Posts Tagged ‘camping’

Monday, September 6, 2021

Smoke On the Water

A True Adirondack Lake Rescue Story

smoke on the water

“Smoke on the Water, Fire in the Sky”

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.

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Friday, August 13, 2021

Dill Pickle Pike: A fast camp favorite

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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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Weather Permitting: Reflections on a wet camping trip

I can recall a time when there were still tent platforms on all the prime spots along the shores of Lower & Middle Saranac lakes. Despite being built on state land, they all had “POSTED” signs. Engraved family signs hung on the doors of what had originally been intended as public camping sites. Many had docks, propane tanks, generators, all the trappings of private camps. Some had been occupied by the same family for more than a generation. Many of them had become quite elaborate.

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Friday, July 9, 2021

Green camping tips

packing tipsKeep these tips in mind when packing your suitcase or backpack:

  • Do-it-yourself (DIY) travel-size toiletries. Save small containers, rinse them out, and fill with shampoo, conditioner, and other products needed for your trip. Reuse for your future packing needs.
  • Pack a cooler. Bring beverages and snacks from home — this can reduce waste since many convenience items are packaged.
  • Pro-tip: save cans and bottles so you can get your 5-cent deposit back.
  • Use solar power. Small solar power banks are available for travel to charge phones and other electronics.

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Saturday, June 26, 2021

DEC releases final management plan for Hinckley Reservoir

hinckley day use areaThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the finalization of the Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area. The DEC intends to transform the Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area into a public campground, available for use in the southwestern Adirondacks.

The campground will be located on the southern shore of the Hinckley Reservoir in Herkimer County, and will include a beach, woods, a pavilion, a spacious lawn, a picnic area and a volleyball court. The UMP will call for the construction of 150 campsites, a boat launch, and miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as access and loop roads, and a comfort station.

“Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area is already a popular spot providing access to outdoor recreation for many visitors,” said Randall C. Young, Region 6 Regional Director. “Enhancing the facilities at this location will increase opportunities for recreation at Hinckley and expand the number of people who can enjoy this beautiful location.”

Read more about the plans to enhance recreation at Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area on DEC’s website.


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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Thursday, May 27, 2021

Campers urged to ‘buy local’ when it comes to firewood

firewood check pointState’s Firewood Regulations Limit Firewood Movement to Protect New York Forests

With the start of the 2021 camping season underway, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid have encouraged campers to use local firewood and follow New York State firewood regulations to help prevent the spread of invasive species. Untreated firewood – firewood that has not met the state’s heat treatment standard – can contain invasive pests that kill trees. To protect New York’s forests, untreated firewood should not be moved more than 50 miles from its source of origin.

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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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Friday, May 21, 2021

DEC Announces Start of 2021 Camping Season

frontier town state campgroundNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that DEC’s 56 campgrounds and Day Use areas will be open to the public on May 21. Reservations for the 2021 camping season are at an all-time high as more New Yorkers and visitors from out of state prepare to head outdoors to take advantage of recreational opportunities in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves.

In addition and in preparation for the upcoming camping season, DEC announced improvements at campgrounds across the state to help improve the visitor experience. While two DEC campgrounds opened earlier this spring-Wilmington Notch in Essex County on May 7, and Fish Creek in Franklin County on April 2-most DEC campgrounds open on May 21, the weekend prior to the Memorial Day Holiday.

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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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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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