I thought I put a post together about some time I spent on the Spirit River exploring the wide expanse of flood in the forested shoreline. It was back in July before some of the other outings I have written about. But I forgot. Early senility is a curse.
So here we go!! This one is a photo heavy post because it was so incredible both in terms of experience, but also because I was ‘on’ as a photographer. I slowed down and let my eyes pick out not just landscapes, but details and slices that I love to bits.
But first, this girl.
I almost hit her with the kayak, but she didn’t move. I guess when a snapping turtle gets this big they don’t have too much to worry about. She let me turn and maneuver for a better angle for this shot. No wonder they stink to high heaven out of the water – look at the algae. And the leeches by the neck under the shell. OMG.
But eventually I left her and ventured further into a side channel I’d visited before, but not this section. It was so peaceful, with just birdsong and the breeze. I just had to stop and soak it all in.
It’s super shallow beyond that curve of trees and when I tried going past there I kept getting the boat hung up on branches just under the surface. It was kind of funny and eventually I headed back out the way I’d come.
And instead of going through a bit I knew, I decided to head in the opposite direction and it was just as amazing.
As I moved deeper, I kept having to stop and just absorb the wonderfulness. I know this level of flooding is unnatural on this scale, but I can’t help but love it. The water is so shallow and I have to move carefully and deliberately and that makes me consider my surroundings even more than usual.
I tried playing with some different framing between picking my jaw up off the bottom of my boat.
The light in this one almost made me pass out.
Kidding, but hell, I got REALLY lucky with that shaft of sun lighting up the log. I remember trying to get into position frantically. It’s so different than when I’m on my feet. I have this 12-foot plastic thing that just won’t do what it’s told. But I got it. I might print this one and hang it over my mantel.
Looking over my shoulder to the left was this little view –
And then I looked up.
Someone else was curious, too, but about me. Little red chattered and scolded and eventually came down through the ferns to the base of this tree for about a second and a half. Then it raced up it and yelled at me some more. I got one shot. Lucky again.
Sitting still, I found the details of why this place is so special. With all that is going on in the world, these pockets of refuge are vital to me. My adopted state continuously gives me unexpected natural gifts that sustain me and often bring me to tears. Humans no longer live in nature, but outside it. Maybe with our big brains, thumbs and driving ambition, we never did live within. But sometimes, if you look and listen with an open heart you can see inside.
A little selenium-tone preset for fun. Without having the color, I think more detail and pattern comes out.
No sooner than I got out of one side channel than I found another. This one slower and quieter and covered in duck weed. I saw evidence of recent beaver activity as well.
I got a little lost trying to find the main channel when it came time to paddle back. I thought this way would get me there, but alas (ha!). I had to find another. It’s not like the river is going anywhere – it’s just beyond the back of this image. I always know where it is, but getting there is tricky.
I tried another. Paddling sedately. Dead end. Even as high as the water was, I couldn’t get through here, but I did get this image, so it was worth it.
As I write I’m planning to visit the Spirit again tomorrow. Last year I paddled there at this time and the fall colors were just turning and were so bright. I’m hoping it will be that way again!