Great Loop – Week 19 Pickwick Lake

imageLast week began with cold, rainy weather resultant from Hurricane Patricia that hit Mexico last week. While we motored along looking at the variety of homes, bald eagles soared high above the golden trees looking for something to eat along the leafy banks of the Tennessee River.

Large tows but not many along the Tennessee River.

Large tows but not many along the Tennessee River.

The alternative route to the Gulf, the Mississippi River, is to our west. It has, by all accounts, more commercial traffic than the Tennessee River. On our way we may have passed one maybe two tows each day either ‘on the one’ or ‘on the two’ depending on which way they were maneouvreing their barges. Besides the gorgeous autumn trees I was interested in the variety of houses along the banks. Some were so high it’s hard to believe the water level would actually get that high up.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the inland waterways are marked by statutory mileage. Motoring each rainy day we dropped anchor every thirty miles or more, anchoring at mile 125, mile 170, then through through the lock and dam at mile 206, to anchor in a quiet part of the lake at Pickwick Landing. The turn-off to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway is at mile 215.

Pickwick Landing Lock and Dam - mile 207

Pickwick Landing Lock and Dam – mile 207

Before arriving at Pickwick Landing Dam and Lock, we passed the Shiloh National Military Park at mile 196. Here is where around 24,000 were killed or wounded in two days of heavy battle during the American Civil War.

This ferocious battle was one of many where brothers of the same nation died for causes which divided this nation only 150 years ago.

For two days on anchor while it poured rain outside, we listened to podcasts, ate warm soup and via Internet discovered more interesting facts about U.S. history and Civil War, prompting me to re-watch one of the few movies we have of that war, Cold Mountain.

Finally after a few rainy days we were rewarded with sunshine and blue skies.

imageBefore we entered the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway at mile 215, we spent a few days on Pickwick Lake. One beautiful small anchorage has a pleasant waterwall as a back-drop. The anchorage and reviews can be found in ActiveCaptain. With the sun shining and the water temperature at 20degC, we went in for a refreshing swim clinging to the last vestiges summer weather.

Tiny anchorage complete with waterfall - perfect!

Tiny anchorage complete with waterfall – perfect!

The lake water is reasonably clean so we ran our watermaker to fill up our tanks. I spent an enjoyable afternoon in the sunshine cleaning above the waterline to remove our yellow ‘beard’ returning the hull to its former snow-white gleam.

imageWith heavy rain and thunderstorms expected this Saturday, we moved to a calmer anchorage just inside the entrance to the Tenn-Tom Waterway. In a couple of days we begin our 450mile journey along the Tennessee-Tombigbee (Tenn-Tom) Waterway to Mobile, Alabama.

imageThis weekend after an evening of Halloween tricking or treating, daylight savings clocks will be wound back in North America. Although a Celtic tradition, Halloween is popular in the U.S. and although not popular in Australia when I was a kid, it seems to be gaining momentum with the youngens.

With the end of the harvest season many pumpkins have been transformed into evil jack-o-lanterns. Using only what I had on hand I got into the spirit and transformed a boring butternut into a dapper veggie! I’ll cut him up next week and transform him further into a pot of creamy soup for our trip down the Tenn-Tom.

(ps: A good scary movie for Halloween try ‘The Collector’).


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Sailing the world aboard Blue Heeler
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