Monday, September 18, 2017

Cradle of Forestry

Here’s my book on display at the Cradle of Forestry’s gift shop yesterday. We attended their excellent “Bring Back the Monarchs” program, lead by Joyce Pearsall.  On the way to the event we stopped at the Mills River Valley Overlook and met Jerry and Liz Fishman who were bird watching there.  Later they e-mailed me an “unofficial” hawk watch count for the day: Broad-winged Hawks, 92 (70 streaming out of a single kettle), Falcon, 1 (not a positive ID but possible Merlin).  Turkey Vulture, 3.

After the monarch event we returned home via the parkway, but stopping on the way at mile 409-410 to hike to and climb the fire tower, where we met a 14 year-old young man on top.  He was there alone—some of his family members had dropped him off. He had been whistling a simple three-note tune through his hands sounding much like an ocarina. He said he had been born in Mexico. We enjoyed the cool breeze and fantastic views for a while, then we left the tower and the boy sitting on top of one of the other buildings on the ridge.  At the bottom of the trail his mother drove up and I gave her a copy of my book for him. We pulled out to leave and his sister approached to ask for my autograph, which he had requested by phone.  I told her about the monarchs overwintering in Mexico.  I was thinking the boy needed some encouragement, even if just a little book from a stranger, a book about something he might take an interest in.  (The fire tower hike is mentioned in the book.)  Or maybe he might find direction in life as a scientist or naturalist.    

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