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A Hike to the River

Where has all the blue sky gone?

Why is the river closed for fishing?

Yesterday morning’s blue sky is nowhere to be seen. Today, the sky is overcast and the air is heavy and damp. As I leave the house on my daily power walk, a young crow destroys the morning silence.

In a few short steps, I get into an easy stride and make my way towards the river. There will be no lake fishing today. I am walking to the river. I’m all fished-out and I want a change of scenery.

The river is overflowing its banks and I want to observe this phenomenon more closely. The river has risen by 10 to 12 feet these last few days and this forces me to change my regular route and find a new hiking trail.

Part of this river’s fascination is its incessant need to reinvent itself. I take it all in stride as I increase my walking pace.

The river is overflowing its banks

A hike to the river

water, water, everywhere … and not a drop to drink

No one is fishing here this morning. Mel and Ben are off somewhere living their lives. No friendly conversation at the end of this trail.

I keep an eagle eye on my dog in the distance, and I hasten to catch up to him. He stops when I call him. He looks up checking for my “come-here” hand signal. Doesn’t see one, so with his nose to the ground he continues sniffing his merry way upstream. His attitude and enthusiasm never cease to impress me. His life is uncomplicated and simple.

An osprey flying over me captures my attention. He is headed toward a nest, twenty minutes of walking, upriver. There were two chicks in that nest last week, and I’ll use this as a motivator, to make my way upriver.

on the road again

Dog and Bear meet at the river

Suddenly, a young black bear pops up from the river embankment with the dog in hot pursuit. All of this has happened so fast that I scramble to bring my camera into focus.

The flight of the Osprey has distracted my attention, and I have failed to see the bear before my dog.

Besides, he has picked up the bear’s smell long before his sighting it. I let the dog run a few seconds and try to imagine his joy vicariously. He is surely in dog heaven and I let him enjoy these few moments. They quickly get out of camera range and I call my dog back, enjoying the look on his face, as much as the good photograph that got away.

Another great photo gets away!

It’s the classic exercise of walking and chewing gum at the same time.

I can’t power walk, keep an eye on my dog, and take beautiful, focused photographs, … all at the same time. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

He forgets the bear in a New York minute, and returns his focus to more important things, like his morning bath. Only a freedom loving, four-legged creature could appreciate the benefits of rolling around in this cold, soapless, river water.

So much for a peaceful hike along the river. Time flies, for a short while, and then the pace returns to normal and quiet.

Where is my Bear Spray?

I’ve left it at home. That’s the dog’s job and a simple way for him to earn his keep.

As we continue down the trail, I mull over my thoughts of the bear spray that I have at home. The bear has disappeared somewhere in the distance and we continue towards the osprey’s nest.

Pleasant distraction.

All’s well, that ends well.

The benefits of walking

The sun is breaking through the clouds and my spirits relish this sunny day.

Power walking has been a blessing for me. It’s easy, it’s healthy, and it’s often a lot of fun. Hard to predict what will happen on any given day. There are times when I see beavers, seals, and muskrats in the river. Today, a young, cinnamon, Black Bear is the star attraction.

I used to run long-distance and that was hard work, no fun there.

In all fairness, I loved running, however, age and mileage have helped me appreciate the benefits of walking, so much more. A true calorie burner and easy on the body are not bad reasons either.

Good for the hips and legs, it is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. It’s easy to add an additional 10 or 15 minutes to my routine to combat my piece of black forest cake or that medium-sized chocolate brownie.

Afterall, I do need those calories to fuel these long walks up and down the river.

No need to live on bread and water all the time!

What’s a man left to do?

This morning, there is no one at the river. There are no dog walkers and I have yet to see the family of coyotes that make this natural beauty their home. The fishing crowd has fled the area.

Thoughts of flooding and the apocalypse have convinced them to abandon this river. They are probably at home, fishing on the lakes, or at the tackle shop.

Except for the pleasant company of my dog, and another beautiful, sunny day, I am left alone to enjoy this peaceful beauty.

Another day of living the hard life. The big easy!

I guess I’ll just have to grin and bear it! … pun intended.

Comments, Questions, and Suggestions

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about dealing with bears, dogs, or human beings, I would be happy to hear from you.

I wish you all a pleasant day in the great outdoors and feel free to Contact Me at your convenience.

 

Paul

I am an avid outdoors enthusiast, and I spend most of my free time in the great outdoors. The mountains and rivers, ... and everything in between ... is always calling me. Nature is my sanctuary.

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