Sunday, June 19, 2011


The forest on both sides of the Abrams Creek channel are a shambles.  Trees have been blown down all the way to the top of the mountain on both sides of the creek.  The water channel must have acted like a guide for the tornado;  the steep cliffs on both sides created a long hallway, corridor, which contained the fury between the banks causing it to blow along the creek channel following every turn exactly as if guided by a map.  There will be no bushwhacking on the sides of these mountains.  trees lay every which way on the ground;  pointing down hill being the most popular direction.
It's 7AM and I found the put-in for Abrams Creek devoid of parked cars.  Ha;  I beat everybody here.  Maybe the threat of rain will keep the multitudes away.

A breeze was blowing when I put the canoe in the water but caused me no problems.  It felt good.  I could not sit the paddle down for a second to photograph critters as the wind would instantly turn the big canoe.  The very overcast sky promises rain shortly and isn't helping the photography hobby either.  Let it come.  I don't care.  I'm happy just being here.

I'm amazed at the destruction of so many trees.  These blown down trees were healthy trees of very large diameter.  Many are twisted like a twist of Taffy and then snapped off the trunk.  That is power!

I slipped cautiously along the right bank where the water was calm.  I didn't want to startle any critters lurking under the bank overhang.

I was fast approaching the point where I needed to paddle the Mistral to the opposite shoreline and make ready to tie off the boat.  The otter den is directly across from that spot. 
Dead ahead and to the right of center is a little grassy spot to tie off the boat. 

I wish there was more sun light.  I can't use the big 500 millimeter lens in this very low light condition.  No tripod along.  Oh well....
Just a little further and I'll scull to the shoreline and tie off.
After many bouts with shore line chiggers;  I've taken to carrying a small tarp to throw down to lay on.  I've never had a chigger problem on Abrams Creek but I'm not taking chances.
I unwrapped the office and started to write in my journal, all the while keeping watch on the opposite bank.
The landscape is very different looking now since the tornado's passing.  I can't see the otter's den hole in the undercut bank due to all the fallen trees over there.  The otters may have vacated the area by now anyhow.  It's a quiet, overcast morning and the water is calm.  Otter or no otter;  the time and place are mighty sweet.

I received a pair of binoculars I ordered last week.  They are Nikon 10X56 Monarchs.  I used them at the old park last evening watching Indigo Buntings.  The binoculars add an astonishingly new dimension to critter watching.  I not only watched the bird but could see it's eyes moving and it's beak open and tongue flick up and down as it sang it's song.  I don't know why I never got a pair of "quality" binoculars sooner.  I guess I just didn't want to spend the money.  I'm glad I decided to get them.  I can highly recommend these binoculars.  They have tremendous light gathering ability which will allow very early or late in the day viewing.  The image seen is absolutely crystal clear.  My old Bushnell's are now residing on the shelf in the shed.  Normally I'd toss them onto the pile of warranty, poor quality related items out in the yard.  But, these have sentimental value.   I selected a 10 power model because I suspected a 12 power would be difficult to hold shake free without image stabilization.  I am correct on that suspicion.  The ten power binocular is easy to hold steady and personally;  I couldn't hold a 12X binocular steady without adding quiver to the image.
There is something occurring that reminds me of a mosquito buzzing around my head.  It is the sound of motorcycle mufflers far in the distance.  Ya know;  I love motorcycles.  I doubt I could exist without having one near even if I was too old and feeble to drive it.  But, I'll never understand what the fixation is for loud mufflers.  The only foreign sound I can hear "even a mile up this channel, is motorcycle exhaust pipes off in the distance on Route 129.  Without that sound, all would be absolutely quiet.  I just don't get it.  Maybe the loud pipes command attention.  Loud pipes  definitely  shout  "look at me, look at me."   "Listen" to me sounds more appropriate.   I guess the multitudes have to endure the noisy folly of the few.   I hear the term "old school" when loud pipes are referred to in conversation.  Loud exhaust pipes have nothing to do with "old school" or, more appropriately early motorcycle history.  I'm from those days.  Guess one could say I am old school.   A twenty five or thirty year old guy is talking to living old school when he or she addresses me.  I'm here to tell ya, we drove the bike how it came.  When the thing fell over and crushed the muffler we improvised and modified the part at that point.  The resultant sound was how it was.  Actually, quiet was preferred back in the day.  The bandits and social dropouts were another story.  They liked to raise hell and loud pipes helped them.  The average guy with a motorcycle just rode it.  Blue jeans, white Teeshirt, loafers or work shoes and a pair of sun glasses.  There I go again.  I have to watch my rants.  Now, where was I?
A wood duck flew down and along the far bank at top speed flying under dead-falls too.  How's he do that?  I bet he or she has chicks up under all that debris.  Usually wood ducks fly and hang out in pairs.  I can't see any movement at all over there.  There's no chance for a picture anyhow as the sky is turning darker.  Things change fast out here.  Actually, the sky has turned black and the breeze is now wind.  Prudence tells me to leave now.  And, I shall do so.

This has been a relaxing morning so far.  The only thing missing is a dog.  I miss Douglas.  I'll get him out for a turn in the woods and on the water when I get back.
The breeze is gentle here as I shove off away from the shoreline.  A stronger wind always blows on the main channel.  Everything is good.  The boat feels good, the paddle feels good and I feel good. 
This has just been a little getaway.  I felt the need to paddle a canoe, and so I did.  See you later.