Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Today, I head out just to make my rounds, just to keep track of the goings on in the marsh. I have a couple of brief chats with folk as I make the two mile portage down to Portage Bay. There, I take in as much of the "natural" shoreline as the shallow water will allow. All of the beaver lodges seem to tower in the low winter waters. I find several clear beaver trails east of the Portage Bay lodge.

Once in Union Bay, I head north, getting out on one of the tiny islands near the west lodge. There is an old metal barrel here, been here for years, and I'm tired of it. I roll it and stand it on end so the water inside can run out of a small hole. I'll move it on the next trip. A piece of firmness under my right foot disappears as I fetch my camera from the canoe. I go thigh deep. Now my pants need to be washed as much as I do.

The west lodge

The alders 50 ft south of here, on the main shore, are getting a workout. The beaver have cut two large ones and are working on two more. It is a natural clear-cut of sorts. I find it nice to see them taking on such big projects. I hear two eagles whistle/chirping at each other 200 yards south.

Back in the canoe, I find and pull a very old truck tire from the water. It is model T vintage, 3 feet in diameter and skinny like a motorcycle tire. It's possible that it has been in the water for 80 years or so. These old tires are strange to handle. They feel organic, with a gumminess to the touch. They are pre-nylon/rayon/dacron, so the cord fibers have rotted leaving a limp circular mass. This one dumps a quart or two of swamp water into the canoe as I wrestle it. (Brand - United States Tire)

When I reach the north point, I decide to head home across the bay. The sun comes out, brilliant and warm on my south facing side, even warmer feeling with a cold breeze from the north. The contrast in temperature is invigorating, somehow.

#1 island

There has been nothing remarkable about the trip, unless one finds the shear beauty of the marsh and all that goes on there remarkable.

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