Summer at Loon Lake

It seems particularly quiet on the Lake, this Summer.  We just wrapped up a beautiful week–  cool nights, warm days, no humidity and few bugs.  Yet there was very little traffic on the Lake.  At most, an occasional motor boat/party barge, and a handful of kayaks.  I am not complaining.

I went trout fishing on a nearby pond– one where DEC stocks each Spring, with 400 trout.  I used a handicap access ramp to put in my canoe.  It had been totally overgrown  by adjoining vegetation– I spent a good 40 minutes cleaning it up and making it truly accessible.

Many trout chased my little Mepps spinner, but no strikes.  I have never seen anyone else on this pond.  The whole time I was on the pond, I was under the watchful eye of a Momma Osprey, tending her young in her nest.  I think the DEC stocking trout is giving her a steady supply of fish.

Driving into Saranac Lake, I glimpsed the Bull Moose that has been lounging in the Saranac River–  Just before Spencer Boatworks.  Quite a site, watching him feed.  This is my fourth Moose sighting up here.  The one I like best was when a Moose swam across Loon Lake.

I was looking out over the lake from the summit of Crusher Mt. when I noticed a very tall, dead tree on Horsehead Point.  It is the tallest tree, all brown needles, surrounded by green.  When I got back on the Point, I easily located the tree– on my property.  In fact, close enough that it could fall on the camp.  I never noticed it from the ground, at camp. Tom Bartiss is coming this week to safely drop it, away from the camp.

August just started, yet I feel that it is  over.  Maybe because the heat wave broke, and it is cooler at night.  I am already thinking about surfcasting on Nantucket this September.  Probably, I think, because I put the racks on the truck to carry the canoe.  I will leave them on to transport the fishing rod to the Island.

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Summer in full swing at Loon Lake

The weather has simply been fantastic.

The lake has been exceptionally quiet. The most activity seems to be party barges, cruising the lake in the early evening.

We are wrapping up two weeks of visitors, including all eight grandkids; three of whom attended a soccer camp in Lake Placid, last week. The dogs have been ecstatic, with all the kid attention. Found two of them sleeping with kids in their bunks the other night.

We fired up the pizza oven five times over the two weeks. Made 28 pizzas. The grand kids helped me restock the oven wood yesterday.

Yesterday morning, the eleven year old (my eldest grand daughter) accompanied me on my daily early morning hike up Crusher Mountain. I did not want this time with her to end, so we drove down the old railroad ROW, and checked out the Osprey nest, between Grass and Fishhole Ponds. Some years ago, National Grid removed the nest from on top one of its poles, but mounted a nesting platform higher up, so it would not interfere with the wires. This year, the Ospreys have returned, built a nest, and are raising several chicks.

We are spending a lot of time on the water. Swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and tubing. My favorite activity is lazing– I drift in my open kayak, dozing in the sun. I wonder if I will capsize if I actually fall asleep.

I swim across the lake and back every day. I finally bought an orange swim float that I tow behind me. Setting a good example for the grandkids. Should have done this years ago.

The bugs have not been too bad. Black flies are gone. Mosquitoes seem to have dwindled. So the horse flies are the current culprit. The bites itch at first, then hurt. They don’t usually bother me too much, but I find I am reaching for the Caladryl lotion to manage the bites.

This is the busiest time, here at Loon Lake. Yet, it is quiet, peaceful and relaxing. Enjoy.

Water Rescue

This is typically the busiest week at Loon Lake. Just about every camp is occupied. And the weather has been perfect.

Even so, Loon Lake is very tranquil. I usually have the lake to myself (except for the Loons) on my early morning paddle. At its busiest, there may be two boats fishing, one party barge cruising, another boat tubing, and 4 to 6 kayaks and canoes. Most folks hang out on the waterfront, escaping from the heat.

I was out on the Whaler, fishing with two four year old boys. Which means, I was answering question after question. Like: what does the 100 mean on the motor? Why are we going 100 slow? Why do fish like hot dogs? Why aren’t they cooked? How long can the Loon stay under water? Do Loons like hot dogs? Will they steal our bait? (That’s pretty much a verbatim sampling…of about one minute).

We were fishing just off Seven Keys Boathouse, when I heard a kid crying– more like wailing. I didn’t pay much attention, as there are several two and unders staying on Horsehead Point this week– including a couple at our camp. But then the wail changed, and I distinctly heard “can someone please help me?”

Looking around, I did not see anyone in the water, no overturned kayak, just a solitary green kayak, out in the middle of the lake. I had been watching that kayak, while we were fishing. A strong paddler, who seemed to spend much time just floating, enjoying the hot day.

We headed towards the green kayak, with my Grandson saying, “go 100 fast!”– which we did. We pulled up to the kayak, and found Matt, a ten year old boy, very much in distress. He had set out for a paddle, got disoriented, and could not find his way back to camp. He could not see well, as he was not wearing his glasses. He did not know the name of the camp his family was renting, but described the dock.

I assured him he was safe and that we would get him back to his camp. We loaded him into the Whaler and put the green kayak in the boat as well. Our neighbors also arrived in their boat, to assist.

We started to go around the lake, when I saw someone waving from a canoe; we headed over, and found Matt’s parents. They told me where they were staying, and we delivered Matt and his kayak back to his dock, waiting for his parents to return.

I let my Grandson pilot us back to our dock. Going 100slow. We were done fishing for the day, having caught an 80 pounder.

A New, Old Song; or an Old, New Song

I was working around camp at Loon lake the other day, listening to Bob Dylan on Pandora.  A song came on, and it stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was beautiful, but I did not know it.  I had never heard it before.  How rare– as I have always listened to music; always listened to Dylan– how could I have missed this?

His voice was the low croon, you would know from Lay, Lady, Lay.  And that captivated me.  But what came next, was unexpected.  He sang the song as a duet.  I heard his partner’s voice and said to myself– that sounds like Johnny Cash! Another distinctive voice that  you cannot mistake.

The song is “Girl from the North Country,” which they recorded in 1969.  What a powerful ballad.  A gem I have missed for 50 years.  It could be written about the Northern Adirondacks.  I have since listened to it a dozen times, and can’t get it out of my head.

They don’t write songs like this anymore.

Give it a listen– Pandora or You Tube.

This Abysmal President

How did we get to this point? I cannot stomach listening to the President speak. If he comes on the radio or TV, I switch it off. He is undermining the very foundations of our democracy. I will not listen to his constant stream of lies.

This appalling situation was driven home for me in the most unlikely of ways. I was having a conversation with my ten year old neighbor. He happens to be a Cub Scout, on the verge of transitioning to the Boy Scouts. I used to be a Scout. I asked if he knew the Scout Law; he did, and we recited it together: “a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” These are values, which, once learned, will serve a young Scout well as he or she matures.

This started me thinking about the qualities of a leader, and how the simple concepts of the Scout Law should guide everyone’s behavior, especially when dealing with others.

I doubt our President was a Scout. In fact, I think the “law” he follows is more along the lines of being contemptible, ignorant, corrupt, dishonest, immoral, unlawful, racist, unAmerican, and cowardly. There is nothing redeeming about him.

America needs a leader. Someone we can respect. Someone we can trust.

Painted Trillium on Crusher Mt.

This morning, Porter and I did a dawn hike up Crusher Mountain, through the drizzle.  We were shrouded in fog the whole way up.  The Loons on the lake kept us company for the entire hike, with their calling.  No view from the summit– Loon Lake was hidden by a layer of fog.

On the way up, I spotted the first painted trillium of the year– on at the bottom, and one on the summit.  What a pretty Spring flower.  On our way down, we spotted painted trillium along the entire hike.  I swear they must have opened while we were on the summit; I had been actively looking for them on the climb up, and only spotted two.

As we made the descent, the fog lifted, and we could see the lake.  And the Loons, who kept up their conversation.

New Project Canoe

So my neighbors at the lake have had this Wenonah Kevlar Canoe sitting on their property, unused, for about 15 years. I would see it whenever I paddled by their camp.

I have canoes the way some folks have skis– different canoes for different purposes. I currently own two– both Wenonahs, one solo and the other tandem. I have owned two other Wenonahs, and also had a Grass River carbon fiber solo racing canoe. I love paddling a canoe, especially getting in sync, when paddling with Paula.

I was talking with my neighbors yesterday, and asked them about the canoe. They don’t use it, as they don’t find it to be stable, especially when paddling with dogs. Then they gave me the canoe! It is an Odyssey, no longer in production. This version had wooden gunwales– which have totally rotted. Other than that, it is structurally sound.

So now I have a new project boat.

And yet another canoe.