One of the most wonderful experiences in life is the impossible happening. Perhaps it is an amazing coincidence or an incident that defies the laws if time and space; perhaps it is an unexpected moment of fame; maybe it is a miraculous cure or a cheat of death that should never have been able to happen.
Whatever the circumstances it seems that most people have had at least one impossible happening in the narrative of their lives, whether real or imagined. I think that such happenings are at base romantic. We yearn for them, seek them out and even create them because in romance – in the broad sense of the word – we find meaning that affirms the richest parts of our humanity.
The luckiest among us might experience an impossible happening that is romantic to the core. I had such an impossible happening a few years ago and as it turns out it is an Adirondack story. » Continue Reading.
There is a well-known story included in the wonderful Adirondack Reader (a collection everyone on the planet should own, in my humble opinion), which happens to be one of my favorite Adirondack tales. It is a narrative account of the journey of a young teacher and his student on the Raquette River in 1843 when its course was still largely unknown to the white man. Teacher and student made it as far as they could on a raft until they were stopped by debris clogging the river near approaching rapids. There on the banks they were come upon by the soon-to-be-famous guide Mitchell Sabattis. Sabattis and party agreed to guide the young travelers, saving them from their predicament.
The two men needed a proper craft to continue their voyage, so Sabattis and his companions built them a canoe. They selected a tall conifer with a straight trunk and a diameter of a foot-and-a-half and felled it. From that trunk they easily spudded off a sheet of bark roughly five by fifteen feet in dimension. With careful cuts of the outer layer of the bark they folded the whole into a canoe shape, then sowed it in place using the roots of the very same tree as thread. To seal the threads and make the craft watertight they chewed the sap of this tree and made gum which they pushed into the holes. Thus it was that one tree – a conifer of marvelous qualities – supplied the hull of a canoe that carried four men and their gear down the rapids of the Raquette River. » Continue Reading.
This year the Raquette River Blueway Corridor’s Advisory Committee will be hosting several events throughout the corridor during Raquette River Awareness Week (Saturday, July 28th through Saturday, August 4th) to highlight the assets the Raquette River has to offer.
A variety of events held in communities all along the river will feature the grand opening celebration of a canoe access trail to the Raquette River near Moody Falls in Sevey Corners and will be punctuated with three screenings of “The Raquette River Experience”, a travel documentary on the Raquette River produced by the Raquette River Blueway Corridor’s partner, WPBS-DT, Watertown, NY. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have announced a plan to update the popular Second Pond Boat Launch on Route 3 in Harrietstown, part of a 10.5-acre Intensive Use Area that provides key access to the Saranac Lakes. A part of the plan includes a land swap with the adjacent High Peaks Wilderness Area.
The DEC is planning to rebuild and expand the boat launch and resurface the parking area, including the addition of a new firewood storage building, the removal of an old cabin, and the construction of a new registration booth and invasive species kiosk. According to press reports a boat washing station, considered important to prevent the spread of invasive species by boaters, was not included in the plan. » Continue Reading.
If all has gone according to plan, while you are reading this Saturday morning I will be having breakfast with my friend Vinny. Vinny sprained his ankle on a trail run some weeks ago and has been nursing it back to health. As many of you surely know, a sprain can be a tricky thing, more severe and with a longer healing time than a broken bone, so it is taking some time.
I’m hoping that by this morning I will find Vinny has recovered sufficiently to be able to join us for a hike into Lost Brook Tract. But this is no certain thing, for there have been setbacks. Vinny wrote me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that he had “pushed too hard” with some sort of activity and was paying the price. Those of you who have met Vinny through my previous Dispatch should not be surprised to hear this. Vinny doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy to sit around and knit afghans with his ankle elevated, peacefully waiting for it to heal up. » Continue Reading.
What follows is the Spring 2012 Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents, these reports are issued periodically by the DEC and printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.
These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.
Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters in Saranac Lake will host an Adirondack Stand-Up Paddle Board Festival, on June 23rd from 8 am to 4:30 pm at the Village of Saranac Lake’s Lake Colby Beach.
The all day event and will include stand up paddleboard (SUP) inspired activities for the whole family and feature a short race course of three miles, a longer 6-mile course, race of six miles, and sprint/fun races.
The sprint/fun races will include an obstacle course, person and dog race, tandem race and sprint time trials. There will also be food, music, paddleboard clinics, demos of boards and equipment, and board and equipment dealer reps on hand. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday July 1, 2012 will mark the 50th annual Willard Hanmer Guideboat Race commemorating Willard Hanmer the preeminent Guide Boat builder of his era. The race has been celebrated every year since 1962 on the Sunday closest to the 4th of July. This year, to celebrate the craftsmanship of this uniquely Adirondack craft, the organizers are planning a display of over 50 guideboats in a guideboat parade on Lake Flower prior to the race.
Following the parade will be guideboat, canoe and kayak races. This year the one-person guideboat race will follow the traditional route on Lake Flower, carry around the dam and down the Saranac River to the Fish and Game Club where there will be food, refreshments ands festivities for the whole family. Canoes and kayaks will be following the one person guideboat course, also going down the river. For those wishing to race in either the guideboat, recreational canoe or kayak classes contact: email@example.com. » Continue Reading.
There are only three more days until the deadline for submissions to the Adirondack Paddlers Photo Contest. By this Friday, May 11, photos from pond lilies to loon babies should be on their way to the contest’s Flickr site. Start the process at Adirondack Explorer.
Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, View, and the Adirondack Explorer are co-sponsoring the inaugural contest. The rules are simple: photos have to have been taken in the Adirondack Park and from a canoe or kayak. » Continue Reading.
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s film festival in Lake Placid on Friday night will feature footage from all over the world, from Russia to Hawaii, from the Grand Canyon to the North Atlantic. But for many Adirondackers, the highlight will be a movie made by Saranac Lake resident Mike Lynch.
Lynch, an outdoors writer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, canoed the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail last summer—from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine—and has created a 37-minute film about his adventure titled Through Paddle. Click here to read my earlier interview with Lynch on Adirondack Almanack. » Continue Reading.
The 7th annual Reel Paddling Film Festival (RPFF) will be making its way through the Adirondacks this spring and summer with showings in Lake Placid, Old Forge and Tupper Lake. The Reel Paddling Film Festival highlights the best paddling films for the year in ten categories: Instructional Paddling, Environmental Paddling, Kayak Fishing, Sea Kayaking, Stand-up Paddling, Short Paddling, Canoeing, Whitewater, Documentary Paddling, and Adventure Travel Paddling. » Continue Reading.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $5,120,000 investment for NY Works projects that will allow for eight flood control system and dam repair projects in the North Country. Projects slated for the Adirondack North Country include the Lower Lows Dam and Upper Lows Dam on the Bog River. Those dams, made of concrete and located in a area classified Primitive, are favored by paddlers on the Bog River, Hitchins Pond, and Lows Lake. The other dams slated for repair are Palmer Lake Dam in North Hudson (popular with anglers); Taylor Pond Dam in the town of Black Brook, southwestern Clinton County (part of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest); Kingdom Road Dam which holds back Lincoln Pond in Elizabethtown; Main Mill Dam in the City of Plattsburgh; and Whiteside Dam. All are considered “Critical Dam Repairs.” The funds will also support a Malone flood control project. Two notable back country dams gave way late last summer during Hurricane Irene. The Marcy Dam is expected to be rebuilt. DEC has decided that the Duck Hole Dam will not be rebuilt. » Continue Reading.
With days reaching into the 50s, but much colder waters in still in the mid-30s, it’s a great time to remind paddlers and other boaters of the dangers of falling overboard in cold water. Of New York’s 25 fatalities associated with recreational boating in 2011, almost a third of those deaths involved small paddled boats, when water temperatures were cold.
In almost every one of those fatal accidents life jackets were not worn and in some cases weren’t even on board at the time of the accident. The Coast Guard estimates that 80% of all boating accident deaths might have been prevented had a life jacket been worn. In New York, life jackets are required to be worn on any boat less than 21 feet in length between November 1st and May 1st. » Continue Reading.
My Adirondack family has finally stored the winter gear and is getting ready to take out the canoes for a paddle. Safety is always a concern when paddling with children so we want to take whatever precautions necessary to assure a fun experience.
Adirondacks Lakes and Trails Outfitters owner Steve Doxzon says, “This time of year it’s the cold water that is the biggest issue. People need to dress for the water temperature not the air temperature. It may be 70 degrees outside but the water is still only 37 degrees.” Doxzon especially urges a person kayaking to dress accordingly as there is a greater chance for capsizing and hypothermia. He reminds paddlers that sudden changes in conditions, like windy days, are something to be wary of when getting out on Adirondack lakes, rivers and ponds.
He also reminds boaters that from November 1 to May 1, it is NYS law that life jackets must be worn by all people on a boat under 21feet in length. Though he recommends all his clients to wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) at all times, the law only requires boaters to have approved wearable life vests for each person available during those months. After May 1st, pleasure vessels must have US Coast Guard approved wearable PFDs on board for each person on the vessel. All children under 12 (aboard boats 65 feet or less)are always required to wear a PFD.
“We didn’t get a lot of snow this year so there isn’t the snow pack from the mountains. The rivers are not running as high as usual,” says Doxzon. “That may give people a false sense of security. It is really the water temperature people need to be prepared for. It has been getting down into the 20s each night so the water is going to be cold.”
According to Doxzon a person can reach exhaustion or unconsciousness in water temperatures below 32 degrees in less than 15 minutes. He reminds paddlers that in these cold-water temperatures to stay close to shore where they can get back to shore or in their boat in that 15-minute window.
If this is a bit early to be out on the water, Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters is hosting the Reel Paddling Film Festival on April 27that 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. With a mix of paddle sport films, door prizes and silent auctions, all proceeds will go to support the Northern Forest Canoe trail.
With over 50 stops throughout Canada and the U.S., the Reel Paddling Film Fest showcases the best paddling films with the hopes of encouraging more people to explore the world waterways.
Doxzon says, “The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740-miletrail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine. This festival supports efforts to maintain this trail.”
So whether you’re just starting out or an experiencedpaddler, be careful during this seasonal transition into the summer paddlingseason. Enjoy yourself and explore those Adirondack waterways!
Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time Lake Placid and the High Peaks: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 activities. Her second Adirondack Family Activities book for the Champlain Valley will be in stores summer 2012.
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