Visit with Sherry at Bent Tree

August 13-14, 2009

On August 13, we drove to Bent Tree to spend the night and visit with Sherry. We arrived after 10:30 PM and went straight down to the dam on Lake Tamarack where Sherry was set up with supper and chairs, blankets, etc. for us to watch the Perseid meteor shower. We saw quite a few meteors and enjoyed the peaceful setting by the lake as the moon rose. We went to the house about 1:30 AM.

We had lunch at the 19th Hole and then drove down to the lake to try out Sherry's new kayak. We are always on the lookout for wildlife, and saw two wild turkeys on Chestnut Cove Trail and this doe on the road down to the the 19th Hole.

We put the new kayak in the water and found it to be very nice - smooth and stable. Sherry gave it a trial run and then coaxed Brenda into it for a round. The lake was beautiful and smooth.

After a brief diversion to chase a nice yellow swallowtail, Rod took the kayak across the lake. It was very peaceful.

The feel is definitely different from a canoe, but the kayak moves smoothly and is more stable than I expected.

Given the stability of the kayak, I decided to go out again and risk taking the camera. You get views from the lake that you get nowhere on land. This is a view of the houses up on the hill to the left of the dam as you approach it on the lake.

This is a new view of the dam for me, having never seen it from the lake before. I liked seeing the location of the house at the end of the dam that we have passed many times on the road. Notice that the water is getting a bit rough with the approaching thundershower, whereas it was very smooth 30 minutes ago.

This was another new view for me, the houses up on the hill at the end of the lake from out in the middle of the lake. The dark clouds gather, but there is bright sun from behind to illuminate the trees. That sun from the back makes for rainbow conditions, as shown below.

The house at the base of the tower at the top of Big Stump Mountain is a familiar place to us since we stop the boys there on our RA hikes to see the lake from the top. Our house is buried in the trees near the left bottom of the picture, but is probably a bit further down.

Sherry is trying out her new kayak, and we had the privilege of seeing a full rainbow that afternoon over Lake Tamarack. We had thought the storm was coming right at us, but it moved off to the right, giving the extended rainshower that produced the rainbow.

As Sherry headed across the lake, we continued to enjoy the rainbow. You can see the strong light on the shoreline trees that shows that the sun behind us is strong, and the shower is moving off to the right to give a strong rainbow to Sherry's right. The wind had died down on the lake as the shower moved away from us.

I kept shooting to try to get the rainbow at it's most intense. I didn't have a polarizer with me which would have enhanced it. I did crank up the saturation a bit in Photoshop, but this is about what we saw with the eye. There is evidence of some supernumerary arcs in the faint green band below the violet.

As we headed up the hill from the dam, we met a guy on a golf cart who told us that there was a bear in the yard of the house ahead. We pulled up to the house, and sure enough, this sizable black bear was just nonchalantly walking across the front yard.

As we watched him, he turned and walked in the open garage door where we could see children's toys and pet feeding bowls, which we presumed was what he was looking for.

Things got a lot more interesting as the bear decided to amble out of the garage at the same time the family cat came to investigate! Too bad I didn't get a sharp shot, but the position of the cat's body and its open mouth do tell the tale. Bobby got a big kick out of this sequence when they visited, and suggested that I try to find some sound to put with that picture. Here's a shot at that sound.

The bear gave no indication of having even seen the cat, and walked casually across the front yard, in front of the steps to the front door, and off to investigate the play set in the yard.

Totally unspooked by our presence, the bear continued on around and went up on the back porch of the house. We turned around and came back to see if he emerged on the other side, and about that time a Mom with two young children came out the front door. We told them what we had seen, and they went back inside.

We saw the bear move through the woods behind the house, and the road curved in that direction, so we drove to intercept him.

Still seemingly unconcerned about our presence, the bear continued to walk toward the road as we stopped about 30 feet back.

He calmly walked across the road in front of us and continued on down the steep hillside into the woods.

At our last view of the bear, it was moving slowly through the woods, poking and sniffing at things like I would expect a bear to do in the wild. But we had seen him move with the same casualness into an open carport door to check out the cat bowl, so its a pretty good bet that he will try it again.

As if for a benediction on a beautiful day, our final blessing as we drove out of Bent Tree was the view of this beautiful doe standing in an almost magical setting in the woods. We did indeed feel very blessed.

Visit with Suzanne and Bobby

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