I woke up today to a nice temperature drop. It was a little chilly this morning. I slept pretty well, despite the 3 trains that passed in the night with their horns blaring. I packed up camp and talked with Barbara before I left. I took off in a heavy chop on the water. I made the corner and was back into a current. I was off to Wabasha. My destination was the National Eagle Center. I moved at a quick rate and was there within a half hour. I have been looking forward to this part of the trip.
I pulled around their dock and parked up on some small rocks. I was greeted by Rolf, the Executive Director, and Eileen, the Marketing Director. They spotted me from their balcony. They were extremely friendly and welcomed me to Wabasha. I entered the National Eagle Center with my eyes and ears open. I could hear some eagles sceaching (calling) as I walked in the doors. Rolf and Eileen began to show me around a bit. I was just in time for their next class and feeding. The class was taught by a young intern. I was getting filled up with knowledge (which will be at the end of this post).
I hung out at the NEC and around town for the afternoon. I walked up to the Silver Star Saloon for lunch. It was a good place that actually had saddles for some of their bar seats. It had a good feel as I checked out a soccer match while eating the John Wayne burger. I walked back to the NEC. I had such an appreciation for what they do. I walked into a room where they had 4 bald and 1 golden eagle. I sat down with mybcamera and started photographing the eagles up close. It Is such a treat to be able to do that. I spoke with Rolf some more and then headed up to the offices to do some web updates. I chatted with the staff while working and had some good laughs. It was getting around 4:00 and I figured I should knock out a few more miles for the day. I said my see you laters and took off in the rain.
The current was strong and I made it to the next town of Alma pretty quickly. I approached their Lock and Dam to get through. The dam gates are all wide open right now. There is a temptation to just go through them, but it is not worth the fines or trouble. That, and I still have a long journey ahead of me. There was a light rain/mist going on most of the day. I was the only craft on the water and I was enjoying that. I took to shoot around this island. I saw a pontoon the had a leak in the starboard side. I met Mike and Andrew who were out assessing what they were going to do with it. It was nice to chat with them and then I pushed on. I photographer this area of houses known as the “Village”. They were houses built on stilts on the river. Due to the flood, they were all empty, but still above the water. I photographed them to further document this journey. My mindset with my photography has been evolving on this trip. I know I may be one of the only ones capturing these images and the floods effects. That is becoming more important to me as a story teller.
I found a few ideal camp locations on the small beaches. There are some high islands where camping would be fun. I dedided to keep going until I saw these teal awnings around and in a cove. There were 6 large hours boats docked there. I decided to check it out. I met one family having a reunion with 2 boats. I introduced myself to them after I landed. They were relaxing by a campfire where they offered me a smores. It was the best smores I have ever eaten (on this trip). I went over and talked with the other family. The invited me onto their boat to talk. The were finishing up some home made chicken enchiladas. They asked me if I would like some. That was a easy answer. They were filling and good. The grandma, who had ink on her wrist, heated them up for me. We had some good conversations about traveling, scuba diving, and places to stay. This Is part of the reason why I love traveling. When you maat fellow travelers and can share stories together, it just makes for a good life. I excused myself as it was dark and I still needed to set up my tent. I did that and then I say another opportunity. I went over to the first family and asked to photograph them while they were all sitting around the campfire. They were cool with it and I managed to get a few impressive shots. One of the famoly members were actually from Boulder, CO. I chatted with them before turning in. Today was another good day.
EAGLES: Did you know know:
– each eagles talons can excert 400lbs of pressure per square inch. That is 8 talons that will ensure that once the prey is caught, it will not have a chance.
– an average bald eagle weighs 10lbs
– they are poor fisherman. They only succeed 4 of 10 attempts. They are much better at scavaging or stealing food from Osprey that hit 8 of 10 times.
– they can not only see their prey from up to 3 miles away, but they can see their heartbeats as they are moving.
– their hearing is about as good as humans. That is not so good in the animal kingdom.
– the white feathers of a bald eagle take 4 to 5 years to develop.