Saturday, September 29, 2007

A working weekend

The picture above will likely be the cover of the next issue of the Rangeley Highlander. It was taken on a river about 12 miles out of town, some 70 or 80 miles into a Saturday in which I just drove around looking for what in our business are called "grab shots" -- random photos you can use to show the weather or things people were up to on a particular day. For those who want to follow along, though the photos are in conceptual rather than chronological or geographic order, I went up through Kingfield on Route 27 to Stratton, then over on Route 16 to Rangeley and back home on Route 4, a total of about 130 miles or so.

I'll be working in the office tomorrow -- interspersed with some time to walk dogs and a break to catch a football game. But today was more of the opposite -- driving around enjoying the weather broken up by a few moments of taking pictures for work. It averages out in the end.

Moose are more dangerous at night because, while deer are light brown, moose are black and people really don't see them in time. The fact that they are also considerably larger than deer means that hitting them is no joke and there are a few fatalities each year among people who run into one, or (as often) who run into someone who had just run into one. People don't hit them as often during the day, though it does happen.

However, I didn't even see one, much less run into one today. Having a camera at the ready is probably a jinx.

Here are the dogs at the Wire Bridge, which was built in 1866 and is a local tourist attraction, though it's a bit off the main highway, on a piece of road that isn't necessary unless you actually live on it or want to go see the Wire Bridge. But there were a few of us who wanted to do just that, though not enough to get in each other's way.

Speaking of which, I am quite pleased at the way Mainers become rapturous over this time of year -- no matter how many years they've been here, they seem just as pleased to see the leaves turning as any one "from away" and they go to see the leaves just as enthusiastically as the tourists.

I blogged a photo of this stretch of the Carrabassett River a few weeks ago. It hasn't become any less attractive with the loss of chorophyll along its banks.

This is part of a set of falls just south of Rangeley called "Small's Falls" that are just off the road. There is a picnic area, trails, a few interpretative signs, etc., and it's quite popular. There were probably a dozen cars there, and people of every age.

Walking up to the falls, I came across this "stairway" of exposed roots. With all my clambering down river banks and so forth, it was about the best footing I had all day. Not sure it's good for the trees, but they've been around for years, so I suppose it isn't too bad for them, either.

I was struck by the "grooves" in the rocks towards the top of the falls. You can see the texture, and I assume this is some kind of an uplift, so that the layers are facing up rather than laying horizontally, and that there is enough variation in the minerals of the various layers that some are worn down by the water more rapidly than others. To give a sense of scale, while I didn't bother to count the needles in each bundle, these are either red or white pine needles and so about three inches long. Note also the curve and smoothly worn edge where the water runs next to the rock. Just beyond the edge, where you see the water disappear, is a fall of 30 feet or so.

Two sisters and the daughter of one of them were taking their own picture by the edge of the falls. The dark-haired sister had just set the timer and run back -- you can possibly make out their camera delicately perched in a tiny finger-thickness sapling -- quite ingenious. This is probably going to run on the front page of the Franklin Journal Tuesday, unless Sheila comes in tomorrow with something brilliant. After I took this, I went down and took a couple of shots of them with their camera, too. However, since the little girl was refusing to look straight at the scary man, the one they took with the tree stuck up in the sapling may be the best anyway.

Finally, here is something you may never have seen before, but how on earth can you do without it now? It's a 1952 Bombardier ... well, it's not a Ski-doo, but that's the company. They invented snowmobiles but wouldn't market the first of the small runabouts for another seven years. I would suspect this particular one transported skiers and other tourists, but they were used in Quebec for more mundane things like taking kids to school -- the back has two built-in facing benches, the front is a bench seat like a bus.

This was at a place that restores snowmobiles, and the first of the snowmobiles beyond this big one is more like what I was used to see running around the woods when I was a kid. But I want this one. It's only $7,500 and, according to the sign, "runs good." It even comes with an extra set of skis.

But that's for the next season. I'm going to enjoy autumn while it lasts.


Brian Fies said...

Nice, Mike. Thanks.

If you bought that snow-mobile-bus, I would come to Maine in the winter just so you could give me a ride.

Sherwood Harrington said...

What a great post, Mike. I add my thanks to Brian's.

ronnie said...

Nice, Mike! Wonderful photos as usual.

Your comment about never taking the fall colour change for granted was interesting. It's the same here of course. I suppose it's a testament to the spectacle that no matter how long you live here, everybody still takes long drives and walks in the woods in the autumn.

Ironically, the colours here don't seem to be changing as fast as yours... still predominantly green with spots of yellow or red. I suppose a dozen factors beyond latitude decide when these things happen. We've enjoyed an indian summer, with temperatures in the high 20's last week (that's around 80F).

Still, you can feel it in the air: it's coming!