January 3, 2019
As I pulled into the parking lot of the marina I had an unexpected welcoming party. They totally caught me off guard as the two adults and one fawn walked slowly in front of my car. I forgot I had my glasses on. I never take photos with my glasses on. I didn't know whether to grab the iPhone or the Nikon D3200 that I had brought with me. Luckily they were not afraid of me nor were they in a hurry ... I still acted fast, too fast so I could catch them on camera before they ran away.
I grabbed the Nikon, while forgetting to roll down the passenger side window. The window was dirty but not bad photos considering I was rushing around, a little panic, excited and my ballcap bill in the way when I tried to use the viewfinder.
I wasn't able to catch the three of them with one photo but I did catch the last two.
They stood and watched as I drove slowly away to park my car in a vacant parking lot.
One last glance to see who and what I am. Stella and Heidi would have loved this. It's one reason I never bring them down to this area. These mule deer are very common at all hours of the day or night. They fear nothing.
By the time I parked my car down by the boat ramp, walked across the parking lot and up to the restrooms (locked), they were within arms reach it seemed as I glanced out from behind the building.
They finally realized I was standing there taking photos of them and took off.
Some of you have seen photos of this lake before. I've taken photos here and posted pictures on my other blog in May 2015. Click here to see more photos of the lake and area in Spring. I also came back in October 2016 to take more photos. You will have to scroll much lower in the article to see the fall colors surrounding the lake. Click here for that article.
Today all the rental boats, canoes, kayaks are put away for the winter. Offices are locked and basically I had the whole 800 acre lake to myself. It is a man-made lake, surrounded by 108 square miles of some of the prettiest land in Southern Indiana.
At 38° there were a few still around but it was totally silent, no cars, no people, no traffic, no jet noise ... nothing ... just quiet.
This is my poor attempt at a panoramic photo moving from right to left in the next four photos.
That land is full of campgrounds, mostly tent camping. There are buildings for cookouts and if you have 4-wheel or all-wheel drive you can take single track dirt/gravel roads back into those woods as deep as you want to camp.
When I was writing the post this morning I knew I was going to have to go to the grocery store for fruit and almonds if nothing else. It dawned on me that if I went a different direction not only could I shop but also visit Lake Greenwood and take some photos. I've never been down there in the month of January before.
One thing that is very nice about this facility, is that it is semi-private. Unless you have a government employee badge or a military ID card (active or retired), you will not get inside the 108 square miles. I might be wrong on that ... it changes depending what the security level is, so at times a government employee or military personnel can bring civilians on base. As far as coming alone, not going to happen without a government ID.
This government facility is the 3rd largest Naval installation in the world ... not the USA. Yet, there isn't a naval ship anchored anywhere near this land locked base. In fact, five years ago it had less than 80 active duty military personnel out of 6,000 - 8,000 employees.
Over the past 50 years it has evolved from being the largest bomb producer in the Viet Nam War, to high-tech development for all branches of service, ships or aircraft. Only government employees or government contractors work at this facility.
So you are probably asking yourself the same question I asked myself before leaving this morning ... would this facility be open during the current government shutdown? I thought the grocery store might be closed but the lake area would be accessible. I'd take that chance.
As I stopped at the gate to show my ID card, to my surprise, the security officer told me the base was not closed. In fact this facility for some reason was not affected by the government shutdown that is currently going on. I remember when I worked here in 2013 I was sent home between 10-14 days during a shutdown. (can't remember) But not now??? Interesting.
I admit I did a little editing to make the sky bluer and that automatically helped with the color of the water in the panoramic photos. Otherwise you wouldn't see much color, even with the sunshine.
I've sailed, paddled a canoe and a kayak on this lake for as far as the eye can see ... then further. The shelter is nice for cook-outs and it's always quiet due to the accessibility or lack there of, to the general public.
It was nice to get out on such a bright sunny day. No signs that Stella attempted any escapes today while I was gone. Heidi must have kept a tight leash on Stella and well under control. :)
I felt much better when I got back. It's a nice drive to and from. Perfect weather for the month of January. While the hounds slept their afternoon away after they ate lunch, I answered some emails, replied to comments, added a border around all the images and listened to an old favorite band of mine ... Jethro Tull. LOL ... I know.
All is good in ''the tropics' of Southern Indiana.