Sunday, March 15, 2015

Taylor Bay, Lake Barkley

Taylor Bay
Taylor Bay, Lake Barkley

Spring has finally sprung in Kentucky and I wasted no time on our first day above 60°. The bay had been chosen over the Winter, the gear prepped the night before, and dawn finally broke on canoe day. 

As the sun crested over the horizon I could see a patchy fog hung in the air, the temperature had dropped overnight to 40°, and I was still eager to set out.

We layered up on clothing so as the day warmed we could shed layers as needed. Once loaded I wheeled the truck to Land Between the Lakes and down past the Nature Station, and to Taylor Bay. 

Fog rises off Lake Barkley, Taylor Bay.
A chill hung in the morning air but there wasn't a cloud, a single RV was parked at the back country campground, it's generator humming, and the fog hung about the surface of the water. We unloaded the gear and canoe, then portaged the canoe to the water's edge. Once situated I climbed in the bow, my feet stinging in the cold water, and got seated. My husband took his seat in the stern and we set off. 

The views of the morning sun mixed with the rising fog were breathtaking. 

View in Taylor Bay
My feet bordered on numbness but I said nothing as we paddled out into the bay. We tried to paddle to the back of the bay, towards Taylor Creek, but despite the rainfall the water level remained low, thanks to TVA and Barkley Dam. Paddling across the bay to the far side, we began working our way toward a couple islands at the mouth. It was a good warm up and Mother Nature continued to awe us with here beauty in the early morning hours.

The Sun peers over the trees
View from the bow

Video Canoeing Lake Barkley
After leisurely paddling to the island we disembarked to stretch and explore. The ground was fairly rocky but it was a false sense of security as you soon began sinking into the muddy earth. Luckily it was firm enough and not soupy so exploring was still possible. While wandering we heard a barge blowing it's horn every now and again, it made us curious as to the reason. 

Island view looking toward Cumberland River or Lake Barkley

We wandered about and took a few photos before shoving off again. Paddling past the island and toward the adjoining bay of Jake's Fork I found the reason for the barge's horn. A fog bank hung out over the lake, river channel, and other islands.

Fog bank on Lake Barkley
Shore and fog bank from the bow
My husband noted a large bird with White tail feathers to our right and one look told me it was an American Bald Eagle. I watched as it swooped down to the water, snagged a small fish, and then flew toward the neighboring tree line. 

Paddling on we made our way to the far side of Jake's Fork Bay and spotted our Eagle friend again, perched high a top a tree branch, watching the lake for his next meal. Not far down the shore, into the bay, we spotted his nest off some yards into the woods. We took a moment to marvel at the creation and then paddled on into the bay further. 

A loud pair of geese voiced their disapproval of our visit and flew past above our heads, honking the whole way. My husband now spots a Doe in the woods on the ridge line and we watched her silently as we paddled to the back to the bay till the water became to shallow to continue much further. 

Guiding the canoe to the bank we again disembarked to stretch, explore and grab a bite. It had warmed to the mid 50's and we began removing layers. Setting up our picnic we noticed the Doe behind us in the woods, still following the ridge line. She paused to watch us and us her between prepping our food. No alarm was raised, the doe quietly watched us before finally continuing on her way. 

I stood eating a sandwich and wishing I could feel my feet, now completely numb from the cold water. Another boat entered the bay and trolled halfway back before setting a jug line. Brunch in our bellies now we set out again paddling to deeper water then cutting across the bay. As I photographed the Sun and sky to my right my husband spied a Beaver approaching. I quickly switched to video and recorded the swim by. 

We made the final push back to the boat ramp and our trusty Black Chevy. Our arms were feeling the burn from paddling so much but every bit was worth it! 

Happy Paddling & Hiking

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