Monday, December 5, 2011

My mini road trip

First off, I should mention that I sometimes forget that I have a blog. I mean I know I have a blog, I just seem to forget that I actually need to post things. So I am remiss and it's practically winter.

Originally back in October, I had usual Vermont trip planned with friends. We stay at my friend's parent's vacation home.  When Hurricane Irene struck and it struck Vermont very bad, I made the mistake of forwarding various links and videos to those same friends.  I was riveted by all this and religiously checked the Road Closure Vermont websites and various newspaper, town, and shop websites.  As it drew closer and closer to our supposed vacation, I learned that my friends didn't want to go.  They felt that too many things and roads would be closed and that they heard this information from a variety of sources. They were not open to any discussion. I felt the total opposite. I saw that Vermont was working like crazy to get roads back up and most of the shops/areas we usually frequent were open. We could even take our normal route to get up there.  I even have a friend who lives in the same town and he agreed with me.  I also felt that I wanted to support Vermont, the open businesses, and I am fascinated by seeing Mother Nature's destruction. So I decided to still go to Vermont and visit some areas we don't normally go. 
When I arrived, the leaves were just past peak in the lower elevations and entire direction and view was a postcard.  Unfortunately, the sun never fully cooperated so the pictures don't do it justice at all. I did a ton of driving and hit some of the Vermont Cheese Trails sites. It's December and I still have a large supply in the fridge.

The destruction was just as riveting as the leaf colors. Entire hillsides slumped into rivers.  Tree parts, debris, and sediment created new landscapes and terrain. Rivers and streams made new paths.  Buildings were knocked off their foundations and the roads almost always had a new patch near streams.  I will say that I never had to turn around because of a closed road even though there were some sketchy areas. 

One of my main reasons for the trip was to take an introductory falconry lesson at the British School of Falconry .  It's a bit pricey but I figured where else am I going to experience this. This also had a even pricier off road Land Rover driving class but I didn't do that.....yet. We got an overview of falconry and learned that Harris Hawks make the perfect candidate. They naturally hunt in families and are very social/tame.  We each got our own Harris Hawk. Mine was Monty and he was a youngster. I immediately wanted one and he made the cutest "I'm so excited noises" when we were walking outside.  It was like a muppet.  Here he is attacking a pheasant wing. It's like the best toy ever to them and they love love love it.  He got so obsessive he was even attacking just one feather from the wing. You have to throw them a piece of meat and quickly grab the wing out of their sight.  We got to send them off to the perch and have them come back.  Monty decided the close perch was too boring and fly up to the top of the barn. He then flew back to me unprompted because he knew that he would be rewarded with a piece of meat.  He was so light and you could barely feel his weight given his size.