Almanack Contributor Richard Monroe

Richard Monroe

Lifelong NYS resident. Raised in Saranac Lake. Cornell graduate(ROTC). Army veteran, Airborne/Ranger qualified, 10th Mtn Div, stints in Honduras and with JTF VI. 3rd degree Black Belt; 3x cancer survivor; published writer with several featured stories in Adirondack Life Magazine. Residing in Watertown NY with wife Robin & our 3 adult children. Loving Life. Living in the Day I am in. Follow my adventures at https://adirondackoutlaw.com/


Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Hidden Value of Brush Piles

brush pile and wildlife

A Wildlife Investment

I honed my trail maintenance skills as a young man on a DEC Trail crew team in the Adirondack high peaks.  There I learned a wide variety of valuable skills and techniques, everything from axemanship, to two-man blowdown clearing bowsaw skills, crafting freshly felled cedar trees into water bars, ladders and stringer bridges. I even studied the mystic art of building bases for trailside privies.

One thing that I never gave much thought to back then, as we braved blackfly blitzkriegs, dragging evergreen mountains of hand cut logs, branches and brush clear of mile after mile of winding high peaks trails, was the value resident non-hiking boot clad denizens found in the tangled mass branches we discarded as refuse.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

A “Totally ‘80’s” trip down memory lane

totally 80s ice palace

Saranac Lake’s 2022 Winter Carnival was great fun.

A “Totally ‘80’s” trip down memory lane.

My wife Robin and I had already had great fun driving over together to enjoy Winter Carnival. We toured the Ice Palace, took a ride back to the future, posed for some photos (Well, mostly I did). I went “Butt Bobsledding.”

      The Bobsled run was ice palace slick. It was clearly no mission for amateurs! I was undaunted. After a tailbone bruising start coming out of the gate, I quickly recovered, burned down through Shady and Zig-Zag like a Bat Outta Hell, set a new Butt Bobsledding land speed record, AND stuck the landing to bring home the gold.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 13, 2022

Adirondack Outlaw romance: A Trail of Broken Hearts

valentines day

An Adirondack Outlaw: Wandering Lost in Love’s Wilderness

There’s a mystic trail in these mountains. Myths, tragedies, and harrowing rescue tales surround it. It’s not marked on any map. Old timers who’ve survived its trek issue stern warnings to those yearning to follow.  Legends say it reaches skyward beyond Marcy’s peak to the clouds.

It’s well known, yet elusive. It begins near heart’s lake. It is rugged, treacherous, and steep. Many outlaw souls have attempted its route.

Most brave harts who sought never found it. Of those who somehow did, most quickly got lost in the woods, others got dizzy and disoriented, many broke down in tears, some found themselves mired waist deep in a swamp, quite a few just plain quit.

Most who survived the journey bore scars for life.

Legends say it’s a trail littered with broken hearts.

More than a few are my own.  » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 11, 2022

Getting Rid of the Box

collie and richard, thinking outside the box

An Adirondack Outlaw Survivor Approach To Living Life Forward

We’ve all heard the phrase “Think outside the box.”  It’s all too frequently offered as a euphemism for innovative thinking or creative problem solving.  It’s even been used by many “experts” as a foundation philosophy for a long list of bestselling books.

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Monday, January 31, 2022

Don’t Touch The Buttons

winter carnival buttons

Author’s Note: It’s almost that time! Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival approaches (Feb 4th-13th). One of the highlights of winter.  Their 2022 theme is “Totally ‘80’s”. Ice Palace Construction is underway. Winter Carnival Parade plans are being made. Carnival King & Queen & the carnival court will soon be announced. This year’s Winter Carnival buttons are for sale.

A few years back, as we quite often do, my wife Robin and I took a weekend day trip from our Watertown home up to Saranac Lake.  We planned to see the Winter Carnival Ice Palace, then meet our son RJ and his then girlfriend Carrie for lunch. RJ was in his senior year at Paul Smith’s College.  Carrie was a Junior. They are now both graduated and engaged to be married. Quite the Paul Smith’s alumni pair.

We visit Saranac Lake frequently. It’s where my father lies buried. It’s where I grew up. I still refer to our weekend excursions to Saranac Lake as trips “home.”

» Continue Reading.


Friday, January 28, 2022

Bail bonds: Memories from an Adirondack Outlaw’s youth

bail bond

Author’s Note: This story appeared in Adirondack Life Magazine’s July/August 2019 issue. It began on page 77, under the heading “Shenanigans”.  It’s the only one of  my five “Adirondack Life” stories published under its original title, without major edit. It was also the last one of my stories that Adirondack Life Magazine ever published.

Saranac Lake-1975.  Before the Winter Olympics came back.  Before the village beach moved.  Before fast food and gas station mini-marts arrived.  Before “Saranac Lake Redskins” became The Red Storm.  Before Hotel Saranac closed.  Before Super Fund Clean Up Sites.  Before Aldi’s came.  Before St. Pius left.  Before.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, January 14, 2022

Postcard Picturesque

Small Town Adirondack Life Captured on Camera

jackie ely cat

A Collaboration Featuring Photography by Jackie Ely

My SLHS ‘81 Classmate & Friend   

Reflecting back now, I suppose it’s just one of the realities of life. Even in the small-town Adirondacks that most of us reside or grew up in, it’s surprisingly easy to live without ever really knowing the majority of our fellow citizens, classmates, or neighbors.

Everyone knows everyone’s first name. We say “Hello”, even wave. But we don’t really get to know each other.  Growing up in Saranac Lake was no different.

Our Saranac Lake High School Class of 1981 graduated one hundred and seventy- four students, a HUGE graduating class by Saranac Lake standards. I can honestly say I really knew about ten of them.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, January 7, 2022

Raising A Glass! From an antique bottle

cut bottles

Celebrating my Adirondack Bottle Diving adventure forward into 2022

This past year brought what appeared to be an exciting culmination point in my three-year Adirondack bottle diving adventure.

First, I discovered a one- of- a- kind vintage Saranac Lake “F.M. Bull” glass & wood stopper pharmacy bottle. Then, Historic Saranac Lake Museum’s Archivist/Curator, Chessie Monks-Kelly, and I joined forces in an endeavor that culminated not only in that F.M. Bull bottle being on display in their pharmacy bottle collection, but also in twenty-five more of my antique Saranac Lake “Collins Brothers” bottles being made available in a very successful fundraising effort through Historic Saranac Lake’s museum store.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Enterprising Lads

enterprising lads

In Honor of Old Newsboys Everywhere.

 We All Started Somewhere.

We moved to Saranac Lake from Lake Placid in the summer of ’73.  I had just finished 4th grade.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Winter 2021 Views Through a Henge

solstice

I don’t claim to be any expert on henges. I’ve simply always found henges to be intriguingly cool. So, one summer I built one, using hand cut stones from old farmhouse and barn foundations on my land.

We all know “Stonehenge”. But what truly is a “henge”? I did some research before building mine.  From my study of henges, I determined that most henges are basically a big circle of stones.  They are not all built the same way, but they share similar purpose. In a nutshell, it appears most henges are constructed to measure and celebrate the comings and goings of seasons.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Santa’s Spirit Revisited

christmas 1973December 1976: I must have been about thirteen years old at the time. We lived in Saranac Lake. I was in 8th grade Middle School at Petrova.

Our family attended the Methodist Church in town. My parents were members there. Much to my chagrin, we went to church regularly. My brother and I, (somewhat begrudgingly on my part), started every Sunday morning with an hour at Sunday School, all spiffed up in our Sunday best, before heading upstairs to join our parents for a whole ‘nother hour of church service. I would MUCH rather have spent Sunday mornings upstairs in my bedroom listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on my radio.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, December 17, 2021

Roast Grinch: A holiday feast

holiday grinch roast

So, you’ve been doing some hunting, managed to bag a few Grinches!  Congratulations!  NOW What??

Well, I wanted to take a moment and offer some suggestions and an easy original Grinch recipe from my own Whoville Santa’s chef pantry.

Now – Whoville Santa is a firm believer that proper Roast Grinch preparation begins in the sleigh.  He recommends that once you bag a Grinch- field dress it right away!

» Continue Reading.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Truth is stranger than fiction, so too is life’s circle

full circle

I don’t know if this little story’s “bona fidis” qualify it as authentically blue-line “Adirondack.” I guess I’ll leave it to others to decide that. What I do know is this. Regardless of geography, truth is quite frequently stranger than fiction. Each day in life’s circle re-proves that.

At this point it should surprise no one to know that my father, Tom Monroe, spent his career in the NYSDEC. I have frequently referenced this rise through the ranks while writing my numerous Adirondack adventures and stories. From 1974 until 1994, when he finally retired, he served as Region V’s Regional Director. As a result, my brother and I were raised within and by our dad’s DEC family.

Life moved on. I grew up, went away to college, served time the army. My father retired. My DEC roots faded from view.  My wife Robin and I met, married and settled in Watertown.  We bought a house there, settled down, went to work raising our three children.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, December 3, 2021

One Eyed Jacks and a fateful night at Meadowbrook

“A crew of hardy young Adirondack men, a deck of playing cards, a cabin, a pair of “One Eyed Jacks”, a whiskey bottle, & a shot glass”

whiskey and one eyed jacks

     It was getting late. Time measured by the near empty whiskey bottle and battalion of “dead soldier” beer bottles standing in neatly rowed formation on the floor in one corner.

We were young Adirondack men, sitting around a worn deck of playing cards at a table in a cigar smoke filled cabin after an honest day’s work.  Young men discussing recent adventures with women and fishing as we collectively evolved our individual world views.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Poem: One Night, Adirondack

adirondack night

One Night, Adirondack

How Much Would You Pay

For One Night of Quiet Solitude

By A Crackling Campfire

Under the Stars

» Continue Reading.



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