Gail, the crayfish and the new binoculars.
Gail, the crayfish and the new binoculars. Disregard time/date stamp on photo (camera needs to be re-set).
Appalachian Trail along Brown Mountain Creek from U.S. 60 out and back. 5.6 miles.
This short section has long been a favorite of The Day Hiker, for its creekside walk, its freedmen settlement history and above all for the short-walk lunch spot at a small falls/pool area just 2.8 miles in, where she has made a habit of watching the crayfish come out from under the rocks for bits of her lunch.
The occasion to do this hike on this day was secreted away in my pack. Ol' pal and forever Blue Ridge Country columnist/contributor Elizabeth Hunter had raved recently about the new pair of binoculars she'd gotten – the Pentax Papilio – and their range that begins at 18 inches; perfect for a wildflower/wild crayfish watcher such as Gail, Elizabeth recommended.
And so I was looking extra-forward to lunch to bust them out.
But, alas, along as she is most hikes these days, and as water-happy as a fish, was puppy Cookie, who relentlessly splashed and cavorted in the stream before us, sending any and all wildlife for cover, muddying the clear stream and making me think about splashes of giardia-carrying water onto my salad.
So we endured a few minutes of stand-off, The Day Hiker, The Big Splasher and me, until things (well, the dawg) calmed and I could indeed present the binox.
At which point the food-chasin' crayfish came into wonderfully close focus and all was well at the little spot on Brown Mountain Creek.
August 8, 2009