Getting My Exercise in Friday Harbor

The other day I went out for my walk — taking my camera, which one of you told me explicitly not to do because you feared if I took my camera exercising, I would get less exercise. Well, the truth is, with the camera I get more exercise. Without it, I merely walk down the road and back. With it, I climb hills, slide into ravines and leave the beaten path. So starts my story …

I left the apartment and walked briskly to the bottom of the hill and the ocean’s edge. From there I took a reasonably well-beaten path to just below our apartment building — and from there I climbed through rocks and struggled through brambles to get to this:

Shelf Fungus

It is a tree stump covered in shelf fungi.

Tree stump covered in shelf fungus.

This stump is actually directly below my bedroom window and only accessible (I thought) by fighting one’s way through wild blackberry vines. I arrived with only one puncture wound. As you can see, it was worth the struggle and peril.

shelf fungi: top view

When I was finished hanging by my toes on the rock ledge (great for my stomach muscles), I noticed a path which couldn’t be seen from my balcony above — it hugged the base of the building and led into the yard of the apartment directly below mine. I  finished climbing the rock embankment and followed the steep but brief path to my own door.

I was hot and sweaty, my thigh and tummy muscles were trembling from exertion, and I had a black berry thorn embedded in my palm. I decided I’d had enough exercise for one day.

In the house, I went straight to the kitchen sink and squeezed the thorn out of my hand. As I was washing I looked out the kitchen window and saw a deer butt disappear over the rise. I grabbed my camera and followed it.

White tail deer.

My huffing and puffing must have caught her attention, because when I reached the top of the hill, she was looking at me. I froze so she wouldn’t run. This is a 200mm exposure. She was quite a ways away.

Doe, grazing.

She put her head down and started grazing. (This is a 100mm exposure.) I waited patiently hoping for a clear head-shot so we could see her pretty face. As she ate, she always kept one eye on me, and worked her way closer and closer.

Doe -- oh!

And closer! This is a 55mm exposure. As you can see, I couldn’t get her ears in the frame. Since I was balanced on a 4 inch ledge looking over an embankment, stepping back wasn’t an option (it would have put me two feet lower and she would have bolted from such a sudden move).  If she had taken one more step forward, she would have been too close for me to focus the camera at all, and another step beyond that and I’d have had to wipe her snot off my lens!

We stood looking each other over.  She sniffed the air between us very thoroughly.  Finally she put her head down and went back to grazing.  When she was a few feet away I stepped down from the ledge and returned home.  Listen, if you want a muscle toning exercise, try standing immobile on your toes on a 4 inch ledge for half an hour.  My stomach, hips, thighs and calves knew they’d been used! And I’ve not even mentioned how my arms felt about holding that camera up for so long!

A bit later I went grocery shopping, taking my camera with me.  I encountered no deer, no fox, no raccoons, no quail, nothing that interested the camera.  I returned to the apartment with a ton of groceries, so I drove to the door and unloaded, then I turned the car around and returned it to the parking lot, about 60 yards from our door.  I deliberately left my camera in the house thinking we had enjoyed all the fun we were going to for the day. After I parked the car, I started back for the apartment — and the eagle flew over.  I stopped dead and stared with my mouth hanging open as it swooped down and disappeared from view right about where the deer had been earlier.

Knowing it was completely futile, I waddled my fat little body to the apartment as fast as I could, grabbed the camera and waddled back out. There is no way the eagle was still going to be there.

American Bald Eagle

See. Told you so.