Saturday, March 5, 2022

Inlet’s Frozen Fire and Lights: Outhouse races, a crowd-pleasing addition

You would have to be like an Ostrich that hides its head in the sand not to have heard or seen what is happening to the democratic country of Ukraine. The invasion of the Russian army was done under the orders of their leader, President Putin, to take over this country (which did nothing to provoke this attack.) So far, Ukraine has held their ground and kept the Russians from taking over any major cities or toppling their government. Over three million residents have fled the country to the west into Poland, Hungary, and other neighbors to the west with nothing but the clothes on their backs. If you just listen to Fox News and former President Trump (both who have given praise to what President Putin has done), you need to watch a different channel. My prayers go out to the army and the people of Ukraine who are defending their country and their homes.

On a brighter note, one of my amaryllis has its last bloom. This bloom is from one of the three bulbs that I planted in the garden for the summer. I dug up these bulbs when I put the garden to bed, cut off all the green leaves and put them in a cool place in the cellar for over a month. I repotted them just before Christmas and two of the three produced tall shoots with four blooms on each. You could try the same thing if you have an amaryllis that now just has big green leaves.

If you have been south from Old Forge, you couldn’t have missed the ice jam both above and below the McKeever Bridge. I took some photos on Thursday (Feb. 24) and met the owner of the house that is right in the middle of the jam below the bridge. He said the water was going right down the road in front of his house between the snowbanks for about a quarter mile before it broke back through the bank into the river again. Right now, the water is running under the jam some place and popping back out downstream. It would have been a real mess, had there been logs in the river (like I mentioned last week) and if they made it that far. It might even have plugged that high bridge or taken out the telephone lines that go across above the bridge.

There were other jams in other rivers, including one in the Sacandaga River down by Hope which flooded the highway and trapped one vehicle. It also stranded a few homes as the water backed up outside the river channel around them. Forest Rangers checked on these folks with the air boat to see how they were doing. The temperatures that day again went from in the forties to below zero before dark, which slowed the runoff and froze things tight in my yard before daylight the next day. The culverts didn’t freeze full of ice this time, so they can take the next runoff. I do have heat tapes going through all my culverts that I can plug in and thaw a hole through to get the water started again if they freeze solid. So far in the 22 years we have lived here, I’ve only had to do that once in just one culvert.

The ten inches of snow we got on Friday (Feb. 25) saved the weekend events planned for Inlet and covered the snowmobile and cross-country skiing trails for another weekend. There were washouts and ice coating on many of the trails, but most were usable. Inlet’s Frozen Fire and Lights celebrated its 20th year with a new event, the Outhouse Races on Fourth Lake. The cardboard sled races took place at Fern Park. There were some exciting spills, but everyone got to cross the finish line. I never found out who won, but a couple of cardboard sleds went right into the crowd gathered at the bottom of the hill, taking a few folks by surprise and right off their feet. There were several skaters in the covered pavilion, as the freezing weather saved the ice rink for another week.

Kite flying at The Woods Inn, part of Inlet’s 20th Frozen Fire and Lights event. Photo by Gary Lee.

From there, I went down to Fourth Lake in front of The Woods Inn where the American Kite Fliers Association already had several of their big kites flying. You did not have to worry about enough wind to keep them up as there was a strong freezing wind blowing out of the southwest along with a few snow squalls. The kids came out with the little white kites they had made inside and soon the air was full of kites. You didn’t have to run to get them in the air, all you had to do was to let out some string and they were airborne. Many kids (and even some adults who had never flown a kite) had one in the air…I think they are hooked on kite flying. Right next to the kite flying area was the track for the Outhouse Races. It was cold, so visitors to these little outhouses didn’t sit too long.

There were five contestants, Sh*ts and Giggles by Manzi Construction, Maple Moss by local maple syrup maker Eric Sutherland, Royal Throne by Karl and Jill Marsh owners of The Caboose in Inlet, Code Brown by Scott McClary from Eagle Bay, and last was a walk-on prefabricated outhouse built onsite by the Explorer Boy Scouts. There was a frigid wind blowing and no one wanted to have to sit in the open-air outhouse too long. Three heats were run, and the Boy Scouts’ outhouse broke apart right off the starting line, so someone wasn’t prepared and forgot a nail or bolt somewhere.

Maple Moss forced the Royal Throne into the crowd to win their heat. Sh*ts and Giggles beat Code Brown, but it was as close as a sheet of toilet paper at the finish line. In the final heat, Sh*ts and Giggles (with Julie Manzi piloting) ran away with it. I think someone must have put maple syrup on the skis of Maple Moss which really slowed them down. It was a fun time for this new event with more than 100 spectators freezing their butts off out on the ice. Ice anglers had to be a hardy bunch this winter, but that’s another story. See ya.

Photo at top: Inlet’s 20th Frozen Fire and Lights featured a fun new event, outhouse races. Pictured: Contestants, Sh*ts and Giggles by Manzi Construction, during their victory run. Photo by Gary Lee.

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Gary lives with his wife, Karen, at Eight Acre Wood in Inlet where he was the Forest Ranger for 35 years, working in the Moose River Wild Forest Recreation Area and West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. Now retired, Gary works summers for the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, observing, catching and banding loons. The author of a column Daybreak to Twilight in local papers from 1986 to 2019, he now writes his Outdoor Adventures a weekly blog. In 2008, Gary coauthored a book with John M.C. “Mike” Peterson, "Adirondack Birding- 60 Great Places to Find Birds."

35 Responses

  1. Bill Kitchen says:

    A good bit of wisdom from Gary Lee –
    “If you just listen to Fox News and former President Trump (both who have given praise to what President Putin has done), you need to watch a different channel.”

    There are too many Trumpers in the Adirondacks, unfortunately. One is my Rep in NY-21, Elise Stefanik, who is an embarrassment and needs to be replaced.

    • Susan says:

      If you do not like the people of NY-21, feel free to leave. Elise has majority support here. She is on the right side of our values, morals and ethics.

      • Jeanine says:

        Susan if you are with Elise you do not believe in democracy! Thanks Bill… Trump says Putin is savy? Trump’s out of touch with reality! Comes down to common sense and compassion for the people of Ukraine. Putin is no crazy no matter what station you listen too. Elise isn’t for democracy she goes along with Trump’s lie …The people voted ! Trump lost. How can anyone NOT understand this? Love & respect for the people of Ukraine!

        • Bill Ott says:

          I think Trump would probably have a hard time getting himself elected to the vaulted position of dog-catcher on the Pacific island of Guam.

          • Bill Ott says:

            Dear Melissa Hart,
            I really wish a way could be found to keep this site in the outhouse and out of the Ukraine.

      • Bill Kitchen says:

        “If you just listen to Fox News and former President Trump (both who have given praise to what President Putin has done), you need to watch a different channel.“

        I stand with Gary. Stefanik bows down to Trump.

        • Susan says:

          “Bowing down” is just another way to say that she supports his policies. So how are fuel prices where you live?

          • Bill Kitchen says:

            Yes, Stefanik wholeheartedly supports Trump and everyone should remember that. Trump is just another Putin. We can roll back prices by rolling back sanctions on Putin but I stand with the people of Ukraine. It’s the least we can do.

            Besides, maybe this will help break our addiction to fossil fuels. There was a climate report put out last week that said we are in dire straits. Trump and Stefanik want to Drill Baby Drill, which will be a disaster for future generations.

            • Susan says:

              Climate change/ global warming are just a cover for the real agenda: climate control of every aspect of your life, mandated as a health emergency by the demonic elites who want total power over the masses.

    • Patrick says:

      Or maybe, watch different channels, they all skew the stories to their audience, watch several competitors and try to get balance.

    • JohnL says:

      Is there any thinking person on the planet that believes this Russia/Ukraine thing would be happening at all if the last President was still in office?? That’s what happens when you elect someone who’s ‘not all there’.
      P.S. Hey Gary. You should’ve stuck with the Outhouse Races. That part is a lot more interesting (and factual) than your political rants.
      P.P.S. I’m not in her district, or at least I wasn’t before gerrymandering, but I love what Rep Stefanik had been doing.

  2. Pat Smith says:

    Gary, At a time when we should be coming together to support Ukraine and its people, your snide comment only helps to deepen the divide we face as a nation. I recently saw this quote, maybe you should consider trying this before you write your next article… “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out”.

  3. Hugh says:

    Many thanks and kudos for giving a shout out to Ukrainians v.s. Putin. It’s a sorry situation that could be stopped if someone had the courage to take that dictator down. Heck, we got Bin Laden and other terrorists.

    • JohnL says:

      ‘That dictator’ has thousands of nucleur weapons and the ability to send them at us. We didn’t care what happened to Ukraine, or any of the other former USSR countries and you want to start a nucleur war over them now? That’s the height of craziness.

  4. Patrick says:

    was it really necessary to add the political opinion to the otherwise beautiful commentary of the plight of the Ukrainian people?

    I watch CNN and I also watch FOX news and I read the news online from various sources.

    Like all the other news agencies, FOX news is reporting the invasion of Ukraine as completely unprovoked and being led by a dictator, Putin.

    I believe the author is getting their news from one or only a few sources, and i seriously doubt they ever watch Fox news, even though it has the highest ratings for cable news by far.

    Perhaps they are getting their info from a competing news source that shows clips of night time opinion hosts, which they all do, including Fox news.

    If you want to condemn a news source, perhaps you should actually watch it first.

  5. Susan says:

    Your comment regarding Fox News and President Trump is not only misinformation/ disinformatio/ malinformation/ fake news/ etc., it is an out and out LIE!

  6. Lydia says:

    Be Calm Susan. You are entitled to your opinion, but others are too, we aren’t living in Russia, yet. Even tho it’s raining today why not get outside, take a walk and enjoy our beautiful NY-21.

  7. Worth Gretter says:

    Glad to hear about your amaryllis plants!

    I have 9 of them on a wide, south-facing windowsill, and two just finished blooming. The rest are little bulbs that I split off the parent bulbs, and I don’t think they are going to bloom their first year. But there is always next year.

  8. Jon Valentine says:

    Your apparently ill-informed and/or slanted political opinion regarding Fox and Trump tarnished an otherwise informative and entertaining article. The space wasted for snide remarks might have been better used to provide a link to webpages of groups that are providing assistance to embattled and displaced Ukrainian people.

  9. F Frankenfield says:

    Keep the politics out of this and pray for Ukraine!

  10. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Susan says: “If you do not like the people of NY-21, feel free to leave. Elise has majority support here. She is on the right side of our values, morals and ethics.”

    Which is to imply what Susan? That your values, morals and ethics are superior to others. “Feel free to leave.” A cheap line! !We’ve been hearing it since GW. Very original! Elise has majority support where you are you say, which only means like minds attract! Nothing more!

  11. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Jeanine says: “Trump says Putin is savvy?”

    I have been away from the news, though it is difficult not to hear snippets of the latest here and there as everyone is talking. Last week I heard Trump was all for Putin and the atrocities he was committing, and that Elise was singing the same tune. Then just yesterday I heard Trump changed course (surely due to how unpopular Putin and his atrocities are with most Americans, and the world) and so I can only imagine Stefanik changed her tune too. Am I right? That’s what small people do….they go whichever way the wind blows!

    • Jon Valentine says:

      Charlie Stehlin says: “Last week I heard Trump was all for Putin and the atrocities he was committing, and that Elise was singing the same tune.”
      It would be interesting to see some cited sources especially regarding Elise that support what you “heard”. I have yet to find a reputable source that she has supported Putin, much less any atrocities associated with him .CNN reported on the day of the invasion of Ukraine that Stefanik referred to Putin as a “war criminal” and a “deranged thug”. Before the invasion, Stefanik expressed concern that Biden’s weak leadership and inaction made the world a less safe place. The Biden administration’s foot-dragging with respect to supplying defensive weapons to Ukraine prior to the invasion unfortunately seemed to only embolden Russia to proceed with its invasion plans. Now the free world must do what it can to aid Ukraine and its people in their time of need without triggering a wider and even more destructive war. As I noted in an earlier comment, reporting links to websites that can provide information for aiding Ukraine would have been more productive than unsubstantiated political sniping by the article’s author..

      It’s unfortunate that Gary Lee tainted an otherwise good community article with political mudslinging.

      • Charlie Stehlin says:

        I suppose I heard wrong Jon, but knowing how Elise has bowed down to the ex prez, no matter how despicable his actions, I just assumed. I did say “I heard”…….

        “Biden’s weak leadership.” No matter what he does he will be “weak”, or ” a radical lib”, or whatever the latest put-down is from the other side of the fence. The way you talk it’s all Biden’s fault what is taking shape over in Ukraine. Give it a rest! Our problems are not going away Jon, and this huge division going on in this country is not helping matters. We don’t have to worry much about this country being weakened by outside forces (which is surely in the works) as we will break apart from within which seemingly is the case. I hope I’m wrong on this! It is a very sad affair indeed.

        Evidently Gary is bothered by what is taking shape in Ukraine as many of us are, is why he spoke out in the above piece. More people should speak out as everyone alive on this planet will be effected by Putin’s actions. Gary speaks the truth and you call it political mudslinging.

  12. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Bill Kitchen says: “There was a climate report put out last week that said we are in dire straits. Trump and Stefanik want to Drill Baby Drill, which will be a disaster for future generations.”

    I read a similar report just yesterday Bill. They’ve been warning us for years that a catastrophe is on the way, a warning which has fallen on deaf ears. I mean icebergs have vanished from the face of the earth for crying out loud. Each year we’re breaking record highs. If these won’t convince a fool then a fool is forever more. When people start denying science and believing rich, ideological talk show hosts, or a man who tells his flock to drink disinfectant…… well, what does that say about them? I rest my case!

    • JohnL says:

      There have been climate reports for the past 50-60 years saying we wouldn’t be here today (2022). Cry wolf too often and people won’t believe you.

  13. Charlie Stehlin says:

    “Fox news has the highest ratings for cable news by far.”

    Which is not a thing to make light of! It should worry anybody who has their head screwed on right….and indeed it does!

  14. Charlie Stehlin says:

    “…pray for Ukraine!”

    I wouldn’t stop there! Pray for the world!

    • Balian the Cat says:


      Out of respect for a time when things could actually be discussed in reasonable fashion around here, I respectfully submit:

      Citing Breitbart on anything is silly. Referencing it regarding Climate Change is preposterous. The same can be said for sources which skew the other way, of course, but come on.

      The whole “he isn’t there” argument from anyone who supports Donald Trump is also ridiculous. We had four years of him claiming to be a genius and proving it by correctly picking the image of a cow out of a line-up. I am most certainly not suggesting that Joe Biden is a generational intellect or that his best days aren’t probably behind him – but he can still bring a glass of water to his mouth with one hand and walk down a ramp unassisted.

      Lastly, even Trumps former staffers – remember “only the best people” – have come forward with his being wholly unqualified when it came to foreign affairs. The same guy that tried to get us out of NATO would not have a single thing to say to the Russians which would dissuade them, and that’s not mentioning the fact that he has an infatuation with the strong arm tactics and abilities of monsters like Putin and Kim Jong-un.

      Your right to think and believe as you chose is unassailable and I defend it, but your examples in support of these things won’t hold water in my opinion.

      • JohnL says:

        Going away for the rest of the month so may not be your ‘token right-winger’ for a while.
        Breitbart/Fox/Newsmax are awesome!
        I agree with you that Joe’s best days are behind him. All 45+ years of his government ‘service’. Too bad he doesn’t have any real world experience, like you know who.
        Not sure what you meant about Trump walking down a ramp. You’re not confusing that with Sleepy Joe falling, not once, not twice, but three (3) times going up the stairs on AF1 are you?
        Trump is an unapologetic America First and he governed that way. That’s why Putin didn’t mess with him/us during his time in office.
        Thank you for letting me ‘think and believe’ as I choose. Very magnanimous on your part.
        You can have the last word:

  15. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Balian! I feel your angst and I know what it’s like to talk to a wall, which will get you much further by the way. There is hope though so don’t give up. There’s just too many smart people in this country for it to fail. We just need to somehow get them in positions of power so as to have an effect, to take down the walls and start building bridges. To get more Americans to vote, not suppress them from voting….like good old America was once about…………………….