This spring, I paddled out across Kiwassa Lake to see the volunteers at Lean2Rescue put the finishing touches on a newly restored lean-to shelter. They had moved it, piece by piece, from Middle Saranac Lake, so they could replace the roof and some rotting logs at the base. And they left in its place a new lean-to for Middle Saranac.
This is what these guys do. They told me I could do it too, if I had an IQ in the range of a “bag of hammers.” It’s their joke for the mania that drives them to head out into the wilderness to move 400-pound logs around. What they do is no joke, though. It keeps a certain local architectural heritage alive, and gives paddlers and backpackers shelter in the woods.
I don’t like to equate myself with a bag of hammers. Then again, I am planning to go find this crew in the High Peaks as they move and refurbish another lean-to this weekend, even though I wrenched my back yesterday by merely bending over to pick up a pen. I’m going back because I want to write a story about the status of these shelters park-wide, the policies affecting their placement, and the folks who keep them habitable. That’s planned for our next magazine. Meantime, I’ve posted something to our website, that also features a new website of theirs that has an interactive map showing the location and relative condition of every lean-to on state lands in the Adirondacks. I’ve also posted a video of their work and words at Kiwassa.
Speaking of videos, you might want to sign up to follow the Explorer’s YouTube page if you haven’t already. We continue to increase our visual offerings of all things Adirondack. Reporter Gwendolyn Craig recently added a video documenting a retiring forest ranger’s final routine patrol, while multimedia journalist Mike Lynch shared one of some shaggy yaks on a new kind of farm in the park.
COMING UP: We invite you to join me and the Explorer’s journalists on Wednesday morning for a discussion of the stories in the latest issue of the magazine. Register for that here.
Editor’s note: This first appeared in Brandon’s “Explore More” newsletter. Photo by Brandon Loomis.