Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its fifth year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

February 27, 2016

FIRST LIGHT AT HOUSTON BROOK

... from my living room window i listened very carefully to the sunset's message ... it seemed to be saying, "take your friends on a little wanderabout ... take your friends on a little wanderabout" ...

... the ancient abanaki petroglyphs along its banks covered in ice, here the mighty kennebec river welcomes a new day ...

... i wonder if those who ice fish within this little shed are aware that in the chill water which fills the deep valley beneath them there are the house foundations of a once thriving community which long ago found itself sacrificed in the name of "progress" ...

... the short hike from pleasant ridge road down to the falls was quite icy ...

... we had to be very careful where we walked ...

... as always, however, the falls were worth the effort ... my first pictures were taken from the bluff along the side of the river, but i soon decided i wanted to get closer ...

... being very careful, each step as if a move in a chess game, i managed to negotiate my way down the steep rocky side of the gorge ... it became immediately apparent that there were a few places to step and many, many more places to not step ...

... casting aside any thoughts of being foolish, i worked my way along the icy ledge to capture the morning sun as it painted with fire the trees along the north bank of the river ...

... john had a zoom lens affixed to his canon, while i'd mounted my 12mm wide-angle to my fuji ... both of us knowing better than to change lenses on a digital camera in the freezing mist below the falls, he headed downstream while i took a little rest as i  surveyed the next section of my route to the base of the cataract ...

... the rocks and boulders were encapsulated in phantasmagoric layers of textured ice ...

... yes, i'm fully aware i look like some sort of beached irish walrus, but i'm not ashamed to admit that i've become rather fond of john's super-insulated l.l.bean maine guide jacket ... and, you're absolutely correct, it took quite some time for my butt to thaw ...
COURTESY JOHN MEADER
... tiny shafts of diffuse sunlight began to work their way through the forest above the river ...

... for a brief moment, fire and freeze coexisted ...

... a few minutes before i set up to take this picture i was looking downstream ... a great crashing sound echoed down the length of the ice encrusted gorge, and, for a brief second, all i could think of was that the last time we'd visited houston brook falls there had been a huge tree trunk caught at the edge of the escarpment ... i tensed, knowing i was close enough that i was sure to be engulfed in an icy tsunami ... luckily, it was most likely only a giant chunk of ice that had broken off, and the rock ledge must have channeled the splash away from where i was standing ... all in all, i think that made for an ever better picture ... 

... i got so close to the falls that i was looking almost directly up into the cascade ... it was then that i realized my fuji x-t1 was becoming encased in ice, and after his picture i gave up trying to scrape clear the filter protecting the lens ...

... our departure was a hike up into a beautiful morning, happy that we'd achieved our goal of "sunrise at houston brook falls" ...

... we stopped  to admire the ice along the side of route 16, just where the bridge spans the kennebec river in bingham ... 

... yes, you're right, i'm calling this one "hanging on" ...

... shark teeth ...

... "micky mouse" and "diamonds are not forever" ...
  

... we decided to head towards farmington so we could take john's son, forrest, to lunch ... on the way we visited the wire bridge in new portland ...

... end of february, the carrabassett river is open ... for a comparison go to last year's march 16th entry, a day where in this same setting i was able to walk anywhere i wanted ...

... early, for sure, but the sun's warmth is a sign of spring ... 

... in all the world, one of my favorite beaches, even if it isn't yet time to take a relaxing dip ... 

... pa taught me the phrase, "if i go over catch my camera when i toss it to you" ... of all that i've learned, one of the best lessons ...

... currently adorned with a fancy ice cap, in the summer this great glacial erratic is a place to recline in the sun ...

... last year i was able to stand and take pictures right where the little mill stream is flowing into the river ...

... john worked his way up the bank of the river, exhibiting great photographic courage as he worked facing into the rising sun ...

... the bone dry rocks are evidence of the odd weather we've had this winter ...

... i hope you've enjoyed this little wanderabout ... for your own simply enter "new portland, maine" into your g.p.s. ...