Pitter Patter

So, off I go for a northern adventure. It is a race against time as it is already late October and snow will soon cover the uplands. You know how it goes. I will get stuck in some lonesome canyon. The snow covers the truck and I am found next Spring.

Things do not start well. I recharge the camera’s battery. The battery compartment is closed by a flap that hinges on two small plastic spigots. I manage to break these spigots. The battery flops around in the compartment, no contact is made to the camera’s vast electronic brain. The camera is useless.

James is good at fixing things. He straps the flap down with industrial duct tape. This seems to work.

Duct tape.

I drive to Colusa and check out the wetlands. Lots of birds, especially White Fronted Geese.

Here is one

No Snow Geese.

However, it is very hard to photograph. The tape does not hold up the battery flap firmly enough and I have to press it up with my thumb.  However it is touch and go. The connection is often lost and the best photos escape. Very frustrating.

Here are some more

Peaceful night in the Colusa campground. Back in the camper!

My phone rings. It is a friend from Okinawa on a Line video chat. She is looking for something in my apartment and we are able to track it down using video. One moment I am in a lonely North Californian camp site, the next I am walking around my place in Okinawa. Great image quality, no sound lag and it is free. I do not understand.

Up early and back to the Colusa Wetlands Nature Reserve.

Goose yoga
Black Crowned Night Heron having a nap.

I then zoom up to the Sacramento Wildlife Reserve. On the drive I spot a skein of Snow Geese flying alongside. Hooray! Maybe the first of the year.,

Welcome back

I potter around the reserve, there is so much to see. I curse all Nikon battery compartment flaps.

Dabchick

Great Blue Heron doing yoga
Golden Crowned Sparrow
Bobcat, a long way away
Red Tailed Hawk explains something to me.
White Crowned Sparrow
Another Red Tailed Hawk

I then head for Lassen Volcanic State Park. I had been here before but it was closed. 20 feet of snow. This time I check the website before setting off.  The Park is snow free. All has changed when I get there. It has snowed for 2 days and accordingly all roads in the park are closed. Rats.

Snow in Lassen.

A touch downhearted, I head North towards Lower Klamath Wildlife Reserve. Bald Eagles!  As the afternoon advances, the weather worsens. I find a campsite by a lonesome, lonesome lake in the hills. It is cold, getting dark, there is snow on the ground.

Frozen Bear Lake before I set up camp and before the rain starts.

Just after I pop up the camper roof, rain pours down and wind howls through the trees. It is grim. I only have a soggy tuna sandwich.

Basta! I head to Redding to get a  warm, motel room. It is a long drive in the dark and driving rain. The Tacoma’s headlights are very weak.

It is dreadful. I go to 7 motels, all full,  before I find one with a massively overpriced room. I am helped by a young lady who refers to me as “Old Timer.” The motels are all on different sides of the Freeway, necessitating endless complex navigation in the dark that often goes wrong. Not fun.

I head North  the next morning. Crater Lake Oregon is my target.  I am driving North in driving rain and it is only going to get worse. I check the weather – heavy rain turning to snow.  Oh dear. I give up. I am just too late. I will have to wait for Spring to savour Crater Lake.

I head for the coast where the weather is supposed to be better.

Not really

It pours as I make my way through hundreds of miles of Redwood forest. Very scenic, very deserted, very wet, lots of deer.

I spend the night near place called Legget.

Snug with a burrito and a bottle of Chardonnay. Rain pounds on the roof all night.

There is nothing to see really. The cloud covers the tops of the trees and the sea is hidden by mist.

I head home. I see a nice Anna’s Hummingbird at a gas station.

Hello

I am afraid I mistimed my trip. A few days earlier and it would have been sunshine and blue skies but things change rapidly in them, there hills.

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