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.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

An Adirondack Engagement

engagedI remember our orientation day visit to Paul Smith’s College with our son RJ as he prepared to enter his freshman year as a Wildlife Sciences major there.

It was August 2017. RJ had been accepted into Paul Smith’s Wildlife Sciences program. He wanted to follow his grandfather’s footsteps and become a Forest Ranger. My wife and I were so proud.

We had visited the campus several times prior to that day.  RJ had fallen in love with it from the start. So had we, as his parents. Who wouldn’t? It was perfect. A small college campus nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, on the shore of a lake. A place where students could bring boats, kayaks & canoes, go hunting, hiking or fishing, study trees, fish & wildlife, learn to make maple syrup, where they could simply open their dorm room window and smell that cool mountain air balsam breeze.

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

Bear Dance pt 3: The final standoff

black bearPart III: The Bear Dance

Editor’s note: This is part two of a three-part series. Click here for Part 1 and for Part 2

July 28th-8am-My cell phone rang. It was Ray.  “Hey- got a call last night from my neighbor- he’s camped on site 66, just above us.  He said “BEAR!” Came about 4am.  He says they tried yelling at it, but it completely ignored them.   So  they shot fireworks at it- That’s all they had.  He said he thought there might be two.  They saw the small one.   I’ve got the chickens and the pontoon boat- what’s the plan?”

“Robin, Mom and I will meet you at the State Bridge at 11.  We’ll go cook chickens.  Anyone staying with you tonight?  You’re gonna have bears.”

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Camp report: Here’s what it’s looking like on Middle Saranac

camping at middle saranac lake

Courtesy of: Your Friendly Neighborhood Adirondack Outlaw

Greetings! As I made a quick trip out from camp for a food/water re-supply before heading back in for a long stint in camp through the Memorial Day holiday with our family, I thought a quick scouting report might be something folks find useful as they prepare to head into the Adirondacks for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Bear Dance: Keeping watch over the campsite

black bearPart II : Bear Watch

Editor’s note: This is part two of a three-part series. Click here for Part 1

July 12, late afternoon- my phone rang.  It was Ray.  “Hey- listen, the only day I can get in here overnight this weekend is Saturday- just me- what’s your plan?”

He seemed a little uneased at the prospect of a night in camp alone.  I couldn’t blame him.  We’d already been visited 3 times by the bear. Twice in one night.  Twice while we were there.

“I’ll be there on Saturday.  I’ll row in- late evening.  We’ll fish, camp out in the lean to, build a bonfire, and fend off the bears.”

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Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Bear Dance: A Three Part Camp Adventure

American black bearPart I :  Bear Essentials

Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 3:30 pm-  My cell phone rang.   It was my brother Ray, calling from the lean to on Bull Rush Bay.

“Hey- I’m in camp for the day.   Pepper’s with me. Two food bins are missing from the lean to and  the Yeti is tipped over.”

We ran down the list of potential culprits- vandals, raccoons, bears.  Missing food bins didn’t fit any known raccoon MO. It would have taken Racczilla to tip over that Yeti.  Scratch raccoons.  That left two suspects- vandals, or bears.

I said “Vandals would have stolen the Yeti, and the beer.  Bears leave drag marks.  Be careful, especially with that pup!  Keep your eyes peeled for drag marks. Call me back.”

3:42 pm.  My phone rang again.

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

You don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy this camp dinner

A Great Pre-Cooked First Night In Camp Meal

*Author’s Note: As we look all eagerly look forward to packing our gear and heading into camp, I thought I’d share a Monroe family “First Night in Camp” meal tradition: “Hunter’s Stew.”

 I first drafted this piece shortly after my “Cliff the Bear” story was featured by Adirondack Life magazine for the second time (once in print, once on-line). For a variety of reasons, I never submitted it.

Sometimes writing, like a good recipe, has to sit & simmer awhile. This one has, so I thought now might be a good time. I hope folks enjoy it. I know everyone, hunter and non-hunter alike, who visits our camp for a meal sure does!

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

An ‘Adirondack Outlaw’ at Cornell

my elegant friend imageCornell University; Fall-1981: There I was. Fresh from the mountains of Saranac Lake.   I stuck out like the proverbial “sore thumb”.

     Flannel clad, black fly bitten, Saranac Lake Redkins football sweat drenched –   Mountain lake washed, wild blueberry fed, bug dope DEET stenched. 

     Elegant??  I was anything but.

      I had applied to Paul Smith’s – still a two-year school then – been accepted.  Paul Smith’s College was always my plan – major in Forestry – follow my DEC Dad.

     Then came a road trip with Dad, down to Ithaca.  We met with Dick Booth, Dad’s old colleague and friend, who was by then a Cornell Professor.  Professor Booth showed us the campus, then took us to lunch.

  We toured Cornell, viewed the gorge & the falls.  That was it- I was hooked.  I picked up applications.  Every plan changed.  I somehow got accepted-Army ROTC scholarship- full ride.  My future was booked.  I was going big time, all my Paul Smith’s College plans cast aside.

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Serenade of the loon and the journey of healing

Loon

(All loon photos courtesy of Peggy Ivimey)

*A Brief Author’s Note: I first drafted “Serenade of the Loon” several years back. I had plans to submit it to Adirondack Life magazine, but lacked the loon photographs I felt I needed to complete it. so I never did.

Peggy Ivimey and I graduated from Saranac Lake High School together. She still lives in the Saranac Lake area, where she is a photographer specializing in loon & eagle photography on Lake Colby and throughout the Tri-Lakes area. I’m sure many of you already know Peggy and her top notch Adirondack bird imagery. When I first saw it, I found her photography’s high quality striking. In my humble opinion, some of the very best work I’ve seen.

Long story short, we recently reconnected via Facebook and decided to collaborate. “Serenade of The Loon” is the result.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Camp improv: Lemonade Bass

The Monroe familyFor our family, like most firmly rooted within The Blue Line, the equation is simple:

Summer + Camping x Kids = FISHING!

When my son RJ was 4, he was out fishing one morning at Bull Rush Bay with his “Gramps”.

Gramps overheard RJ humming to himself, singing a little tune while they fished.  When they returned to camp, Gramps wrote RJ’s lyrics down.  They went like this:

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Wild Turkey Soup: A camp favorite

wild turkey soup

A Camp Chef Recipe Favorite

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 Wild Turkey: The Story

   My Dad and I never hunted wild turkeys while I was growing up. Turkey populations were nearly nonexistent in the 1970’s Adirondack region.  My father and I had no turkey hunting season. Thus, for many years my soup pot was empty. My high peaks camp world had not yet discovered the wonders of Wild Turkey Soup.

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Spring’s promise

 

spring melt

Winter’s Winds Wild

Ice Trickles Flow

Melting Deep Drifted

Sunlight Bright On White Snow

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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Olympic Outlaws: Memories from ’80

1980 olympicsI first met Chris in the spring of 1978.  We were both freshman milers on the Saranac Lake track team.  I ran track because I got cut from the baseball team.  Chris ran track because girls ran track too.  His reason quickly became mine.  We were soon best friends, and have been so since.

By fall 1979 Chris and I were juniors.  We played Redskins football in the fall.  I still could not make the baseball team, so in the spring, we both still ran track too.  In between, we spent our days sharing yet another mutual interest- hunting rabbits.

Once football season ended and the snow settled in, after school we spent afternoons and weekends chasing snowshoe rabbits through thick conifers swamps.  Chris had an old Mossberg.  I had my Dad’s vintage Ithaca, both pumps.  Chris had an Airedale named Murphy that he claimed was a rabbit dog, but I had my doubts.

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