The big blue truck slowly climbs the county route up Panther Mountain. Lose gravel kicks out from under the tires as I gently feather the throttle up the steep curvy incline. In a few spots the overgrown branches sweep the fenders. But it’s not a problem. Instead I see it as the welcoming embrace of nature. The county has actually done a little work to the road over the summer. The new gravel filled in the ruts and open ditches that challenged even the big 4 wheel drive. I rounded the hairpin turn about 3/4 of the way to the top when a piece of road sprung to life and lifted itself vertically to the top of the embankment. It only took me a moment to realize that it was a grouse. The bird’s perfect camouflage quickly concealed its new position in a Rhododendron thicket. I hoped for a shot of the bird but dark underbrush against the highlight of sun was more than the sensor could deal with. My human eyes could see it as a shadow peaking out and bobbing it’s head from side to side in an effort to figure out what was moving inside the parked truck but it was a complete mystery to the lens of my camera. I decided to let him get away from me rather than attempting to track him to a point where I might force the shot and once more a few loose gravels are expelled as my ascent resumes. Finally I arrived at the gas well road. It’s wide enough to allow me park while being out of way of anyone making their way to the spot where the rafters and Kayakers go to launch in swollen Gauley River. I loaded up the bird song file in my tablet and sat still with the windows down hoping to draw in a curious forest resident such the big woodpecker I saw here a few days ago. The birds were a no show but I did manage to find a few interesting subjects to post at a later date. So I entered the main pass through the mountain again and made my way to a second wide spot above the valley. The view from the road is amazing.
With any luck I’ll be able to reach this spot when Fall Colors peak in a few weeks.
Stepping out of cab will my long lens I was able to spot a few Kayaks already on the river and playing with the rapids.
The Kayaks bob and dodge through the current for a while and then continue the trip downstream.
And I too need to continue my journey to the next phase in order to get a few more photos. Until tomorrow night I wish you all a blessed day.
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