Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A visit from the Red Admiral...

I had a great paddle on the upper stretch of the Sugar River last Friday with my friend Doug. I took a half-day off work and we ran about a five-mile stretch of this lovely little stream. Water was up and clear, and the weather was perfect. Several little breezes would periodically kick up and fill the air with the scents of wildflowers, wild roses, and an occasional barnyard smell that kept things interesting. There was a cacophony of birdsong, mostly birds I did not recognize...but it was wonderful nonetheless.

There were two interesting obstructions -- a tree that allowed us to practice our limbo skills (about six inches above the gunwales by my estimation), and a completely down cottonwood that required a short portage. While dragging my boat through the grass, a Red Admiral landed on my shorts and stayed there for a good minute or two.

There were hundreds of American Rubyspot damselflies; we must have been in the middle of a hatch. Lovely things. I couldn't get any pictures of them, so you'll just have to look here. A great website for butterflies as well as odonates.

One of the best character traits of my friend Doug is that he can paddle as slowly as I can. This guy knows how to make a river last a good long time. That, and he doesn't talk much. He's the embodiment of the famous quotation from Plato: "A wise man speaks because he has something to say. A foolish man speaks because he has to say something."

Remember...last one off the water wins...

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