Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Unexpected Visitors (Another in an Irregular Series of Very Long Stories), Part One: Fairly Aggressive Birds

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. As I write this, it is Sunday, July 24. Depending on whether or not I can cadge some connectivity in the next several days, this may not be posted until next Monday or Tuesday. But, I have not forsaken you.

On Saturday last, Monkey and I headed west on our now-annual pilgrimage to the Rockies. Our first full day (Sunday) was spent in Boulder. Monkey was meeting some friends she knew in the area, and The Ambassadors and I wandered around the Pearl District, shopping, having lunch, and being called “home dwellers” by one of the myriad homeless ragamuffins that sometimes makes me think that Boulder is the slightly older, American version of Oliver Twist. The highlight of the trip to Boulder, for me, was my now-annual visit to the Boulder Bookstore. I picked up a copy of The Inner Life of Numbers, Oryx and Crake, Chasing the White Dog, and a couple of other titles that caught my eye. Monkey might think I have a compulsion when it comes to buying books from independent bookstores…she’s right.

But not only did we visit with friends while in Colorado, but we were visited frequently, and unexpectedly, on several occasions.

Our first hike of the week was a reprise of a hike that we were forced to abandon two years ago due to inclement weather. If you recall, a hike to Finch Lake was curtailed by persistent rain and hail that drenched us to the bone. This year’s hike was much drier.

After a breakfast of Meadow Mountain eggs and sausage, we trucked up to the Allenspark Trailhead, where we started our nine mile round trip to Finch. Over all, the hike is not terribly interesting. There are a few moments along a ridge, where the once burned-over forest is open enough to provide some pretty views of neighboring peaks, but the hike saves its treasure until the end, really.

We arrived at Finch Lake just in time to enjoy a traditional PB and J lunch by the rocky and grassy shore. The air danced with freshly hatched mayflies, the water teemed with water striders and diving bugs. I sat on a boulder and gazed into the shallows of the lake, on each side of me, The Ambassadors enjoyed their sandwiches. In the periphery of my vision, I saw a flash. Behind me, Monkey let out a muffled, “Ah!” and jumped up from her perch. I turned around to see a gray flash flutter up into the trees.

“What happened,” an Ambassador asked.

“That bird just tried to take my apple!”

A gray jay had swooped from its perch and tried to pilfer Monkey’s lunchtime desert. And so, we had the first of several unexpected visitors. Lucky for Monkey, she was unscathed by the sortie, but she was clearly shaken, and no wonder, since the gray jay was still waiting in the trees above her to make another attack. However, after a few minutes, the bird began moving off, leaving Monkey to finish her apple in relative peace.

After twenty tense minutes, in which Monkey ate her apple with one eye on the trees, we hitched our packs back up and headed down to the trail head. The sky stayed dry. We made it back to the trail head in good time, headed back to the Brown Cabin, and began discussions to decide our next day’s hike.

(Posted from the Wicomico County Public Library. Odds of another post before Sunday: slim.)


La Fashionista said...

Hooray for the Wicomico County Public Library giving you - and thus all of us - the hook up. That Gray Jay certainly lived up to its Camp Robber nickname, right?

Monkey @ Life Refocused said...

That bird was s-c-a-r-y.

The Long Haul Project said...

Love the ongoing references to Monkey... this could prove very confusing for new readers!