Monday, May 25, 2009
Avon - First Outing
Series Of Tracks Found In Irrigation Canal, Avon, Utah, 2009
Yesterday was my first 'official' outing for this project. I took my dad and Polla with me as they were mildly interested/curious as to what I would see.
I had originally planned to go up to Hardware Ranch and to a location along Ant Flat Road. Instead, some interesting events transpired that were to take me somewhere else.
I told my mother about my latest project, she laughed and giggled and ridiculed for a moment, then she remembered very suddenly that a friend of hers that she plays tennis with, her daughter had claimed to have found some strange footprints in the bottom of an irrigation canal that ran along her property.
The canal is in Avon, Utah, at the southern end of Cache County. After making several phone calls, we connected with the woman and arranged to come out and shoot yesterday afternoon.
I'll keep names anonymous, not so much out of protection, she is admittedly, the talk of the town, but instead to keep the emphasis on the report and the location.
One evening around 11pm about three weeks ago, before the irrigation canals were filled, her dogs started barking in a very different manner. She described it as very aggresive and like something she hadn't heard them do before. She went to the door, shone her flashlight into the darkness but didn't see anything. The next morning she went out to see what the dogs were barking at. That's when she found the line of tracks.
The tracks were in some soft, wet silty mud and were 13 inches long and 7 inches wide. She could not see the bottom of each track in the mud. She said the step measured about 4 feet between prints and went straight down into the mud. There were no drag marks between the tracks.
She said the tracks entered the canal by the culvert where the road crosses the canal, went down the canal heading west, then left the canal right before a large irrigation pipe crosses the canal.
She contacted the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and they responded and took a report. They told her that hers was the 21st report that they responded to. She didn't say if it was the 21st report this year, or total. I have some names in the DWR that she said I ought to follow up with. It might be a good source of information.
My photograph is looking to the east along the canal, the irrigation pipe is in the foreground, the culvert and road are in the background.
She lives very near the Little Bear River which flows not more than half a mile south of her property. Residents along the river have stories of howls and screams down in the river bottoms that have gone on for years. There is also a report of a sighting where the Little Bear crosses Hwy. 89 near Wellsville. I know this area well, having grown up not far from this place. One project I have wanted to do is to document the Little Bear along the stretch from Hwy. 89 to Paradise. It has always intrigued me and I don't know why.
The photograph is an 8x20 paper negative and has quite a bit of detail. The contrast is very high (which is inherent in a paper negative). I have not scanned nor printed it yet, but will soon. I am getting a slight backlog of images with some new photographs made in Las Vegas this week and at least two locations I will photograph this coming weekend with the 4x10.