Sunday, February 10, 2013

GLORIOUS RIVER





Whe - where'd he go?

This entry doesn't have a lot of unique and different photographs in it.  It's winter time and the critters are either staying close to their dens or have migrated to warmer climes until the sunshine of spring calls them back home to start new families.  There are a few animal citizens who winter here that keep things interesting.



I guess the draw of this river for me is it's primitive face.  There are no houses on it's edges.  The landscape shifts from wild forested hillsides to tall rock cliffs that eventually slope down to enormous expanses of farm land, much of which is void of human traces other than a few head of cattle slowly grazing with satisfied looking faces.

 Occasionally,  ancient farm buildings can be seen that are remnants from another time, no longer in use but left sitting without much care.  They are, for the most part, rustic, well built structures that show the deterioration from decades of standing against the weather of time.   Newer farm buildings have since replaced these relics and have been built far away from the river and closer to the roads where farm access is more readily available.  These old monuments will eventually fall to ruin and be lost in the history of this area.
I really adore this river, or at least this section of it.  As I mentioned before, it has a primitive appearance to it.  It is not truly primitive but, that doesn't matter.  It satisfies my desire to escape.  This water is like a magnet that compels me to return over and over.  If I weren't here for the job - I'd be here just for the sake of being here.  I guess it's fair to say that I prefer rivers to reservoirs when it's all said and done.  Rivers are water roads that can run for miles and miles and connect with other rivers and continue on.  Reservoirs are interesting too but, in a different way.  They are man made for one thing and they attract people for another.  People seem to love to flock together and live close beside and even above each other.  They buy up the edges of reservoirs and the real-estate companies get rich over them.  The result is always the same.  The reservoirs become a Disneyworld for the human inhabitants, the land is posted private and the critters lose their habitat.  Here, on this river it's different.  The inhabitants along, on and in this river are free to live as they were intended and pretty much without the hand of man intervening, accept for hunting seasons.  Hunting season is the price they must pay to humans for their justification of existence.  


  The shot above is of the island with all the fallen trees due to beaver activity.  I worried about the beavers here for a long while.  Trappers have frequented this part of the river over winter but, I've not seen them at this island.  Today I noticed No Trespassing signs that must have been installed years and years ago making this place off limits.  The signs were covered with brush and I never saw them.  The recent floods have washed the brush and riff-raff away exposing the signs.  The beavers are safe.  I wish it were so for the otters.  I have not seen an otter on the lower river in a couple months.  I'm sure they've been trapped out.  Water travel is not as cheerful without their presence.  It's a shame to allow that to happen.
There is an enormous pasture field on the right side of the river going upstream and I had to take a double look to make sure of what I saw.


A huge flock of wild turkeys were slowly moving across the end of the pasture I described earlier.  They were heading toward the forest that lay just ahead.  What a great migration!  I eased the boat over that way but the ground rises just this side of them and hides their presence.  I was forced to stay away from the shoreline.


The shots above will give an idea of what a 500mm lens will do.  The first picture is shot at 150mm, the bottom end of the lens.  The last two shots are at 500mm.  Pretty neat!
I kept an eye on them until they slowly started up an incline that would eventually put them into the pine trees at the edge of a large woods.  This was a real treat to see.
As I continued upstream, the water became faster and faster.  It was much shallower up here and the surface was reacting to the swifter current combined with the lesser depth.  The result was a choppy, fast surface.

The current was really violent here.  Interesting!  The water depth varied from 2.5 feet to 3 or 3.5 feet.  I proceeded with caution.  Those depths command attention.  I had to apply more throttle to proceed.  I noticed a horizontal line that crossed the river and extended shore to shore.  The water on my side was choppy and the water on the other side, above the imaginary line, was smooth.  Obviously the depth was greater on the upper side of the line.  I really wanted to make it to the smooth water.
 Note the different texture of the water surface ahead of the choppy water.  Its much smoother.
Just after I took the picture above the motor quit.  The jon boat was instantly swept downstream with the fast current.  There is a faulty fuel pump in this engine and I have been lax in replacing it.  Its been too cold outside to mess with it.  I pumped the priming bulb and hit the starter.  It started and quit.  Pump again.  Start and quit.  The boat is sideways, backwards but, staying in the center of the river.  Pump the bulb again.  I hit the starter once again and lifted the fast idle lever at the same time and she came to life.  The throttle was pushed forward and the little boat straightened out instantly.  Well, this is far enough upstream anyway.  I turned it around and headed back.  I needed to return on the opposite side of the river and did so.



Last week the Canada Geese were missing from the river.  Today, they have returned in great numbers.  I notice they are pairing and starting to claim territory on the islands and grassy shorelines.  I guess its time to start thinking about family and kids for them.
Huge clusters of wild geese are congregating in pockets of water that are isolated from the river.  They give themselves away with all noise they make honking.

These birds are very nervous and intolerable of boats.  They have learned to fear the presence of man, as well they should.  They rocket in front of the boat out of nowhere at any time.





I have come to like the canada goose.  These geese, unlike the reservoir variety, act totally wild and will fly at the least provocation.  Reservoir geese will collect in peoples yards and flock around boat docks, unwilling at times to retreat from human presence.  I'm glad they fear humans.  They present an exciting picture as they take instant flight and pass beside or in front of the boat.  Pretty cool!




Things will be very interesting in the spring time.  The migrants will return and start families and the edges of the water will be teaming with baby ducks of all sorts.  I'll get it all inside the camera for ya.

I pulled over to the shore and did a little work on the engine with a screwdriver.  I have it running perfectly.  It does need a new fuel pump but, the rest of it is super.  I guess I better attend to that pump in short order.
I arrived at the boat ramp and got the boat out of the water and struggled with the tons of warm clothing I put on early in the morning.  It was pretty cold then.  All of a sudden cars started rolling into the little ramp lot at the other end of the bridge.  Wow!  What was going on.  Everyone was dressed up in their Sunday best.  They all walked down to the water's edge.
I knew something was up so I pulled the camera out and shot a few pictures.  Then I caught on.  It's a baptism.   See below.  This is the first time I ever saw this.  That water is 45 degrees.  I sure have a knack for running into unique situations.  Oh well.  See ya.