Autumn Fireworks

The Sunday before last, I was so excited about the leaves changing that we had to take a kayak run down the Platte River.  The last time we were over that way for such purpose, the water was so crowded that we left.  I felt like an uppity local, like one of those people who talk about how tourists ruin all your favorite places.  But though I live here, I’m still a tourist, as evidenced by the camera I carry around constantly.  Also, I am fully aware that tourists and rich people are the only real source of dollars up here.  So, instead of ranting, we just left and decided we’d come back when the tourists went home.  Also, we waited for the salmon and fall color.

Don't mind the water spot...fall is still peeking through!

This trip was one of our most relaxed trips, and was actually the first time Tony and I made the trip without accompaniment.  We were alone for the most part, save the intrepid birds and sexed-up salmon.  As we floated downstream, we watched this heron pluck its meal right out of the water, which was very cool.  We also got to watch a sea gull rip apart a dead salmon and make off with bits of its skin.  Alas, I did not take a picture of that.

About halfway through the trip is a fish weir.  Until we portaged around it, I had been disappointed in the small number (zero) of big fish we saw.  Last time we canoed here with Meg I saw several large guys.  I was beginning to think our attempts to witness the fall salmon runs were a bust.  But, as soon as we got back in the water, we were surrounded with large, numerous, active salmon.  Dozens of them zoomed between us like they were in Road Atlanta (which we did NOT go to this weekend).  We chased a school of 30-40 downstream, or maybe they used us for cover.  They weren’t talkative, so I didn’t find out which.  Regardless, it was a singular experience, and one I’d like to repeat.

Salmon lined up at the fish weir

Up close and edited for contrast

After loading up the kayaks, it was about 6:00, so we decided to grab some food at a little place in Empire and wait on the earth to turn its horizons more easterly.  We drove the deserted dune drive and got to the huge west overlook in time to wander around a bit and inspect all the work they’ve done.  I didn’t photograph it, but some crazy person drove a bobcat-like machine all over the sand dune, which now has signs on it warning those who venture down that if they don’t make it back on their own, they will face a fine.  Anyway, if you went there this summer, it’s a different landscape, but still a great place from which to marvel our star and moon:

No color editing, I swear! The setting sun provided rosey lighting on the dune sand, while the moon peeks through above.

Moonrise and the sun's last light highlighting the tips of some dune grass

It's 450 feet to the bottom. I, for one, would NOT drive on that dune! But I may climb it one day...

Speaking of our most obvious astronomical neighbors, here are a few more images, but from a different day:

What I'm calling a sunbow from an overlook on Old Mission Peninsula

The moon looking larger than life on the same date as the sunbow

Before we went to Atlanta (sorry if you wanted to see us and missed us!), we made a run up to a little fruit stand on the Old Mission Peninsula.  There are myriad places from which to get tasty apples and other goodies, but we prefer this place, so there we went.  After talking to the fabulous little old lady proprietress, we left with our peck of honeycrisp apples (the BEST apples in the world…if Jeff ever has any, he will confirm, I have no doubt!) and enjoyed the show on the way home.  If you enlarge the “sunbow” picture, you can see a hint of the visible spectrum on the left side.  With my super-special sunglasses (read: polarized), I could actually see color all around the sun, but this picture shows some of the awesomeness, anyway.  And, who doesn’t love it when the moon looks like that?

And where are the autumn fireworks that the title promised?  In an upcoming blog, because I haven’t taken the pictures yet.  But I will, because in the time that we were gone (Thursday – Tuesday), the trees exploded in fall color, and I am a sucker for a pretty picture, or 20 🙂

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