Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Fog of River

In the morning, a dense fog covers the entire area.  I head up the Neck River.

The Willets and Osprey are quite vocal today.  Usually, the Willets are close enough so that if they get up in air I can spot them easily.  The Osprey are mostly on perches and are easily recognizable through the mist by silhouette alone. 

Fog can be remarkably disorienting.  The usual landmarks that are taken for granted, often at some distance, remain invisible.  Nearby details that one should notice on previous trips take on importance, yet they aren't remembered clearly and seem to be wrong in scale.  I don't remember that house being so close to the river...  Add a change in speed and one's whole sense of time and position gets muddled.  It makes a familiar area new. 

I head up Bailey Creek and into the Sneak.  High tide was an hour ago, the ebb current is still slow and the Sneak has plenty of water for the passage.  Willets take turns calling out warning of my presence.

As I near the lower big bend I spot a large bird of prey in a tree.  I can recognize the hazy silhouette as a Bald Eagle. 

Bald Eagle
I keep paddling steady.  Biting gnats have hatched in a quantity that I've not experienced here.  A very light tailwind insures that I transport them up river as I go.  A bug cloud follows me.
Willets at the middle big bend

I turn back at Foote Bridge, my usual maneuver.  The light tailwind becomes a pleasant headwind and as long as I keep paddling the gnats are of no bother.  At the middle big bend I watch an Osprey harass the Bald Eagle.  The Osprey does convince the eagle to move to a more sheltered tree.  Birds that size avoid fights if possible...seemingly minor injuries are often fatal if their hunting ability is compromised.

I meet a woman putting in as I take out.  I share my bug repellent.  She doesn't put on enough.

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