March 9

Looking like giant long-necked dinosaurs, their silhouette captures the imagination.

I hunted down this shot in the early morning hours with great personal discomfort.

Before dawn, I drove to a spot where I could get close enough to hike to a good vantage point.  I struck off to the open, crossing a stream I’d forgotten about. The snow over the stream banks created a deceptive trap.  At first my footing was solid and then, I reached the trap. I fell through the snow crust into a full flowing stream.  The snow was up to my chest, the water below was up to my thighs.  Was I trapped? Would I escape? Would I be the breakfast of some long-necked prehistoric beast?

I held my camera above my head and rolled myself in to a horizontal position to spread my weight over the snow crust I’d just penetrated.  I rolled until I was on solid ground, soaked, chilled in the sub-freezing morning hours.  I stood up. No one and nothing had spotted me yet, nor my fall through the snow.

I moved in to position to snap the circle of apparent pre-historic long-necked beasts. Positioning the foggy glow around them and the lights behind them, I caught 2, 4, 5, 10 shots. I don’t recall how many.  I was shivvering, chattering. My boots full of water.  My jeans beginning to freeze to my legs.

Now wiser, smart to the snow-covered trap that lay between me and my pickup, I sought an upstream location to cross where the water may be more shallow and the snow less deceptive.

I was wrong. This time, I fell in to water up to my waist, and the snow crust to my armpits.

Again, I rolled horizontally to solid ground, hiked back to my truck, cranked up the heater and drove away.

Only the images of long-neck prehistoric dinosaur manlifts in the golden fog in the heavy equipment rental yard is all that remains of that trek. I’m dry now. I’m warm now.

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