Awakened by the aroma of freshly brewing coffee, its 4AM and I stumble my way downstairs. I reach for the coffee pot and pour myself a cup, taking a few sips, ahhhhh! I fill my waiting thermos like the belly of a dragon, slinging my camera bag over my shoulder, reaching for my car keys and out the door I go.
Shrouded in heavy fog I arrive forty five minutes later at Long Pond. Its quiet today compared to Friday morning. A few bullfrogs murmur and in the distance I can hear a Pileated Woodpecker attempting his breakfast. The water is smooth as glass, the silence becomes deafening only to be disturbed by what sounds like the pitter patter of little feet across a hard wood floor. Dew dripping from the many low hanging trees ripple the pond’s placid water. I paddle my way along the shoreline littered with lily pads.
Slowly I enter a few bogs looking for signs of life. All is quiet on the western front. I meander for a bit only to be startled by a beaver who has surfaced next to my kayak. He retreats and I’m in pursuit. Cautiously I paddle finding his lodge which he is now proudly protecting. We court one another and I give him some distance. He again retreats and I stand my ground, floating patiently waiting for his return. I pour a cup of coffee for the long haul, shortly after he reappears, THWACK! He then disappears into the fog only to repeat his actions again and again. I begin to wonder, is he angry or is he playing? This display would continue over the next forty five minutes. My camera’s motor drive echoing the haunted sound of a gatling gun at war.
Continuing my journey back up the pond and still covered in a heavy fog I notice a lone fisherman in a canoe. As I get closer a friendly voice greets me “Good Morning” I reply in kind. We paddle towards one another and strike up a friendly conversation. Don is from Ithaca and he enjoys the fishing on Long Pond. He has also paddled the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, the entire length of the Susquehanna, amongst other places. Don casts his line. Almost immediately he gets a hit. I back my boat away to give him room to reel in this catch, camera at the ready. Don had caught a Chain Pickerel. This was his third of the morning and he had only been on the water twenty minutes. I ask Don for his email address so I can send him a photo, he agrees. After a few more minutes we part ways and I shortly after am loading my kayak back onto my car, thus far ending another episode at Long Pond.