Burnside Photographic "The question is not what you look at, but what you see." – Henry David Thoreau

March 29, 2012

Early Spring Walk in the Woods

Forsythia

Sitting on my front porch watching a thunderstorm approach, I never imagined that the day would turn out nice.  Having finished the daily puzzles, I decided to pay the taxes and go to my favorite lunch spot (Something Special, in Kingston).  By the time I returned home, it was a wonderful warm day with nice light, so off I went into the woods.

I had walked perhaps a half mile and was headed up a gradual slope when I noticed a black object off to my left – perhaps a rock or stump.  I looked at it for a moment, trying to decide whether it was worth exploring.  Then I noticed… it moved!  I was looking at a bear, and a rather large one.  I have been walking these woods for the better part of half a century, and I have seen plenty of deer, turkeys, a few foxes and snakes, but never a bear.  He (she?) was looking at me, and I had a moment of terror.  I had no weapon, save my camera, and for a moment I considered the decision of whether I would swing the camera at the bear to defend myself or take its picture.  Before I decided, rationality set in and I reasoned that conditions were in my favor.  I was not walking toward the bear (which signifies aggression), nor away (which signifies fear), but rather obliquely away from it.  So on I went, whistling Waltzing Matilda to signal to the bear that I was neither afraid, nor interested in him (her?).  As I looked back over my shoulder, it seemed to have worked, as the bear was now not looking at me but had returned to whatever it was doing before I had intruded. It was probably contemplating that a dude that was whistling Waltzing Matilda and walking rather casually away from him (her?) was not a threat (or a meal).  As I reached the top of the crest, the bear no longer in sight, I turned left and, after walking perhaps a hundred yards, I happened to look down the steep bank which I had climbed a ways back.  There was the bear, but no – there were two  of them.  They did not appear to be aware of my observation, so I took a few pictures, albeit at a great distance – perhaps a hundred yards.

The good news is that I have proof of this seemingly tall tale (see pics 6 & 7).  The bad news is that I am just not cut out to be a wildlife photographer.  I do flora not fauna.  Still, I had a certain pleasant feeling that, for at least a short time, man and bear shared the same piece of woods and tacitly agreed to leave each other to their pleasures.

Rounding a bend, I had the you-know-what scared out of me by a rather large doe which, sensing my presence before I was aware of it, snorted loudly and bounded out of the bushes, across the trail about ten yards in front of me and disappeared into the forest.

The rest of the walk passed peacefully.

March 25, 2012

We Got Trees

Filed under: Awareness,Nature,Northeastern Pennsylvania,Photography,Places,Seeing,Woods — Tags: , , , , — Frank Burnside @ 11:27 am

Roadside Rest?

Just south of the border between Luzerne and Carbon Counties, there’s a vast area that grows trees.  I mean REALLY grows trees!  You drive right through it on Lehigh Gorge Drive.  We were there a couple of years ago, but there are many, many more trees now.

This is beautiful country, down here in the mountains, and there are some strange sights to see.  So pull up a chair and enjoy!

ps: The panorama shots benefit from full screen viewing – just poke that little icon in the lower right corner next to “Share.”

March 21, 2012

Mountain Loop Trail

Mountain Loop Trail

Mountain Loop Trail is 3.0 miles long and is billed as the “Most Difficult” trail in the park.  It’s not so bad, really.  There’s no actual climbing involved, unless you consider walking uphill as climbing. The worst you could say about it is that it’s two miles up and one mile down.  (That’s a joke.)  It lacks the attraction of the lower trails – primarily Nescopeck Creek, but you get a nice view through the bare trees to the ridge of Mount Yeager.  At the high point, the trail is less than 2,000 feet from one of the high point of Nescopeck Mountain, which is a little frustrating.  So near and yet so far.  I was tempted to bushwhack through State Game Land #157 to the top, but it was getting a little late and I didn’t know what I’d encounter on the way, so I decided to leave that for another day.

The last shot in this show is of a tick which I brought home with me.  This time of year, it’s always advisable to check for ticks upon returning home, and I’m sure glad I did.  I brushed him off, but instead of squashing him, I captured him and took his portrait as a warning.  This little guy is about 3/16″ from nose to tail, but he (she?) could do a lot of damage if left alone to bury itself in a human or a doggie.  So be forewarned.  That’s about my peak in wildlife photography.

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