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May 9, 2004

The afternoon was waning, and after not finding much to photograph up in Bear Hollow, I had hiked back downstream with Junie and had just crossed Jack Creek when from behind us came a long rising and falling sound kind of halfway between keening and growling. It wasn't my imagination because Junie stopped, turned around, and looked steadily in the direction the sound had come from. I called out to make our presence known, which is usually enough to make most denizens of the woods duck and cover, or at least hush up, but surprisingly the vocalization continued.

It was about then that I got to thinking that maybe it was a good idea for us to be moving along. So we started hustling down the old jeep road that runs along Jack Creek, but it was over a mile to the trail head up near Dockery Gap. It wasn't a comforting thought that one reason a predator might announce his presence would be to drive a potential prey, in this case, us, toward a waiting hunting partner, although I doubt that there are any large predators left in this part of the country that hunt like that. A considerably more comforting thought was that the noise was more likely coming from a feral pig, although it certainly didn't sound like any pig I've ever heard. Maybe the wild ones sound different from the big fat domesticated ones I'm acquainted with.

The keening recurred several times in the next fifteen minutes or so, and even grew louder, but soon enough it ceased, and the rest of our hike was pretty uneventful, except for the long uphill stretch, which combined with the heat was about enough to do me in, and judging from the way she slept almost all the way home, Junie as well.

We were back at it early next morning shortly after sunrise, in an area of maples on the slopes of Wakefield Mountain. But our efforts were mostly in vain there. Somehow the light just wasn't right, or wasn't interesting that time of the day, or this time of year, or something, and the wind was kicking up too much as well.

So I needed to try to photograph something that doesn't sway in the breeze so much, and after giving it considerable thought decided that Richland Creek was the place for us and that shooting rocks and water at dusk was what we wanted to do. So we motored over to Richland Creek and arrived about mid-afternoon. Since both Junie and I were still feeling a little rocky from the previous day's exertions, we took it easy by just photographing at the Darby turn, which is just about a 10-minute walk downstream from the bridge.

The photo below is among the ones taken there, while the one above was taken last week at a ford on Hurricane Creek at dusk as Junie and I were headed back from a hike to Heathcock Hollow.