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/
“Adirondack Dinosaurs are far from extinct. In fact, certain species are quietly expanding their territory, migrating. Ancient carnivores slowly reclaiming what was once their domain. Patiently biding their time while they plot their next move. Watching us. Waiting to reclaim their Adirondack apex predator throne.”
Ever since I was a young boy, there have always been three things I’ve dreamed of being when I grow up: major league baseball player, writer, archeologist.
These classic song lyrics from Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of The EdmundFitzgerald” haunt the forefront of my mind as I put pen to page in an effort to somehow capture the events of this true Adirondack Outlaw father/son canoe mounted duck hunt survival story.
Fantastic fall foliage. NYS DEC Forest Ranger rescue tales. A hike along Paul Smith College VIC trails with wife, family, and our own troop of “Paw Patrol” canine companions. Adirondack memories reflected, shared, and new ones made at the VIC.
My non-hunting brother uttered those words, as he sat dining fireside one early September lake evening.
Taking advantage of the special early NYS military/veteran’s waterfowl hunt, I had experienced success, and bagged several ducks. What good is hunter’s bounty not shared? So, I called up my brother;
“If you want a “Camp Chef” duck dinner, meet me up on the lake. I’ve got my spices, some olive oil, butter, and an onion already. Bring a frying pan, spatula, some scallions, and a fork. I’ll kindle a fire. When you get up this way, just look for the smoke.”
I didn’t have to ask twice. There were no leftovers.
Author’s Note: It’s hard to believe that my 1970’s childhood was a half a century ago. As I look back, which I seem to do as time passes with increasing frequency, I cannot help but thinking:
“Life Adirondack for kids growing up was so much simpler back then. We didn’t get criminal arrest records for every heinous kid crime, like playing down by the river and chucking a few rocks at some ducks. Police gave kids stern warnings. When it came to kid enforcement, our MOMS were the law!
If I & my neighborhood crew of Adirondack Outlaws had been held to the same societal standards for kids that exist today, by the time we were teenagers, we’d have all collectively been sent to reform school, never again to see light of day.”
Author’s Note: Greetings. I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone. Your reads, RETWEETS, FACEBOOK shares, compliments & comments have all been so all greatly appreciated. I especially want to thank Editor Melissa Hart & all the great folks at Adirondack Explorer & here at The Adirondack Almanack. I have truly enjoyed the opportunity they have given me to share some of my adventures & stories with all of you.
“Adirondack lean-tos are so much more than simple cedar log structures built in the woods.”
“The Bull Rush Bay lean-to is scheduled some time later this month to be demolished and replaced.”
This news hit me like a heavy weight title fight sucker punch in the gut. I’ve been barely able to catch my breath since I first heard this news in a reader comment to my most recent Adirondack Almanack story, “Smoke on the Water,” posted just last week.
Those famous lyrics may have meant one thing when they helped propel the 1970’s band Deep Purple to worldwide Rock n’ roll stardom, but to someone paddling a canoe on a wilderness lake in the Adirondacks, they quickly took on an entirely different meaning, as a group of young canoeists was about to find out.
It was the summer of 2012, and the Monroe family, as has become tradition over the past 40 plus years, once again established camp at our favorite spot near the mouth of the river flowing from the middle of the chain of Saranac Lakes, the site officially designated on the DEC reservation web page as “site 63”, but affectionately known by the locals as “Bull Rush Bay.”
Having grown up in the Adirondacks, worked, hunted and hiked the high peaks, done a stint in the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, graduated Army Ranger School- I take pride in my hardiness and skills in the woods; nights spent alone under the stars, packing only an Adirondack woodsman’s most essential tools, matching wits with Mother Nature, the elements, and high peaks terrain.
How the Adirondack Park Agency lead counsel’s legal shenanigans denied the Environmental Conservation Department a canoe racing victory
The year was 1977. I was 13 years old. It was the summer before I entered my freshman year at Saranac Lake High School. My Dad, Tom Monroe, had just been appointed in April by Commissioner Berle as DEC’s (then referred to as “Encon”) Region 5 Regional Director, following the long and distinguished career of the legendary William E. Petty.
Most of us have reoccurring dreams. Some of them are pleasant, some less so. Psychologists write books about them, and each of us probably spends time puzzling over their meaning. I think few of us ever expect them to come true, or even want them to come true. Who really wants to show up in public in their underwear? There are exceptions, moments when dreams do come true, if even only for a moment. One of those moments, and those dreams, happened for me, while I was a young man, living and working in the Adirondack High Peaks.
My brother and I, circa 1969, at our Dock on the Sacandaga by our boat with a stringer full of walleyes we caught with our dad.
“While many a pickled pepper peck Peter Piper may have indeed picked, I ponder: How many pickled pecks would have Piper picked if perhaps Peter were picking dill pickle pike.”
My first youthful pike encounter was actually with walleyed pike, as opposed to great northerns. I’m not even sure Walleyes are technically really a true “pike”. Pickled or otherwise, I believe they are more a cross between a pickerel and a perch.
My Dad, younger brother and I used to fish the walleye run on the Great Sacandaga. We’d troll up and down, back and forth on the river, near where we kept Dad’s boat tied to our floating dock, out behind our rented grey stucco house, just above the bridge. We trolled with yellow bucktails in Dad’s little Starcraft, at first putt-putting along with my Grandad’s old 5 HP Scott-At-Water. Somewhere along the line, Dad upgraded to a new 20 HP Johnson that started a lot easier and worked a lot better.
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