The second morning of our trip was cold and clear and the lazy river was clothed in fine mist as the sun crept up over the treeline.
I walked along the edge of the river and across Red Bridge in my pink polka-dotted PJ pants like a crazy person to take pictures.
The few other people awake and moving at that moment didn’t seem to mind.
The four of us took photos silently, with nods of recognition to each other that we were the chosen few that got to experience this magic moment because we had gotten ourselves out of bed.
My dad told me that when Corvettes were first manufactured there were so few of them that if a Corvette driver passed another on a street, they would wave to each other. The tradition had hung around for decades, so that when our family had a red t-top 1971 Corvette Stingray for a while in the 1990s, Dad would always wave to to other Corvette drivers.
And that’s how I think nature photographers are. We know that when it is beautiful and silent and we are witnessing a majestic scene or a special moment that might not come again, we are part of an elite group.
Those gorgeous golden moments we manage to capture so that we can share them with others? We’re there, in that place, just out of frame, enjoying it firsthand. Feeling the cold or the heat, hearing the wind or the crack of sticks beneath our feet…or the sound of birds.
As I was ambling around taking pictures, a low honking began in the distance, lower than the ubiquitous Canada geese I was used to. I looked up and managed to just catch this flock of seven ghost-white trumpeter swans heading for the rising sun.
That was a moment I’m glad I didn’t miss. Soon the sun lit the trees on fire and warmed our weary muscles.
I took off my crazy PJ pants. We packed up the dewy tent, filtered water from the river, and headed out for what would be the most breathtaking day of our four-day hike…
[to be continued]