Monday, February 13, 2012

Two Days, Two Walks

Except for a break of sunshine now and then, Saturday was sort of gloomy, cold and gray.  Which suited me just fine, since I was feeling a little gloomy myself,  following the fiasco of Sue's and my photo presentation the night before.  We were barely half way into our show and just getting to a really good part, when an audience member in the front row passed out and needed emergency medical attention, which ended the evening abruptly. We're happy to report that the patient turned out to be okay, just a passing spell, she would see her own doctor, etc., but the work that the two of us (Sue especially) had spent many hours preparing went mostly unseen.  And yeah, I felt kind of glum about that.  So on Saturday I went looking for a landscape to match my mood, a Wuthering Heightsish kind of place to wander about while sulking, and I found it on the powerline access road that climbs the hills along Spier Falls Road at Moreau.  Here, a cold wind moved in waves through the tall dead grass, and a leaden river could just be spied through the bare leafless trees lining the road below.

Funny thing about being outdoors, though, is that it always lifts my mood, and my sulk soon turned to delight as I stopped to explore the fascinating boulders that line the road up there on the mountainside.

I'm not sure what kind of rocks make up these boulders, I'm guessing some must be quartzite, since they have a glassy translucent look.  Some are a pretty patchwork of rose and blue.

Others are a clearer white, like this one with some pretty green foliose lichens finding a foothold in the cracks.

There were also fruticose lichens sharing the same boulder, tiny trumpets of dusty green.

This bright green velvety moss seemed happy to be there, too, sending out an exuberant growth of vivid red spore stalks.  Such perky little patches of beauty reminded me not to waste my time in a funk when the world was so full of delights.

*  *  *

Sunday dawned clear and cold, with a sharp wind that quickly whipped away any warmth that a bright sun struggled to provide.  Sue and I had planned to go out together today, but we decided a drive might be much more comfortable than a walk.  And what better place to go for a drive than the road that hugs the Hudson River at Fort Miller in Washington County?   We'd heard many reports of wonderful birds to be seen along this stretch, including a Golden Eagle.  We would drive for a bit, then park and wander the banks for a while, searching the water, the treeline, and the sky, until our nearly frozen cheeks could no longer bear the touch of our ice-cold binoculars, and our numb fingertips could hardly manipulate our cameras' buttons.

The river was a sight to see in itself, its radiant blue taking on the same color as the sapphire sky.  There were thousands of geese on the open water, setting up a loud cacophony each time we approached the shore.  Large groups of Snow Geese intermingled with enormous flocks of Canada Geese.  As we stood trying to photograph the geese, we were joined by other bird enthusiasts who had driven up from the Albany area just to espy those Snow Geese, considered something of a rarity in this part of the country, although they are frequent visitors to these parts of the Hudson River.

At times, the wind quieted down, allowing us to enjoy the mellow light of the afternoon along with the shimmering radiance of the river.  The geese, too, seemed to grow less frenzied, basking in the sunlight along the shore before floating serenely away.


Anonymous said...

Your walks and beautiful descriptions lift my spirits too. You inspire me, and I'm so thankful!

catharus said...

Isn't it just miraculous how the outdoors lifts our spirits! If you do see a Golden Eagle there this time of year, check around, but I think that would be highly unusual. I believe, this time of year, the eastern population is generally in the interior southeast of the country.

suep said...

yes there's nothing like a walk with a good friend to chase away the blues - we did everything we could with that presentation, it just wasn't meant to be, on that particular evening.

and catharus, the golden eagle was recorded by several members of the Hudson-Mohawk birding group, several times in the same stretch of the river, back at the end of January, but has not been seen since. We have quite a few baldies, though, so now I am checking those immatures more carefully !

Sandcastle Momma said...

What a beautiful place for a walk! Thanks for sharing.

Ellen Rathbone said...

I'm sorry to hear about your program SNAFU, but you seem to have rallied well! Good luck with the golden - we had one sighted in Waterloo last fall, but I haven't heard of it since.

hikeagiant2 said...

"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley..." and it's true - you can't be unhappy out of door!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for your words of support and encouragement, dear friends. I'm so glad you like to come along with me via this blog.

Seema Patel said...

Apart from the lovely pictures and your fascinating findings, I admire your writing style, the words and narration keeps me hooked.