The back wheel tire on the passenger side of my car had a slow leak, a problem that I had been putting off for a couple of weeks. It's not that I especially hate going to the tire shop, but, I guess I really didn't want to spend an hour waiting around in a soulless white tile lobby wondering if Jimmy the tire tech was going to discover something worse than a nail in the tire. It's pretty much a given that, with a nineteen year old car, something will need to be fixed.

And, of course, when I eventually made it to the shop and spent the expected time in the waiting room, Jimmy indeed came out and told me that the leak in the tire wasn't the big issue. The real problem was the fact that the front two tires were "completely shot." Thankfully, Jimmy didn't give me the "I really can't let you drive out of here on those tire speech," but he might as well have. Now, I don't have the $250 to have them replaced, so I thought that I would wait a few weeks before I got them fixed. But, later that day, when I took my car to another place to have the oil filter changed, the oil change people noted (without me saying anything) that my front tires were shot. In fact, they even had me sign a liability waiver assuring that I wouldn't sue them if something bad happened to me by driving out on those bad tires! Good grief.

Forest Path

In spite of (or perhaps because of) the bad news about my car, I decided that I would go for a hike in the local wildlife refuge. The hiking trails had just opened up, and I wanted to get some nice photographs of the spring scenery. While I knew that I could use the exercise, I thought the time outdoors would be somewhat relaxing, a counterpoint to the stress of the car issues I was having. And it was a nice hike; although, I think I may have overexerted myself on the trails. I'm not as in shape as I thought I was, so more trips to the refuge for exercise may be in order.

One thing that surprised me about this hike was how many animals that I saw there. Normally, I will see an occasional bird, or a deer or two if I am there just after sunset. However, this time, I saw more animals than I had before. I saw several Geese, a few interesting birds, some ground squirrels, and couple of rabbits.


Silent Little Bird

Ground Squirrel


All the animals above were ones that I saw on this single three hour trip. There were more geese than anything else, probably a couple of hundred, and they spent the entire time honking above, and on, the small lake nestled at the bottom of the hill and below the hiking trails on which I walked. But they were not the loudest part of the trip, although I could definitely hear them the entire time on my hike. Something like the sound of gunshots was intermittently coming from the surrounding valley. It was a bit distracting. I admit I was very puzzled about blasts of noise in what should have been, to my thinking, a peaceful and quiet walk through the woods. But, I finally realized that the noises probably were meant to scare away the many geese away from the farms and vineyards that circled the refuge. It wouldn't take long for such a large amount of geese to devastate a farmer's precious crop.

I did see some deer too, but I wasn't close enough to get a good shot of them. It didn't take many photos for me to start longing for a decent telephoto lens. There were some really great pictures that I was unable to get because I couldn't zoom in close enough to get a nice shot. Photography can be an expensive pursuit. Tomorrow, I have another photography class. I will be taking a picture of my artwork for the studio project, and if all goes well, I hope to be able to post it here soon.

13 April 2008
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