The Giant Mutant Rock Lizard - a story of fact and fiction
lived and written by Adventure George/ pictures by Photo George
a full set of story pictures are found on my Flickr site – click here
My friend Photo Eric and I travel into the Adirondacks . . .. Okay the story says all of this. What I wanted to emphasize in the story was that different photographers have different styles and different purposes in shooting.
I like to tell a story with my pictures. I don’t know why, I just do. I get many good shots and very few great ones. Eric on the other hand wants to get a “great photograph” and he gets some good ones. I see and plan and shoot quick. Eric looks and thinks and plans and shoots and revises and shoots again. I’m moving Eric is planted.
Okay enough of this stuff. On with the story.
The Giant Mutant Rock Lizard
- a story of fact and fiction -
It’s true. I swear it’s true.
The story I am about to tell you happened late one summer morning along the Ausable River in the Great Adirondack Forest Preserve of New York State. It happened on a deserted stretch of the River, just below Hulls Falls in an area bordered on one side by an old Hemlock forest and on the other side by a low rise of rock cliffs.
My friend Photo Eric and I left Clifton Park early that day. We were on a photo shoot to capture the Ausable in its late summer flow. I was eager and excited and ready.
We reached Hull’s Falls Road on advice of an experienced local. Hulls Falls Road was a lonely stretch with few houses. At points, dense Hemlock forests bordered both sides. A bridge would indicate the River below, we were told. We were on the lookout but crossed it before we realized and had to turn around and return.
The Bridge is numbered, 3364030, but not named. The problem is that the sign with the number is under the bridge. Forget the number. Just look for the bridge as it crosses the Ausable. But look sharp or you’ll be over before you know it.
We parked off the road as best we could. The berm is narrow to non-existent. Camera and lenses in hand, we were ready to bushwhack down to the River.
Leaving the road we entered the world of the hemlock forest. It was quiet, quieter even than on the empty road. With a deep bed of needles were underfoot, it was like a walk on a plush carpet.
There was no trail, but it was easy to know the way. The way was down.
An occasional bird song and woodpecker cry interrupted the silence. I knew the woodpeckers were around before I heard them. A thumping tree had caught my attention: a dead tree where woodpecker holes gave evidence to feasts on insects and larvae.
I don’t know why they interest me. They just do.
As we approached the river we heard the gentle flow of the water. This was far different than the rated white water of spring rains and run off from winter snows. I’m told that for folks that shoot the rapids the section is rated a three. No shooting the rapids this time of the summer. It was low water.
Photo Eric was at the River before I was. I’m slower as I like to take pictures along the way. Eric doesn’t. We have different reasons and different ways of shooting. I shoot to tell a story and document a location or place. Eric shoots to capture the essence of a place or natural occurrence in one or several images.
So it was that Eric was contemplating his first shot and I emerged from the forest with, if you will, camera blazing.
I loved the scene as it stretched out before me. Upstream the river ran along the rocky bed in a series of gentle cascades. Downstream it slowed and pooled. It was quiet and the surface of the pools reflected the overcast of the sky.
Eric made his decision. Camera on a tripod and set for available light and speed of the water, he framed his shot and remotely triggered the camera. A check, an adjustment, a filter added, and again he shot. He repeated yet again.
Satisfied, he packed his gear about to move closer to Hulls Falls. My focus was downstream. It was as I turned to check on him that I saw it.
My blood ran cold.
Unbeknownst to him, there emerged from the riverbed a gigantic lizard. It gleaned wet with water. It lumbered slowly towards him. I saw it, I did.
I yelled. “Move Eric, move.”
At the same time I myself started to move. And as I did, I raised my camera and snapped off several pictures.
Eric is in better shape than I am. And despite his knee replacement surgery moves just fine. As I started up the river bank, I looked up and there was Eric, like some super hero looking down on the river.
I turned to see what he was looking at. And to my amazement, saw nothing. The giant mutant rock lizard was gone.
I swear. That’s the way it happened.