Dec 052012

Camp Nelson to High Bridge, part 2

By Wesley Houp

Another mile downstream from Candle Stick, the river, having curved sharply to the southeast, bends hard again to the northeast then back northwest around Polly’s Bend.  Swallow Rock and Golden Gate, two relief formations, loom high on the Jessamine palisade.  In the mid-afternoon sun I see how Golden Gate got its name.  The sheer limestone face, extending down 300 feet to the surface of the water, glows an El Dorado, and Swallow Rock, a series of relief arches etched in younger, higher strata appears an Olympian balcony.  At present, one black vulture monitors our idyll. Continue reading »

Feb 022011

Night falls on the Jessamine

By Northrupp Centre

Northrupp Center

Gortimer peers out a hidden cave.

Ideally, camp set-up is a self-organizing process. Decide upon a spot, disembark, lay out a tarp, unload dry-bags. Grab a drink or snack, set up tents, unpack and organize kitchen. If energetic, or if planning a night womp, empty boat and dump canoe-water. Collect firewood and centralize all trash. Explore singly or as group. Camps need not be neat, but the best have their own intrinsic order and efficiency.

Having paddled many rivers with my friend Gortimer T. Spotts, our camp set-up on Jessamine Creek was nearly impeccable. We had held out, resisted north-facing bottoms and muddy take-outs, twisted our way upstream through a shallow and narrow gravel channel, and then bull-horned through a thick, creek-spanning deadfall to arrive at our campsite: a rare sandy bank gently rising five feet above the water on an inside bend, the east side, a flat space just large enough for our tent, some gear and a fire. Continue reading »