Sunday, June 03, 2012

Riding by the lake

Under gray clouds with a cool, damp breeze I rode out the path along Crescent Lake and Lake Wentworth on the way home from work Friday evening. I've really gotten to like the path as a relatively peaceful escape route from town. We'll see how peaceful it stays as summer's crowds thicken.

On this particular evening the weather seemed to discourage a lot of the evening walkers and runners. I passed only a few. Right before the last long section overlooking Lake Wentworth I passed two women on foot who were much more cordial than the pedestrians usually are. Once I had passed them I sprinted up to enjoy the little climb and drop that introduces a short bit of fast, interesting riding. It ends with one of the many rail crossings, where I slowed for that maneuver and to enjoy the lake view on the long, straight causeway.

Far ahead I saw what looked like someone fishing from the shore. People often settle in the gaps in the lakeside vegetation to fish. I ride carefully so I don't get snagged on stray fishing tackle or mow down some small child suddenly crossing the causeway impulsively.

The figure ahead was slouched forward, wearing a brown jacket and a white cap. I couldn't make out precise details because I had decided not to switch the lenses in my glasses from tinted to clear. I could see well enough to avoid serious obstacles even though the clouds made it a little dark. I slowed a bit as I neared the figure in the bushes.

When I was about 75 feet away, the figure spotted me and unfurled about six feet of wingspan as it pulled itself into the air. It was an adult bald eagle. A couple of small birds harried it as it took off. One of them was practically riding on its back.

It all happened too quickly for me to get the camera out. The shot to get would have been that first full stretch of the wings when it was right in front of me.

People who live where bald eagles are common enough to scavenge the town dump (like Alaska) wouldn't be impressed, but the birds are unusual enough around here for it to seem exciting.


Steve A said...

It is posts like this that strengthen my resolve to return home to the Northwest...

cafiend said...

You've got armadillos and stuff to look at down there ;-)

Seriously, I'm all in favor of you returning to the temperate zone.