Friday, September 30, 2011

Winding Stairish Loop

Oh, it's getting dark earlier now. Before long there won't be enough time for these afternoon road rides any more. It'll be night rides or nothing. To get ready for all that, me and Tim headed up for a Winding Stairish loop this afternoon, with a few diversions.

The weather was cool, especially up on the north side of the ridge.


I haven't felt genuinely cool weather in a while. I almost forgot what it's like. Actually, there's no almost, I did forget what it's like. In a month I'll probably forget what warm weather is like too and when we get an 80 degree heat wave I'll be crying.

One of our diversions led us down by Edmonson Pond. From the road, unless you knew a pond was there you wouldn't know a pond was there and I insisted on running up in the woods to check it out.

My god!

 Edmonson Pond

When I first moved to Georgia, the edge of the pond extended right up to the road. Beavers have been attacking it every year though with row after row of dams and the edge has moved further and further back. Somewhere in this blog I have a photo of it from a year or two ago and it was at least 3 times as big. Today it was all shrunk up and only 4 or 5 inches deep. We could see the bottom all the way across. Wild!

As I understand it... A dam, whether produced by man or beaver, is like a big, abrupt water bar. When the creek flows into the pond behind it, the water slows down and drops any sediment it's carrying. A muddy slope forms along the bottom, deep at the dam and tapering up toward the head end. When the pond fills in to 2 feet of depth, which almost always occurs at the head end first, plants start to grow and catch even more sediment. Then it REALLY starts to fill in. As such, man-made lakes have a known lifespan and fill up quickly near the end of it. For a little pond, all you can do is dredge it. Big lakes have a small silt pond at the head end to catch everything and they just dredge that instead of the whole lake.

With beavers on the left and siltation on the right, I'd bet in another year this one will be a creek again, or at least a swamp. They'll have to change the signage to Edmonson Swamp.

Climbing back up to Hightower Gap (or Etowah Gap as I recently discovered it might be more correctly called) our toes got cold. Tim thought his were getting numb from the effort, but no, it was actual cold. What is this "cold" I keep experiencing anyway? How does it work? I have no memory of this thing.

Another diversion shredded my arm with briars.


It looks worse than it is. Thorns must have some kind of anti-coagulant on them or maybe they're just really sharp. Whatever it is, you bleeeeed.

We barely got back to the car before dark. Actually, I'll back up on that. It was dark when we got back to the car, but not so dark that we couldn't see. We barely got back to the car with enough light to still be able to see. Time to start carrying lights I guess.

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