Friday, September 16, 2011

The Provo

Thursday evening on the Provo River; a river cited as one of the top fishing rivers in America.
Bernie fished; I wandered about taking in the late summer photo ops.
Seems like every year at this time I start seeing caterpillars wearing my beloved OSU colors.

Bernie had chest high waders on and thought nothing of blazing a trail through marshlands.
I followed for awhile...stepping into marsh up to my calf, then decided to return to the well trod pathways.
It is still pretty warm out; I wore a long sleeved shirt simply to protect myself from the elements.
Translucent red berries glowed along the trail.
Is this bittersweet? Our bittersweet in the garden has orange berries; is this another variety of the plant or something different all together?
Once or twice I did manage to slog through some water.
It was surprisingly warm...
HUGE blue dragonflies were monitoring my every step. They refused to land; I was left with the option of photographing the more photographically compliant damselflies instead.
I heard a rustle next to the trail and saw a long gopher snake trying to blend in with his environment. 
It is with great pride that I share that my yelp was tiny and my camera was at the ready.
Five years ago I would have screamed my head off and ran back to the car, locking the door and honking the horn for Bernie to come drive me away.
Now I smile and can't wait to show Bernie the picture.
It is still a lot more fun to sight a butterfly...

Never get tired of photographing butterflies...
Another Caterpillar was humping along the path beneath the butterfly.

A beaver dam.
Yes...this is my kind of place, where the OSU mascot builds dams and the caterpillars go about in orange and black.
No beavers to be seen this afternoon though.
I note that there is to be an almost a full moon that night; such nights are when beavers go about with their families doing whatever needs to be done.
I considered asking Bernie if he wanted to stay until dark.
He would of course.
The hatching mayflies filling the air made me decide not to propose the adventure this time.

Standing near the dam and humming the Oregon State University fight song didn't stir the beavers enough to make an appearance for me.
That was slightly disappointing.

Several other fishermen were on the river too.

Occasionally they glanced my way as I focused on what was to be seen on land.

It wasn't until later that I saw one of the cars in the parking area with a bumper sticker promoting Special Needs fishing.
I don't know what special needs the guys had; perhaps limited vision, but it was really cool to see the assistance being offered and the wide grins on all their faces as they made their way back to shore.

Bernie fishing around the bend.
He said he got a few hits.
The air was so full of insects it is hard to imagine that the fish had any interest in artificial flies at all.

Back to butterflies...

Don't you love that scalloped design on the lower wing edge?

In case you are wondering how I get so close to the butterfly and also get a nice blurry background: I was shooting with my EFS 55-250mm lens. It allows me to shoot close up while standing a couple of yards away. The area of focus is small so the rest of the shot always is out of focus.

I do love wild asters.
So do butterflies apparently.
Checking back in with Bernie.
Notice the color change on the hillside up and behind him?
I just now realized that *someday* I want to get a waterproof camera and chest waders so I can go out on the river with him.
Of course I would probably just scare all the fish away but I think it would be fun.


A cedar wax wing, with the pretty yellow tipped tail feathers.
The dots in the air next to the bird: Mayflies. 
The flies are about an inch long and a quart of an inch wide and are frankly grossing me out.

I headed back to the car.  The parking area was nearly full, and clusters of fishermen and one fisher woman were talking shop.
It felt good to know what a PMD was and what a few other fly fishermen short hand names meant.

One gentleman struck up a conversation with me as I was photographing the bird: He and his wife had just moved to Midway two weeks ago from Ventura.
He was retired and had decided that being near the Provo for fishing and Sundance for skiing would be great.
We swapped observations about SoCal madness, SLC lifestyle, and generally congratulated ourselves for moving to the area when we had a chance.
We are running into more and more people who have likewise made the move for the same reasons.

After awhile I decided to try to round up Bernie.
A bird house mounted on a tree caught my eye.
The roof had a letter from a Momma to her Baby Boy.
Baby Boy used to love to fish here.
She still misses her son...
Wished they had had the chance for him to take her fishing like he always wanted to.
It was pretty sad.

So that was pretty much it for September 15, 2011 on the Provo River.
On the way home we noted that fall was gearing up to come down from the mountain.
"Spring comes up from the valley; Fall comes down from the mountains".
Yes it does.
And it looks like it will this year too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nebo Loop, take 2

Earlier this summer we had attempted to drive the 32 mile long Nebo Loop, which begins about an hour southeast of where we live.
The Loop is noted as being one of the most scenic drives in Utah, and during the fall when autumn colors are at their peak, the drive is highly recommended for viewing.
Sunday afternoon we decided to make the drive down there again, confident that this time the access gate would be unlocked.

There was no fall color change to witness, but we noted various vistas that we will want to visit again in a month or so. 
Those views are pretty great even in summer green actually.
A road side sign promoted a scenic point called "Devil's Kitchen: A Mini Bryce Canyon".
The pull over area looked like the rest of the area, just forests of white fir trees, with a small asphalt path leading deeper into the tree.
About a city block in the landscape totally changed to the promised Bryce Canyon look.
A handful of people and one cheerful Brittany Spaniel stood on the platform overlooking the "kitchen", and we helped each other find the various formations that were listed on the guide sign.
The saddle horn hoodoo was directly behind the sign which caused a bit of a mystery for a moment.

So I am guessing this is where the Devil goes when he wants to mix up a batch of Devil's Food Cake?
(sorry...couldn't resist...had to say it...)
Along the path to the Kitchen.  I wondered how many people had not even noticed this beautiful tree trunk with so many colors.

There was just one little bit of aspen gold to be seen if one took a moment to look.

Black clouds that flashed with lightning topped all the long views.
At this point we had been driving the loop for about 40 minutes, stopping randomly at the various vistas and checking out various campgrounds.
I was feeling a bit peevish...and commented that aside from the long views, I wasn't seeing much of interest.
No birds too.
We speculated on why that might be.
And then...

I spotted this bird perched in a dead tree about a half a block off the side of the road.
Bernie slowed down, then backed our car up so I could get a clear shot.
Aren't those talons serious looking?

I do appreciate a bird who is willing to pose for me for awhile...
I noticed later when I enlarged the pictures that the beak had a touch of yellow at the top.
Details like that are a big help when it comes time to identify the bird.

After about three minutes the bird lifted off and flew across the road ahead of us, winging and gliding until he landed further away.

That was that...we didn't see a single other bird aside from a duck later on at Lake Payson. 

The lavender wild asters were in bloom along the roadside; a sure sign that summer is coming to a close.

At Lake Payson the storm clouds finally let loose on us.
Bernie wished to fish for a bit...

I was ready to take a ramble on the neat lake encircling path after sitting so long in the car.
As usual I was wearing my orange hiking shirt and Bernie said he enjoyed being able to visually follow me was I walked around the entire lake

The rain got pretty intense and my camera was tucked under my shirt for most of the walk but there were places along the way where the overhanging trees provided dry shelter for me.
The colors on the surrounding hillsides were not "Fall" colors; they were just bits of folage break that revealed the colorful soil beneath and browned out grasses and such.
In a couple of weeks though...the colors will be the real deal and then some.

Some of the undergrowth sported hints of color aside the path.

I am facinated by berries and all their variations.  Years ago Victoria magazine had a series of photos of berries that had been gathered on branch and used for centerpieces and wedding pieces.
The article awoke an interest in berries in me that has never left.
I had never seen a berry like this one before.

The dawdling stroll around the lake didn't take long.
I came upon Bernie toward the end; he was fishing with wet flies and wearing a rain dappled brown felt fedora.
A very attractive scene he made.
Sorry for no picture; the rain was heavy enough at that point I was unwilling to risk wetting my camera to get the shot.

By the time I made it back to our car the storm had moved on.
Lightening and thunder was to be seen and heard nearby, so Bernie gave up fishing and came back to the car too.
We both agreed that the Lake Payson campground would be a lovely place to spend some time camping soon.

The loop meandered down after the lake area.
Bernie pulled over and checked various places along the road to see where the best fishing holes might be found.
It is at times like that that I am so happy that we have found pleasure in the compatible hobbies of fly fishing and photograph.
We are so glad that our hobbies keep us both fit and happily spending time together at such little expense.

The only other true bit of fall color seen that day.
When we finally wound down the loop to a residential area, Bernie began looking for a way to connect back up with the freeway north and back to our home.

He was pretty sure we were headed north west.
The mirror compass informed us we were actually heading south east!  The clouds had obscured the sun; the loop had wiped out our sense of direction.
We heeded the compass and quickly found a way back on the freeway.
A year ago on 9-11 we had hiked up to Silver Lake and been witness to the most amazing hatch and fish ballet performed in the light of a setting sun.
We had hiked up the mountain surrounded by green, and hiked back down with color change all around us.
It was a day full of wonder for us.
This 9-11 we chose the same sort of day for our remembrance.
Some people have suggested that 9-11 should be a day of service.
Our President spent the day feeding the homeless in a soup kitchen.
I am all for service, and soup kitchen duty is a duty to be attended to regularly.
If someone was to ask how I think 9-11 should be spent, I would advise finding something in America that brings a sense of joy to your soul and engage in whatever that is on that day.
And during that time, be aware of the freedom that we all enjoy.
Pray that the freedom will stand forever.
Pray everyone in the world will one day enjoy the same sort of freedom.
Pray for the those who put their lives at risk for our freedom.
And pray that they too will soon be home and enjoying their freedom too.
9-11 will always be a day of remembrance of a horror.
For me, I chose not to dwell on the horror.
That feels like awarding attention to the attackers for their success on that one day.
As I took in the late summer beauty around me, I said a prayer for those who hate us.
And felt a sense of victory in how I spent my day.