Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cabin Life: Wonders of Wildlife

There was a loon swimming off the beach this morning, its haunting call reminding me of years past.  In college, I lived on one of the several Loon Lakes here in the Adirondacks.  It was great until the loons showed up, all six pairs of them.  They wouldn’t shut up all night.

I know from experience that loons are smart animals.  As large as a goose, but barely able to walk, their black and white body with red eyes are an iconic part of the Adirondacks.  I used to monitor banded loons and their nests, and after a few weeks of kayaking around them, I was often treated to the loons swimming under my boat and tagging along on the weekly paddles.

It was always a shame when I found an egg that had been eaten by a snapping turtle, or an unhatched egg still in the nest late in the summer.  But life goes on, and few people are unfamiliar with their nightly calls.

I think my favorite part of working at the campground is the wonder campers express at being in nature.  The osprey nests are one of our biggest attractions, and kids’ eyes light up when they see these huge birds flying into the nest with a fish in their talons.  I anticipate that these kids will remember their experience here and it makes them want to be outside as much as possible.  Luckily no one will be able to make a video game that mimics the experience of actually being in nature.

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Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.

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