Nope! But we did see some dead life.
For our friend Sherry, I wanted to remind her that even little trees deserve hugs! ;c)
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)
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