I have been to the Falls of the Ohio this year and made something from the junk I’ve found, but this is not that post. As 2010 was winding down, I looked at the year’s images to see if there were other stories that could be created from them. Yes, I found a few, however, what was really needed were more hours in the day. Before I could get to them…2010 became history. And so now, I’m doing a little backtracking and enjoying placing myself in a warmer landscape than currently occupies the view out my window. I had the idea of showing how other people enjoy recreating in this unique place. To begin, if the conditions are right, you can fly a kite. I came across this guy many months a go and I don’t think there was enough wind for him to get the lift he needed. Louisville, Kentucky can be seen across the river.
One of the Falls activities I see many people pursuing is fishing. There are a few gem days during the course of the year when the fishing is just fun and excellent. That primal aesthetic to catch one’s meal finds contemporary expression in angling. It can be as sophisticated as you like using only the best gear sold in the catalogs…
…or it can be a rather simple activity not requiring a lot of fancy fishing equipment. In fact, you don’t even need a shirt!
I can remember the look of delight on this man’s face when he had the fish in hand. What worries me is that I’m seeing more and more people taking fish out of here to eat. Although the river is supposedly getting cleaner, there are still toxins concentrated in the fish’s tissues. It’s still a good idea not to eat too many too frequently. And, the bigger the fish, the more likely more toxins will be present in the fish. Some folks will go to some lengths to reach the fish that others can’t reach. It certainly helps to have a boat.
I think this guy looks like he would be more successful at fishing than he actually was. The river bottom here is extremely rocky and the current swift. It’s very easy to lose lures and bait netting you a major case of frustration. Sometimes just the boat is enough!
Paddling kayaks in the rapids created from water being released under the tainter gates is gaining in popularity. I have to admit there have been many times I’ve thought how handy it would be to have a small boat out here. I have even thought about taking some of the larger chunks of Styrofoam that I find and making my own makeshift water craft, but then I come to my senses. I may still do it one day…we’ll see.
Some folks don’t go much further than the Interpretive Center where they can enjoy the exhibits or listen to one of the volunteers give a talk about nature in the park. Birdwatching is a popular activity and one I enjoy too.
I don’t mean to pick on these guys…but I’ve noticed many birdwatchers feel that they need to look the part too! Was it the late Wally Cox who crafted the classic nerdy birdwatcher look complete with khakis and pith helmet? I suppose it’s better than wearing a feather suit! In 2010, I did see people doing an activity out here that I had never seen before. First, seeing these guys gathered at this place along the rocks piqued my curiosity and I moved in closer.
What I found was a competition under way among members of a club who operate remote control cars. Their cars were designed to roll over rugged terrain and the contest was to see who could best negotiate a course laid out at the Falls and its fossil rocks. Here’s what the cars looked like.
These cars were amazingly powerful and rugged. With their outsized tires, many of these cars could crawl up nearly vertical rocks and boulders. It takes some skill on the part of the operator to navigate around the hazards in the least amount of time. And then, there are people who see the Falls in more practical and utilitarian terms like this man.
I ran into this fellow on a couple of occasions and each time he was doing the same thing. He was salvaging the metal wheels from these tires. He would cut away the rubber and take the metal rims with him to the salvage yard. He seemed thrilled that there were so many wheels out here. I also see people collecting driftwood to decorate their gardens and to make arrangements with fake flowers that they could then sell. One man I spoke with said he received $25.00 an arrangement. Based on the mental image I formed of his driftwood art, it didn’t sound all that appealing to me. But I need to not be so judgemental in such matters since as this blog is proof of…beauty and utility are in the eyes of the beholder! Here’s to another year of river art and adventure at the Falls of the Ohio.