Sunday, May 29, 2011

Our Little Heaven

The Pasquotank River
36 23.15 N 076 17.19 W

We've had a whole month of urban living with lots of social and family contact.  Now for a day of solitude, isolation, and nature.  We are anchored at the prettiest spot along the prettiest river on the whole east coast.  At least, so according to our opinion.

Our spot is on a side branch of the river.  Only 1/2 mile from the ICW, yet a place seldom visited.  In all likelihood, we will not see nor hear any other people as long as we stay here.

What we do hear is magic. It is the sound of the swamp.   There is the occasional loud and mysterious splash.   There are familiar bird calls, osprey calls, and owl calls.   Several times we heard what sounded like flocks of geese-like birds, but we saw nothing and the sounds were definitely not Canada geese.  We also hear the distinctive graak of the great blue heron.  There are several of them nearby.

Most interesting is what I call frog outbursts.   It stars with silence.  Then, every 15 minutes or so first one frog starts croaking, then hundreds of frogs join in.  It builds to a deafening catcophony of croaks in about 1 minute, then it dies away to silence once again.  Sometimes, the cut-off is not gradual but abrupt, as if someone called STOP!   Most of the calls are high pitched. I figure those are the females.   Once in a while I hear a distinctly lower croak from a bull frog.   The outbursts vary in location.  It seems that every 100 yards or so forms a frog neighborhood, and each outburst is between one neighborhood and the next.  Once I heard the sound migrate to a third remote neighborhood, then to a fourth even more remote.   Now after dark, the outbursts are gradually being replaced by more-or-less continuous croaking from all frogs in all directions, but now accompanied by crickets.  I figure it's all about sex.  Each of those horny frogs is crying "Over here!"

Very faintly in the distance we can hear some highway noise, so I know we're not in true wilderness.  There is also (obviously) a cell tower that gives me a strong signal, otherwise I couldn't post this.  I looked it up on Google Earth.  See the picture below.  It explains everything.  We are at the X mark. in a wilderness.  This wilderness follows the river, but it is bounded on each side by farm lands.   Perhaps the wilderness' extent is the flood plain.   In any event, we followed the river up here.  Houses became less and less common and for the last several miles we saw none at all. Nevertheless, the picture shows the true situation.  It is the veneer effect in extreme.  Our pristine wilderness is only a few miles wide.   Oh well, we're lucky to be here in any case.   Those people out on the highway never get to see how beautiful it is here.

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