Let me share a visual image of an experience I had on one hot July day last summer.
Not long after putting-in on the Crow River, near Hanover, I got hung-up in the rocks of some too-shallow rapids. Seeing any moment on the river as a privilege this year, the problem did not frustrate me. Instead of hurrying to climb out of the boat and move on, I just sat in my kayak, lodged in the rocks, and soaked-up the surroundings for a moment.
From that vantage point, I noticed a small doe, perhaps 150 to 200 yards downstream. It occurred to me that the breeze was coming from her direction, covering my scent… and the noise of the rapids was covering the sound I may have made paddling toward her. So, I dismantled my paddle and placed it in the boat… and then used my hands to “walk” the kayak out of my predicament on the rapids. Once loose, I ducked down a bit, took out my camera, and started shooting photos with one hand, while using my other hand to “rudder” toward the deer.
With this quiet approach, she allowed me to get within ten to twelve feet of her; close enough to note that she had been injured… probably by an automobile, as I could make out the grill marks on her rib cage. She did not dart away, but continued cooling herself in the river, until peaceably stepping up to the shoreline and into the woods. (Click on the photo above to enlarge, and then hit your “back” button to return.)
Having learned of a photo contest sponsored by the Joint Powers board of the Crow River Organization of Water (C.R.O.W.), I submitted the picture (along with some others)... and it won in the wildlife category. See the other winners by visiting the CrowRiver.org web site; the other categories include recreation, scenery/landscape, fishing, and unusual finds.
I’d like to salute Diane Saunder and the whole Crow River watershed organization for this really good example of conservation outreach. A simple photo contest? Perhaps. But it’s another way of getting more people to notice—and share—some great sights from a river that many people might otherwise take for granted.
© 2010 Mike Anderson, St. Michael, MN. All rights reserved.