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Friday, August 06, 2010

A full moon rose

Day 5.

The day dawned lovely and windless, and we quickly broke camp and then paddled for two hours, landing for breakfast at a county picnic park.

Here an osprey hit the water and spread its wings for bouyancy, fiddling around "waist-deep" for about ten seconds before lifting off, somehow, with a large fish. We saw this several times. Apparently they like to adjust the catch to face forward, which is aerodynamically preferred. Risa imagines, in her macabre way, that it's so the fish, poor thing, can see where it's going.

We came to another ferry, and after passing it safely, landed on and explored an extraordinarily beautiful island. Risa gathered a few blackberries -- the first of the year!  -- and made a present of them to The Cowboy. Across the water, two golden eagles were fishing. Risa also saw a river otter and some kind of very small weasel.

On all the islands and elsewhere, there are piles of logs up to fifteen feet high, which were heaped up by the floods of '96/97'. Occasionally we came to a dock with a sign on one of the pier posts -- which are designed to allow the dock to rise with, rather than be destroyed by, a flood -- saying, "High Water Mark, February 1996." These signs were more than thirty feet above the water where we were paddling. A very sobering read.

We fell in with some canoe campers with whom we chatted for a mile or so, and also met a group of college-age kids on inner tubes, linked in a circle with a cooler of beer in the middle, floating along merrily.

In the afternoon we came to a large island, and, missing the back channel and finding no other suitable camping spot, allowed the current to rush us past the end of the island, then paddled up the backwater to land on the backchannel side from downriver. A good campsite presented itself here, and we claimed it. 21.5 mile day, 110.5 river miles from home.

The giant carp were fascinating. Risa bounced everything in her fishing kit off their noses, but they paid no mind whatever.

This island seemed to harbor more wildlife than any other place on the trip (mosquitoes, too). Beavers and giant carp swam back and forth, crows badgered ospreys, ospreys pestered eagles, and a lone, sad-looking goose, half Canada goose and half Toulouse -- too heavy to migrate -- croaked an astonishingly loud response to every wild flocked that honked past. After a 92(F) degree day, the evening fell cool upon the tents, and a full moon rose to light the flocks the way to their repose.


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