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Showing posts from September, 2018

River Walk

Through clear water you see the first leaves of early fall lying scattered on the smooth river stones on the bottom. The slick rock reflect glints of sunlight in the shallows. Everything takes on the hues of russet and amber and somewhere in there are flecks of gold and flashes of silver swirling in the eddies and riffles, gliding down into the deep pockets along steep banks rife with ferns and alder trees and jewelweed.
As far as you can see up the river, trees form a canopy over the water, all bending toward the other side, all lacing their branches together to form a tunnel for an occasional cool breeze to flow through, loosening dead leaves and pieces of dried branches that fall into the current and end up gathering around your legs as you make your way upstream.
A river birch growing right on the bank is canted over at an angle across your path, it's root ball pulling out of the soil and rock near the water. At the base of this tree, the river has deposited fallen limbs and f…

Life in the Water

My son, Chase spotted a trio of river otters today while fishing Wildcat Creek. I had wondered if some of the splashing sounds that we hear in the deep water behind our house at night could be made by otters, and the questionable tracks in the mud must've belonged to something other than the beavers, but until today, nobody had laid eyes on one. My son made a video on his iPhone to confirm that's what we had, and sure enough, it was, and they were playing in the water near the big beaver dam.
One thing is for sure, Chase has to compete with not only the herons and water snakes for fish, but with the skill and voracious appetite of the North American river otter.
What was once a small creek, running steadily through the hollows here in the foothills, has now become a diverse wetland, thanks to the workings of the beaver. A massive dam was built that stretches between the bottoms of two steep hills. The 100 yard long dam, along with several other smaller ones all up the creek t…

Small Gifts

About this time of year, turtle hatchlings like this little snapper emerge and make their way to the creek like all the generations before them. Why the turtle mom chose to lay her clutch behind my daughters' swing set is beyond me, but she has for the past couple of years. This young turtle had somehow evaded the cat and the lawnmower, and he was found climbing the high bank in front of our house-- the turtle equivalent of El Capitan. We set the little snapper off on his journey and whispered a prayer for his safe travels. Earlier this summer, an eastern river cooter layed her clutch beside our back porch and as of yet, there is no sign of their hatching. We watched and waited, but so far, nothing. Maybe our presence and the presence of our dog caused her to change her mind. That night, the soil was packed tight, and we were sure she'd finished the job and returned back to the water in the dark. We are still waiting... All over the yard now, there are tiny orange toads jumpi…