Monday, November 9, 2009

One of the Guys

Spring Valley Wildlife Area

We are wrapping up a stretch of those rare autumn days—those seemingly more wonderful than the fleeting days of summer. For they visit us after the frost has fallen, when summer has packed her bags and moved on.

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)

Spring Valley Lake,
Waynesville, Ohio

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5 comments:

NCmountainwoman said...

Well, you have certainly grabbed my attention. The mention of the lone car by the road and the pepper spray is scary. But you are so right...it is the least traveled area that brings the best reward. That said, after some senseless murders (well, aren't they all senseless?) in our National Forest, I never venture there alone...even in well-traveled areas.

I know this adventure will have a good ending and that you are safe. You ARE safe, aren't you?

cestoady said...

If one was to avoid all dangers, real or possible,than life would be dull and in truth -- life -less !! Yes, there are dangers,but the excitement of living, is just that -- going out and doing things, exploring,learning,taking pictures -- and writing about it.

Last week I saw an ermine stalking a chipmunk --- something I would never have seen from the comfort of my rocking chair in the safety of my living room.

scienceguy288 said...

It was one of those rare fall days when one can go out in a tee shirt. That is already over, so I am glad we both took advantage of it.

RuthieJ said...

Be careful Nina! Woods full of men dressed in orange and carrying firearms are a dangerous place this time of year -- and not just for deer!
Surprisingly enough last weekend's deer opener in Minnesota resulted in only 1 person shooting himself dead with his own rifle and a young man shot accidentally in the leg by another member of his 12-person hunting party.

Heather said...

Nina, somehow I knew within the first 5 words of this post that "the guys" you speak of in the title were hunters. I hope you have a blaze orange vest, hat, or shirt of your own to wear when you go out this time of year. I haven't worn mine yet, but if I go out this weekend into the woods, I probably will. Aside from the dangers of hunting, I know those "imaginings" you speak of, and I hate that we even have to think that way. Sometimes the worry of being by myself in remote-ish areas keeps me home, but other times I purposely don't think about it, b/c I know I will be missing out if I let that fear keep me at home. I look forward to the continuation of your story!