Friday’s forecast promised sunshine and blue skies--uncommon for November in the Ohio River Valley. Where the usual day is clouded and gray, and each piles up, one upon the last, neither freezing nor warming, until we long for any change— even one that brings with it something white.
Knowing the weekend days would undoubtedly be overrun with revelers of all sorts grabbing what, with each week’s passing more certainly is the last of its kind, I chose to make an early start ahead of the rush—packed a lunch, grabbed binoculars and camera, and for good measure, tucked a can of pepper spray into my pocket.
Remote places hold the best treasures. The winding trail that leads deep into the woods, until all traces of another disappear, is the walk I find most worth the taking. Yet, the lone car left by the side of the road marks my place on the map. And imaginings scare me.
The parking lot was just as it said—unmarked and three tenths of a mile on the right. The small gravel pad tucked several yards off the quiet road backed up to dense woods and what I hoped was the wildlife area in which I intended to spend the day. I tentatively pulled in.
It was only mid-morning, and already I found it filled with vehicles. Rolling slowly past pickup after pickup, some with large, empty metal cages stacked in the back, and their drivers nowhere in sight, I found three men gathered behind the last, sipping from the silver tops of their thermoses a steamy, hand-warming beverage. They wore outfits of all sorts. But, all were layered for warmth and all were trimmed with the color of the season, blaze orange.
(this story continues here)