Right before the bridge leading into Waterloo we hung a right onto Highway #1 and slowly drove north deeper into eagle nesting country. We knew of a nest there, and we also knew that recent storms hit this area hard. Checking the status of the nest was critical to us, but first...we had to find it. Eventually, we saw it high in its tree seemingly all together and whole. No eagles sat upon it, no eaglets called for food. We heard no eagles above us, we saw no eagles flying around or fishing. This was not good.
Walking around the roadway, we had to dodge huge lumber trucks and ducked when two small lear jets dipped low over the area. Odd. The water was way down and very muddy from the storms, and the chop was fierce. Fishing must not be good for eagles in these conditions. We ate our lunch in the protection of my car, watched yet more coots and the ubiquitious seagulls and herons....but no eagles. Driving through this area beside the water damage from storms is obvious. Trees have been leveled but left for the wildlife by watershed teams, as it should be. We entertained ourselves briefly walking along the shoreline but it was too chilly and windy to really enjoy the moment.
Again, our patience was stretched thin. Strong, frigid, gusting winds making our eyes tear and numbed our ear lobes and noses and fingers, but no eagles. Just coots. Lots and lots of coots. We bid a silent goodbye to the hidden eagles and turned back for the last stop of the day - Wilson Dam.
Wilson Dam has a beautiful park with walking trails on the low side of the dam. There, one can usually spy eagles perched high on the clifts watching for fishes below. Today, the waterfalls are terrific thanks to recent rains. We watched chickadees dart among the cliftside foliage. We saw cormorants and seagulls but once again we are disappointed by our eagles. No sightings. Nothing.
Carroll attended an Eagle Awareness Week jaunt several years ago, and this was our second try of these same areas. Sadly, every year we have been disappointed. Next year we are abandoning Waterloo and traveling to another chosen spot. We were so excited after reading Jodi's blog (Bloomingwriter) about her eagle spotting trip - we just knew this was going to be our year....but no.
However, what was lost in eagle sightings we gained in meditations. We had a lovely day together in the sunshine and winds and nature, and enjoyed long periods of companionable silences that only good friends can share. Road trips are my meditations, and good friends are balms to my soul. We had sandwiches while jammed in the front of my Subaru while listening to Dave Matthews Band, laughed at our red noses during lengthy walks on windswept, misty shorelines, and chuckled at our silliness calling out "Here Eagle, Eagle, Eagle!" to the heavens. (...to no avail)
At the end of our trip we stood beside these beautiful, roaring waterfalls and tipped our faces into the icy mist that floated in the air, relishing our freedom and friendship. Road trips are my meditation.