Fall Kayaking – The Somo River

For my second trip I went alone. Not for any reason other than I value my solitude and I like to do things at my own pace and whim. This first shot was taken in an inlet with a very narrow entrance that would have daunted my friend. She would have done it, but it would have challenged her. Me? I LOVE finding little openings to see if I can get the kayak into. Especially if I can see a larger expanse on the other side. It’s the lure of the unknown; the secret places where maybe no one else goes.

Hidden realm

It was a relatively warm day and it seemed like a giant outdoor turtle yoga studio with all of them trying to catch the last scraps of sun. If these photos don’t make you grin like a madwoman, you have no sense of wonder and joy anymore and should maybe get that looked at. Seriously.

Precision reptile
Turtle unfurled
A late bask
Turtle waxed

There wasn’t a ton of color yet, but this cinnamon fern was a spectacular show. I spent a while finding the best reflection.

Gets your full attention

Here’s more of that little backchannel in the first photo. We spent a lot of time down tributaries on the first trip that this one went unvisited. It is more secluded because it’s almost completely screened by trees. I felt kind of clandestine because I heard a boat go by on the main channel, but knew the person had no idea of my presence.

A bird is a dot in the sky

After quite a while I decided to head back to the main channel. My goal was to see as much of it as I could before the light failed or I got tired.

A stretch of Somo
Break the pain

And speaking of pain. This next one is going to bring it. I was REALLY torn whether I would photograph it at all. It seemed exploitative; disrespectful somehow. After my initial shock I paddled past it (almost directly under it since the tree leans over the water), focusing on the sandy bank ahead. It really jolted me – I couldn’t figure out what I was seeing for a moment, then it coalesced. A dead bird. With that neck, a heron. At first I thought it was the work of careless anglers and their fishing lines and I was in tears over the horrible death it may have suffered. However, when I got it into Lightroom, I saw that its legs are wedged between branches with no sign of entanglement. Seems that an eagle or raven found the bird and hauled it up there. And there it sat, in all its macabre beauty; reminiscent of the Viking Blood Eagle.

The Dark Angel

But let’s not dwell here. Even though death is a natural process and can’t be avoided by anything on this planet of ours, I’ll move on, like I did on the river with its endless current.

I continued until the water became too difficult to paddle against. Like the Spirit it has a riffle of rocks and rapids that I’d love to get to, but I’m not sure since it’s all private land. I went right by this trailer on my way by upstream. It’s on a sharp bend and is up on this little hill. I’m not sure it’s abandoned since it seems in good repair, but I don’t think you can see it from any road.

Missed it going by

And I kept on drifting back. Soaking in the sights and sounds. The serenity.

Do you know the secret knock?
No running from the past

No doubt I’ll be back. The herons on this river seem to be pretty tolerant of people and so I might spend some time lurking in wait for them to come near. I got pretty close to one on my paddle back, but by the time I was able to shoot it moved off into the bushes and disappeared. It had a sizeable fish though, so at least it had dinner!

9 thoughts on “Fall Kayaking – The Somo River

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  1. Going on a paddle with you is a pleasure! The turtles are so funny and did bring a smile to my face. All the fall colors, lily pads, reflections, and even death – bird and tree – are reminders of the temporality of living and the endless cycle of life.

      1. I think about death a lot. We all die. People we love die, so do our pets. I think it is important to remind ourselves of death to cherish our lives.

      2. And I understand your being torn about the bird – to display it may look crass or shocking – but it is something we should see. Life is not all tra-la-la, and to feel sad about a bird that got caught in an unfortunate way makes you appreciate its fragility and beauty. I still cry over a bird that got killed because we put stick traps out for rats. The bird got caught in it. I couldn’t look, and my husband wrung its neck to put it out of its suffering. I made the choice for the traps, and that is the lesson I learned – I killed a creature that did not deserve to die like that.

      3. Oh I’d cry like crazy, too. Once I bawled over a fawn someone else hit. When I accidentally hurt something it guts me. Natural death though, I can handle that better. I always photograph skulls I find in the woods. And I have a small collection of vertebrae from different animals. A crow wound up dead on my lawn in NH and I left it there until it was decayed enough to not be gross and then I photographed it with frost on the beak and feathers. Here’s the link – https://wickeddarkphotography.com/2013/01/19/corvus-mortis/ A little reminder never hurt anyone.

      4. Thanks for the reply. I cannot imagine a fawn . . . when we were driving through Wyoming, a deer leaped over a hedge and right in front of the car. Whew! Gone before we could brake, but not touched. When I worked in ER we would get car accident victims – they had hit a deer. Everyone was a mess, not just injured, but upset by hurting a deer. Your crow episode is fascinating. We have coyotes in our neighborhood and sometimes you find remnants of their meals. Fascinating and sad and necessary. I’m glad you understand my sorrow over the poor bird – and I appreciated my husband handling it for me. Funny thing is, I could handle all sorts of things in the ER, but hurt animals are something altogether different.

        On a different note, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      5. I know in my head that we have too many deer – I see damage from over-browsing all the time, but the sight of a dead one on the side of the road always gives me a little jab of sadness. Glad you liked the crow. It was weird, but I couldn’t help myself. I nearly kept the skull.

        Happy Thanksgiving & stay safe & happy!

      6. Thanks! And I understand the interest in the skull. When I taught x-ray, I encouraged them to bring in road kill and other things, but to do it in a sanitary way. One girl found a dead coyote by the road – dead – called me and I said yes. He was very fresh, very smelly, but she had him wrapped in a plastic bag and had worn gloves. It was so fun and so interesting to see the bones. It had been hit by a car – broken jaw and snapped neck – hopefully a quick death. But the bones and beauty, despite the sadness, is what we saw. Another girl brought in her dead parakeet, though she cried. We also x-rayed things like calculators and shoes! And we learned from a box of human bones and a real skeleton.

        Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

  2. OOOh I would have loved to be your student! I have two books in my collection that you might drool over – https://www.librarything.com/work/book/4871694 and https://www.librarything.com/work/4325140/book/142711530 – both are about skeletons, bones and how those evolutionary adaptations have shaped function. Fascinating. Not sure if they’re still in print (had to buy the French one used), but both have wonderful photographs and are beautiful as well as educational.

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