Friday, August 08, 2008

An Accounting

I was responding to comments on my Adventure post and I realized I had more to say. I still commented so you can go read that. I'm not saying the same thing here.

First off. I don't know how she does it since she lives at least 800 miles away and we only email occasionally, but Zilla seems to know the rest of the story without me writing it. Yes, we were out searching for alligators for my son to photograph. We also had on our list a copperhead and a water moccasin, two snakes he hasn't been able to capture on our property. We saw none of the above. Dragging a kayak over downed trees is a bit noisy for snake observation. Plus, we left the river before we got to true alligator territory.

Our plan was to travel through alligator territory, but we didn't want to spend the night with alligators and the first part of the journey took way too long for us to make it to the next area with car access. We were lucky that the river was so clogged because the storms predicted for today happened yesterday afternoon. You don't want to be on the river when storms are raging and all streams are running your way. We'll go back next week.

The Accounting

River miles navigated: 4
Trees across the river that required lifting the kayak over and across: 30
Areas dammed by beavers that required lifting the kayak over and across: 3
Time on the water: 5 hours
Wildlife seen: Turtles sunning on logs, more water bugs than can be imagined, a few snakes (not the ones we were seeking), frogs, a beaver slide, dragonflies, yellow flies, thrashers, a kingfisher, and a turkey, but no ivory-billed woodpecker.
Items lost in the river: Sunglasses, two water bottles, a can of dolphin-safe, oil packed tuna which was going to be lunch, a Tab, the one my sister gave me for my birthday(I had already drunk the one my husband gave me.)
Number of times we tipped the kayak: 1
Items found: My son's respect and admiration, muscles I forgot I owned, my sense of my old self, a whole lot of laughs, some clothes that will never be the same unless my mother has mercy and works her magic.


ZILLA said...

This is fabulous.

I highly recommend a long, warm soak in Masada Joint & Muscle Formula: thyme, juniper berries, & wintergreen-infused dead sea salts. It comes with a little muslin drawstring sack, so the herbs & berries won't clog your drain.

I'm not psychic, but I do pay attention. I know you to be purpose-driven, rather than the type to drift down a river on an inner-tube with a six-pack clipped to your stringer. I only guessed K would most likely be in search of the harder to find subjects for his photo-documentation. It's not a far leap from a wildlife photographer who's interested in water moccasins & copperheads to also be interested in alligators.

I assumed, incorrectly, that you'd have to travel fairly well south (like, almost to Louisiana!) to reach alligator territory. Knowing you've been up to your elbows in produce preservation, and that you paddled and portaged a 4-mile stretch, I guessed you probably didn't see any alligators.

I had no idea until five minutes ago that alligators can be found closer to your home turf:

They are quite plentiful on the Pearl River on the upper end of the Ross Barnette Reservoir which is northeast of Jackson, Mississippi.

This is from a May 2006 post on Tony Payne's blog.

I'll try not to fear for your chickens, although I'm sure if a stray gator wandered onto the farm, the Yellow Dog would sound the alarm in plenty of time for K to grab his camera :-)

Wisteria said...

Oh, yes. We have gators in Central Mississippi. In fact, my dad used to have a pet gator (as pet as a gator can get) in his pond until someone incorrectly thought he wanted it dead because it was eating his fish and shot it. Those pictures would have been easy.

He got alligators from the Wildlife Commission because they are the natural predator of beavers. There was a program to re-establish alligators to help with the over-zealous beaver population. One of the gators moved from his swamp to the pond.

Gators have now become so populous that there is a limited hunting season. Until a few years ago they were a protected species because they had been hunted to near demise by the over-zealous predator fearing people who have caused the demise of grizzley bears and wolves and near demise of black bears in Mississippi. Faulkner would never have been able to have the experiences to write "The Bear" if he lived in Mississippi now.

We probably won't travel that section of the river because of all the motorized boats that frequent it. I am more scared of demise by speeding boater than demise by gator.

Want to come wrestle a gator?

Kate in NJ said...

OK, Gators freak me out.
P finds them scary and yet fascinating. She is dying to vacation in Louisiana to see some.."where they really live with their families".
I don't think I'd want to kill one.
I won't kill the stupid ground hogs either..I just keep trying to outsmart them. ;-)