Thursday, October 27, 2005

Exploring Percha Dam Park

"Risk-taking, trust and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens. Without trust, fear creeps in. Without serendipity, there are no surprises." A quote from author Rita Golden Gelman.

Thursday (October 27, 2005)

Thank goodness for a good forced-air furnace! It got down to 37 degrees outside and 60 inside, but I was toasty warm under my down comforter. I put on a warm coat and scarf and took my morning coffee outside while the cranes noisily flew overhead in the early morning light. Again they are in basic, poorly defined-V groupings. (see photo)

After breakfast, with camera and binoculars in hand and Cat napping in Jeremiah, I spent the morning exploring. I walked along the river below the dam - actually along river bottom because it is so low. (photo) At one point I started following some fresh-looking deer tracks, and then saw a young deer bound away into a thicket. A birdwatcher pointed out a red-tailed hawk perched in a tree, and I met the other camper, a crusty woman named Joy. She and her young male cat - a hunter who keeps bringing home critters such as rabbits, pocket gophers and mice - are full-time RVers.

As I was returning from my explorations to have lunch, I heard the cranes overhead - coming back from feeding. Instead of small groupings, there were huge masses of birds overhead. It almost seemed that they were joyfully celebrating full gizzards (stomachs for those of you who don't intimately know the inside of a bird or chicken). Instead of just flying north, they appeared to be swarming overhead, going in all directions. As I looked closely I could tell they were soaring on thermals, spiraling higher and higher rather than flapping their wings and making any forward progress. I'm near a large open field, so I was able to easily watch this crane show and take pictures (photo above).

Cat went roaming outside while I fixed lunch. As I ate outside at the picnic table, Cat looked longingly at a nearby tree. Next thing I knew, she had jumped up and was precariously heading farther up one of the large branches. She was doing fairly well for a cat with no front claws, but how would she fare coming back down? I couldn't watch. Soon she was back and under the bench. I breathed a sigh of relief.

In the afternoon, I walked about a mile down the gravel road, making a couple side trips down well-used paths in the wooded area to the river's edge above the dam (photo). Here I spotted raccoon and deer tracks - and got another mosquito bite! The ranger calls them "silent mosquitoes" because you never hear them.

Back at the park, I took my shower, fixed dinner and settled in for the night. Another awesome day. I am so blessed to be able to have Jeremiah, Cat and the desire and ability to travel - to stay out any ruts.