To be accurate, Lake Mattamuskeet is a very shallow lake, not a river. Today the temperatures hover above freezing (just barely) and the swans weave a snowy blanket over the lake and nearby fields. In fact, a few blankets (preferably heated with a waterproof tent over them) would help us survive Lake Mattamuskeet Swan Day 2017. Somehow Mother Nature and I get our wires crossed for this event. I request weather conducive to photographing swans. Mother Nature delivers lamentations of swans grounded due to low visibility. Sure the birds are abundant, but hidden from the lens of my plastic bag shrouded camera by a persistent, biting mist.
Lucky for me that as I wander the grounds of the old lodge waiting for our scheduled tram ride through the gloomy, bone-chilling nature preserve I cross paths with James “Little Brother” Topping. Mr. Topping spent his childhood working for guest’s tips in the Lodge here. He later served as a hunting guide at the lake until 1974 when the lodge was closed. In the video below, he shares his story of a life enjoying goose hunting and meeting nice people at the historic Lake Mattamuskeet Lodge.
I include a tiny clip of our water soaked tram ride through the refuge at the end of the video. But staying warm and dry, not taking pictures, quickly becomes the goal of this expedition. We spend the first half hour of our ride squinting to view birds through the wintry veil and shuffling to avoid showers of water from the overhead canopy. After that, we focus solely on catching sight of the super heated buses that we know are waiting for us at the end of our muddy tram ride. The wind picks up and time slows down. It seems like hours before anyone glimpses the billowing exhaust of those elusive motorized beasts. Once aboard, the bus warms my cold soaked body like a toasty mobile oven. At last a sanctuary that I can appreciate!
6 Replies to “Way Down Upon the Swan-y River – Lake Mattamuskeet Swan Day”
Outstanding, as usual, and you ain’t even getting paid. :>)) Wonderful story and I would love to sit down with this guy over a cup of coffee and let him talk. Bet he has some great tails to share. Thanks for sharing and have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS. GOD BLESS
Jim & Sandy
Thank you!! You would definitely enjoy talking to Mr. Topping. He would probably enjoy your stories too! I know I do!!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and Sandy too!
I wondered if you would even go, the weather being so bad. After all the trouble you went through to get the tickets for the tram ride I should have known you would :). Doensn’t seem to matter what the weather is like you always seem to find someone interesting to talk to.
Yes after 2.5 hours calling and 800 redials to get those tickets we WERE going. Just hate I subjected my poor sister and brother in law to such a wintry day. I think they really enjoyed meeting Mr. Topping too though so all is well that ends well!
So great that in this lifestyle, one gets to see and meet so many interesting places and people!
So true! I sure wish I could work my way to meeting them in a warmer location though 🙂