Headed West on Tennessee River

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventures!

La Salle here catching you up to date on the latest travels of Still Waters II. Click on this link to see the day- to-day travel log.

Summary of week:  The crew arrived back on the boat from their trip to Texas in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.  After getting some sleep, they spent Wednesday afternoon preparing to set out on their return trip down the Tennessee River.

The crew managed to travel three days from just above Chattanooga and ended up in Ditto Landing Marina in Huntsville, Alabama for the weekend

Replica Pinto and Nina were docked in Chattanooga as the crew went by

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The crew decided to shove off and start back west because of the cool weather.  They had about 6 miles to go before arriving at the Chickamauga Lock.  Unfortunately, there was a tow just beginning to lock up so the lock master said to find a place out of the way because it was going to be a while.  The crew’s experience is the wait would be at least three to four hours.


Bearcat in the Chickamauga Lock

However, the lock master called on the radio and informed the crew that he would allow them to lock down with the tow Bearcat as he went back down to get more barges.  So after the tow secured his two barges above the lock, the crew followed him into the lock for the 44 foot drop down to the Nickajack Lake level.  The crew only had to wait about an hour to get in the lock.

Locking through with a commercial tow was a first for the crew.

Locking down 44 feet with Bearcat

The next part of the cruise was the 25 miles thru the ‘Grand Canyon of Tennessee.’

The crew saw this large house up on the hill.  Locals say it is owned by the DuPont’s.

20,000 sq ft under one roof

Another interesting structure in the canyon was the Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Project.  At the top of Raccoon Mountain is a large reservoir, 528 surface acres, 107 billion gallons of water.  It takes 28 hours to pump water from the river below to fill the reservoir.

The facility has four hydroelectric generators for a net of 1628 MWs.

When power is cheap they pump water up the hill to the reservoir for storage.  During peak demand (think high prices) they drain the lake back to the river and sell the electric power.

The crew passed by where the water comes back into the river.


The gates are behind the wall


The crew then arrived at the Shellmound Recreation Area, and landed along a 30-foot dock.  Upon arrival, the skipper spotted a Bald Eagle that looked like he was standing on the water.  As he observed the eagle and was trying to take a picture, a second young eagle landed for the photo bomb.



Shellmound Recreation Area


Friday, November 4, 2016


Short dock at Shellmound Recreation Area


The crew woke up to an early sunrise and shoved off from the dock after the fog lifted.  The Nickajack lock was only about a mile away and the lock master had the gates open to allow the crew to cruise into the lock and get secured.  The lock dropped the crew 37 feet down to Guntersville Lake level.


Guntersville Lake

The cruise was mostly through wilderness refuge areas so the scenery was great with very few homes along the shore.  As the crew approached Guntersville though, the wildlife areas gave way to residential development.  The crew got docked at 1600 and decided to take a mile hike to the nearest restaurant to enjoy a night out on the town.

Gilbreath ...
Gilbreath House

They walked by a home with an historical marker in the yard.  The home was built in 1851 and was only one of seven buildings to survive the Civil War in Guntersville.

The marker explained that the owner of the house was a mason.  Just so happens that the Union officer in charge was also a mason.  The officer in charge ‘spared’ his fellow mason’s home when the home owner begged the Union officer not to destroy the house.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

The crew left the dock and made their way over to the Guntersville Lock.  Along the way, they passed two interesting sites.  However, they only saw one of the sites.  The first site is on Goat Island.  The island gets its name from a local goat rancher who allowed his goats to roam free on the island before the Civil War.  During the Civil War the Union troops harvested the goats for food.


70 foot cliffs at Goat Island

Supposedly, carved in the rock face is the following: ‘Gen Andrew Jackson 1813-1914, Ala. D.A.R.’  The crew looked but could not spot the carving.  Looks like the island trees have blocked the view from the water.

The carving was made back in 1914 by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  The 1813 commemorates the year that the General was in the area and used a cave, that is now under water, as a supply depot in his war against the Creek Indians.


The Creek and Indian War was a side war during the War of 1812.  General Jackson defeated the Creek with the help of the Cherokee.  The Creek lost all their lands and had to relocate west to the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.  After the General became President, he rewarded the Cherokee for their support by moving them along the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma also.



Grey Bat Cave



The second site is a Bat Cave Sanctuary.  The sanctuary is to protect the Grey Bat.  It is estimated that 20-50 thousand grey bats use the cave.





The crew then entered the lock and made the 40 foot drop to Joe Wheeler Lake.  The crew decided to make it a short day and stop at the Ditto Landing Marina for the weekend.


First view of Joe Wheeler Lake after the lock


Next Week – The crew will continue their return trip on the Tennessee River to Aqua Yacht Harbor, and then start their journey down the Tenn-Tom River towards Mobile, Alabama.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

La Salle

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