Almanack Contributor Laura Bellinger

I am a retired teacher who enjoys the outdoors, especially the Adirondacks. My parents took us camping when we were kids, then we attended 4-H Camp in Speculator (a former CCC camp). As an adult, I served on the Camp board for 8 years. I went to my friend's camp in Bloomingdale (Saranac) for 10 years. We enjoyed cross country skiing, canoeing, fishing, snowshoeing, etc. I still hike, cross country and downhill ski, snowshoe. I bicycle and ride a Harley. I play the organ at a 300 year old church.


Friday, April 12, 2024

Experiencing the eclipse at ADKX with friends, including an ADK first-timer

Two people wear eclipse glasses and hold up signs

My friends, Rosemary and David, joined me to view the eclipse from the ADKX in Blue Mountain Lake. Thankfully, we had an uneventful ride there. David lives in Williamstown, MA, and this was his first time in the Adirondacks. Rosemary had taken this ride with me before, so we pointed out lakes and landmarks, including Pig Rock. The only short congestion we encountered was at the intersection in Indian Lake. We made it to the museum and staked out a spot. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Museum staff were helpful and friendly, as were the guests around us.

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Monday, April 8, 2024

Like Father, like Daughter: Harris Stearns’ war memoir a must-read for history buffs

Memories from the Forgotten War book cover

My father (Elwyn “Pete” Bellinger) recently called to say hello and then to reminisce about Garoga, where he grew up with three brothers and one sister.  My Dad’s father, Frank, and brother, Frank (“Sonny,”) helped build the first Rockwood-Garoga-Lasselsville firehouse. During our conversation, my father asked if I had ever heard of Harris Stearns, or his book, Memories From The Forgotten War. My father knew Stearns and seeing him walking one night, gave him a ride home on his motorcycle.

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Sunday, March 31, 2024

An Early Spring Irving Pond Cross-Country Ski Trip

I decided to take advantage of Saturday’s (March 23) snow dump and go cross-country skiing today, March 26. Last year when I tried to ski, the sole fell off a pair of brand new boots that had been in my closet. Since 3 pin boots are no longer an option, a local shop put new bindings on my 80s skis (which I refuse to part with). Good thing I tried to put the new boots in the new bindings before I left the house! I could not figure them out–I finally had to watch a video because once one boot was in, I could not figure out how to release it.

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Friday, March 1, 2024

Naughty Girls Snowshoeing/Hiking Weekend

Four women in snowshoes by Indian Lake

Every year, a subgroup of the Mohawk Valley Alpiners hiking club, the Naughty Girls, spend a weekend at Troost Lodge [at] Camp Fowler, for a snowshoe adventure. This year’s trip fell on Feb. 9-11. I had heard stories [about this trip], but was invited for the first time this year so [I] was not sure what to expect. My mother and I skied at Oak [Mountain], then wandered around the former Zeiser’s Hotel, now Tracy’s Rustic Relics, to use up time until we could check in to Camp.

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Monday, February 12, 2024

Trekking through Rockwood State Forest

Rockwood State Forest sign.

Today, [Saturday, Jan. 27] I joined members of the Alpiners hiking club for a trek through part of the Rockwood State Forest in Fulton County. It was 35 degrees [with zero] precipitation as compared to last Saturday’s 4 degrees!  We were prepared with both snowshoes and microspikes.  Because it has been fairly warm and so rainy, we decided we only needed the spikes and hiking poles. Piper the Wonder Dog and Nikki also joined in the fun.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Speculator: Oak Mountain Memories

oak mountain ski lift

As everyone knows, it’s been a tough winter for outdoor enthusiasts.  I like to ski on Fridays and the recent pattern seems to be a good storm Sunday through Monday, then by Friday, it’s been 40 degrees and rain.  I took a chance and drove to my favorite mountain on a recent morning.  Thankfully, the conditions were amazing. Well groomed, hard packed, and fast, but not crusty or icy. Everyone looked like an Olympian!

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Sunday, January 14, 2024

Ringing in the New Year with a polar plunge

woman in fur coat and hat on a balcony

My friend and I rang in the new year by polar plunging! I started [polar plunging] in 2007 in Lake George and continued for 4 or 5 years.  Then a friend and I started plunging in Caroga Lake. One year we were in Old Forge for New Year’s Eve. When we woke up, it was a true 23 below [zero] before the windchill.  The hotel parking lot was full of trucks, trailers, and snowmobiles, none of which would start. Many cars were lined up at the gas station to fill tires with air. We called the Caroga plunge coordinator all the way home, hoping it would be cancelled. By the time we got there, the temperature had warmed up to a balmy zero degrees…so in we went!

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Friday, December 8, 2023

Poetry: Thundersnow

Birds at feeders

THUNDERSNOW

 

At the feeder,

cold and hungry,

birds of a different feather

flocked together,

creating a temporary

neighborhood of necessity.

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Monday, November 27, 2023

The relaxing experience of a sound healing session

Sound healing session instructor

Recently, an announcement for a sound healing experience at the ADKX appeared in my email.  So I thought, what the heck? Let’s try it! My friend [Rosemary] does not do yoga or meditate.  She is a retired hard-nosed investigative journalist who has lived and reported around the world.  So, she wasn’t sure how she would feel about this “full body sound massage.” I don’t really practice “wellness” activities either, but [I] did walk the new ASA Adirondack Labyrinth in October, so [I] thought this might be a good follow up.

 

Therefore, on Sunday, November 19, Rosemary drove about an hour from Sand Lake to my home in Ephratah.  We drove another hour and a half to Blue Mountain Lake. (Of the approximately 15 guests, it was determined we traveled the farthest.) We arrived a little early, so [we] watched Andrea Lisette Villiere of Sound Healing Adirondacks set up her “instruments” of crystal and copper bowls, gongs, etc.

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Monday, October 16, 2023

A visit to Asa Adirondack Labyrinth

Asa Adirondack Labyrinth.

My mother and I met Christine Powers at the Adirondack Labyrinth a little after 9 a.m. this morning [ October 11.] It was a chilly day in Johnsburg in a beautiful setting with birch trees, two ponds, and the babbling Kibby Creek. There was a sign instructing us to park outside the gate, sign in, and walk to the gazebo.  There was a lovely (much welcomed) fire. Christine greeted us, [and] offered chairs and blankets. We were scheduled for last Saturday, but it poured all day, so Christine was gracious enough to invite us for an early appointment today.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Poetry: On the Porch with Lily

Stray cat on a chair

Upon waking at midnight.

I look outside

to see if the little unhoused calico

is sleeping on “her” wicker chair.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Poem: Day’s End

cardinal

DAY’S END

Relaxing on the porch

with book and drink

is my reward

for persevering

through a myriad of chores.

The sharp, incessant chirp

of a nearby cardinal

makes me think

we both enjoy the rain.


Monday, September 11, 2023

Poetry: Heat Lightning

Lightning

Heat Lightning:

All day, meteorologists promised extreme storms.
Tonight, the atmosphere is grumbling,
clearing its throat, and posturing,
like a featherweight boxer
feinting,
trying to seem larger and tougher
than he is.

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Thursday, August 31, 2023

Poetry: Reading Outside Near the Crab Apple Tree

Crab apple tree

The wind is especially strong today,

its invisible hands shaking the crab apple

like a snow globe.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2023

A perfect day just outside the Adirondack Park

plaque for Italian Oven in Little Falls
A friend and I prepared a jam packed itinerary last Saturday.
We began at the original Beaversprite. We saw Dorothy Richards’ home, listened to the babbling brook, spotted a deer, many wildflowers and butterflies.
The Utica Zoo is now in charge of Beaversprite.  We drove to the nature center at Belden’s Corners where we found walking trails, more wildflowers, and more butterflies.
We filled our water jugs at the Dolgeville spring, then toured the Violet Festival.  Homes were decorated in violet bows, flowers, lights, etc.  We went through the Daniel Green Mill to ooh and ahh over the flower show. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolge_Company_Factory_Complex
Next, we were awed by the hundreds(?) of varieties of African violets, begonias, and orchids at the Lyndon Lyons Greenhouse. The owner explained that there are not many violet greenhouses like his left in the US.  This greenhouse even sends hundreds of violets to the Virginia Beach Botanical Gardens! I never even knew this jewel was right in our backyard. https://www.lyndonlyon.com/


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