It probably occurred to me a couple weeks late but this past weekend, I thought it might be nice to check out the salmon run on the Stanislaus River.  Up north of Oakdale, California near Knights Ferry was where I thought was the more optimal place without having to drive through half of California.

I had it all to myself on a nice cool morning and with my back to the sun, the golden trees were simply magnificent.

Arriving pretty early Saturday morning, I took the trail down the Stanislaus for a mile or so.  Along the way, I was puzzled by perhaps a hundred buzzards in the trees.

I stopped to ponder them, taking a few photos before I settled in to check out some fall flowers and the bees and butterflies that found them attractive.

After doing my best to annoy the insects, I continued down the river and could hear a light roar from rushing waters.  This would be the Russian Rapid.

As I approached the water, I understood why the buzzards were roosting in the trees nearby.  In the water, there was one huge salmon that had died but not floating yet.  I watched the small rapids for quite a while and never seeing a fish jump in the attempt to go upstream.

 Apparently, I was a couple of weeks late and the main salmon run had already run it's course.  That's pretty much appropriate for me.

Returning back near my starting point, I was able to see several dozen large salmon under the large concrete bridge.  Some were a beautiful reddish color while some were gray showing white spots caused from a hard fight upstream from the ocean.  Parts of the skin were literally coming off right there in the water.

Reading up on the migration; once a salmon hatches out, it goes downstream to the ocean where it stays four or five years then begins it's migration back to where they were born.  Once they spawn, this is where they die and complete it's life cycle.

On the Stanislaus, the migration stops just above the old covered bridge, being stopped by a water control dam.  It was a nice day, walking the woods, fields and climbing over the rocks there.