A gorgeous morning at the Falls of the Ohio and the urge to explore is strong. Our current spring pattern is holding. We will have a few days of steady rain resulting in localized flooding which is then followed by the river rising as all that water seeks the lowest level and here we are after all at the bottom of the Ohio River Valley! The latest reports on the potential effects of climate change for our area have been predicting this. In the years to come, we can expect more fierce storms with heavier than usual rainfall causing periodic flooding. Actually, that’s just one prediction among many. There is also the specter of hotter summers and invasive, non-native species among other scenarios. We will each do what we feel compelled to do to cope with it all. For now the sky is mostly clear and the river has retreated and it’s time to break out the old sand rover and see what there is to see and find what there is to find on the banks of the Ohio River.
We don’t need to travel very far to stumble upon unusual objects and startling sights. The flotsam and jetsam that can’t evade the stronger currents and navigate that hard left turn westward towards the Mississippi River get deposited in the park. Something flesh-colored has been spotted lying on the surface of the sand and our intrepid driver moves in closer for a better look.
Upon inspection it turns out to be a headless, knock-off copy of a Barbie-style doll. It’s made from cheap, hollow plastic instead of the more rubberized material that the better Barbies are made from. Thus far, this has been a good year for finding dolls at the Falls of the Ohio. I seem to find one or two new ones each time I come out here. Of the common objects that I routinely find…all these dolls still strike me as being especially odd and sad. Taking a picture, it’s back aboard the sand rover and on to our next stop.
We don’t need to travel very far for our next discovery. With the sun up, there is a strong glare emanating from something shiny half buried in the sand. Pulling up to the object, our driver is startled and bemused to find a glass jar of spaghetti sauce!
Would you believe me if I told you this is not the first jar of pasta sauce found out here? Because it is relatively easy to prepare…I’m assuming that spaghetti is among the more popular dishes among folks who like to recreate around the river? Over the years, I have also found jars of pickles, condiments, soup, and one very large, memorable jar of bologna.
The sand rover crosses over the sand easily, but it’s a different story near the edge of the river where sticky, thick mud cakes the ground. As the sun dries the water out of the fine silty mud, deep cracks appear and widen with the heat.
The driver decides that caution is the proper way to navigate around this mud. This surface can be deceptive and it’s easy to step ankle to shin deep in this sticky quagmire. You could lose a shoe in this stuff and I’m speaking from experience! Once your shoes are coated with this mud…it’s hard to get them clean again. You can tell where I live by my front porch…it’s the house with the muddy shoes lined up in a row.
Carefully maneuvering around the pitfalls, the sand rover is once again safely on the shifting, but surprisingly secure sand. There are other river treasures within view worthy of investigation.
A water destroyed baseball lies nearby. This is more of an old-style ball because its core is still made with string wrapped tightly around a hard rubber core. The covers, however, are not leather and so this isn’t an official baseball of any sort. Just a little further down the beach is another toy that was immersed in the former liquid sand and now lies trapped in a fine granular matrix.
Once upon a time, this may have been a remotely controlled vehicle? The style of this truck looks like military vehicles I have seen. Having explored the sand, it’s time to cruise by the driftwood.
Having initially spotted something lying on the driftwood, the driver decided that he would check out the mystery object more thoroughly upon his trip home. The closer the driver approached the stranger the object became. In fact, he felt it was looking right back at him. Parking the sand rover nearby, the driver climbed upon the driftwood to get a better look and this is what he found.
It was heavily weathered, but there was enough present to suggest that this was the hard foam head of a deer. The driver thought that this was perhaps part of a taxidermy trophy or maybe the head of a figurative archery target? The object’s single dark eye was piercing and made the driver uncomfortable. Satisfied for now, the driver climbed back aboard the sand rover and headed towards home.
Well, there you have it, another interesting day at the river. The driver was glad he came since each excursion promised new sights and mysteries to solve. Already the next trip was being anticipated and all that was now required was for nature to cooperate. It’s still spring and we shall see how it goes at the Falls of the Ohio this year.