Thursday, December 15, 2011

The bottom of the lake

The other day I had the privilege of being one of a very few who got to go out into the local lake that is being drained.  When full it has a shoreline about 19 miles long is about 2300 acres across the surface.  Right now it's perhaps a five acre lake.  We were able to walk as far down as we could, until we started sinking.  Fortunately I only sunk in to my knee.  We had rope with us to be able to pull someone out if necessary.  Luckily it wasn't necessary.  The muck had a thin layer of ice on it for the first hour which enabled us to get down to a boat that had sunk many years ago. 
The tall posts that you see are remnants of the pier where the old steamboats used to pull up.  Behind the present day dam is the old dam and saw mill.  The old dam was put in as a mill pond. 

Here you can see the old mill site and the dam. 

Some water was backing up behind the dam and many logs and downed trees that had been submerged were now visible.  Water was flowing freely through the spillway. 

In this picture I was standing on top of the old dam.  See that metal wheel stuck in the mud behind the building? 

You can't tell in this picture but that flywheel is 8 feet diameter!

Of course, we were allowed to pick up items that we found and show them to the group but nobody was able to keep any of them.  The landowners are probably going to pick up some of the artifacts and put them on display at the local museum. 

Walking on the lake bottom brought into view many items that you would expect to find on a lake bottom.  Namely beer cans!  We found several anchors and some really heavy weights that we thought were for catching the Loch Ness Monster's relatives or something.  We weren't quite sure why anyone would use some of the fishing gear that we found. 

I was given permission to collect some of the junk that was related to the fishing.  I brought home two fishing poles.  There was a stack of about 50 that had been found over the last few months as the lake was draining, but the two I brought home I stumbled upon in the muck.  Before you get too excited about the great poles, I have to tell you that while both of them are still usable, the best of the two was a "Scooby Doo" fishing pole.  That can't really be topped, now can it? 

In one spot an entire tray filled with bait and tackle must have fallen off a boat and into about 100 feet of water.  There were four full jars of stinky bait and a little tackle box.  That ruined their day, I'm sure.  I got lots of lures and several pairs of sun glasses for the grand kids.  We were able to walk where nobody has walked for over 100 years.  I had a wonderful day.  So why am I telling you this story other than to share the cool pictures? 

Walking along the lake bottom made me think about the need for back up supplies.  You know the saying two is one and one is none.  Do you own one fishing pole?  Do you have it wrapped in something that will float in case it gets pulled off shore or dropped out of your boat?  What about your tackle?  Do you have it all in one tackle box so when that tackle box gets dumped overboard you are left with nothing?  Do you have a back up pair of sun glasses?  Or regular glasses?  Or keys? 


  1. This is neat. I remember seeing pictures of when Huntington was drained and the amount of trash and garbage surprised everyone. The B-17 or B-24 was impressive though.

    In this case there seems to more historical leftovers from the development of the lake. Thanks for the pictures.

  2. Thanks for sharing the pictures, it's always nice to get a glimpse of things from a time ago. Being a very visual person I can look at those pictures and see people working (and working very hard).