May 25, 2011
Misty and green
The mountains we stayed in last week aren’t the northern mountains that I’m familiar with. We drove south to get to these mountains, really an eroded plateau, that lie just above City Like No Other. The reservoirs we kept seeing supply the city with drinking water.
It’s been a wet spring, and on every hike we took, we saw water rushing across rocks and crashing down cliffs. The tumbling water provided a backdrop to the intimate conversations I kept having, first with one friend and then another. On Saturday’s hike, we walked into a damp, green world. Brilliant mosses glowed from rocks and river banks. Lush green foliage crowded the paths.
Two of the women in the group are avid bird watchers. Binoculars around their necks, they’d stop in mid-conversation any time a bird twittered, sang, or flew from a branch. We teased them about being bird nerds, but their enthusiasm was contagious. Soon we were all crowding for a turn at the binoculars to see a scarlet tanager, whose bright colour was startling amongst all the green.
The best birdwatching, though, was the bald eagle’s nest. First we saw a baby eagle, sitting upright, just looking around. Then we spotted the mother eagle, perched high in the branches of the tree. “Wait, look!” Signing Woman said. “There are TWO babies.” Yep, we watched as another baby’s head appeared over the edge of the nest.
Moments later, the father eagle flew in with a fish, still wriggling. He landed in the nest and began ripping the fish apart, feeding bits to the babies, who ate eagerly while the mother eagle flew off to find more food. We all watched fascinated, until the fish was gone, and it was time for us to go back to camp for our own lunch.
Posted by jo(e)