Midge Bugnado

Another fine weekend at the Lake. The threatened thunderstorms never materialized, although we did here thunder way off in the distance. We had out ten year old grand daughter up this weekend, I think she is part amphibian, as She spent most of the time in the lake (now 74 degrees).

We have had an unusual (at least, new to me) experience the last couple of nights. I was sitting on the screened-in porch at dusk. Above the tree line I saw what looked like a tall, thin cyclone cloud- a mini tornado. It was quite distinct, and hung up in the air, twisting and turning. Turns out, it was thousands of midges— a small bug, that looks like a mosquito (but does not bite). I am wondering if this is occurring in part because out bat population has been decimated.

Wildlife is on the move. Came across a huge snapping turtle, laying her eggs on a sandy roadway. Be careful driving. Also, while paddling, I came across a chipmunk, slowly swimming across the center of the lake. I did chastise it for not having an orange swim buoy— but it ignored me and kept doing it chipmunk-paddle, slowly making progress towards the opposite shore.

Late Thursday afternoon, I was on yet another conference call when I received an email from Sarah Slusser, the CEO of my company— Cypress Creek Renewables. She was announcing that our company would observe Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Over the past several weeks, I have been engaged in a dialogue with her about Black Lives Matter. I have a family unique perspective, having been involved in several police brutality lawsuits as a young attorney, and now having a Son who is a police officer. It is great to work for a progressive company that has taken a strong stance on social responsibility and justice.

I wonder if our Canadian neighbors here on the lake have had any issue crossing the border?

It’s early Sunday— heading out, now, up Crusher, and then paddling the lake. We have a socially distanced cookout planned later today for Father’s Day.

Enjoy.

Brrrrr…..

37 degrees with a drizzle this morning, and I just lit a fire in the fireplace to get rid of the chill.

I knew it would probably be a cold and wet morning when the dogs did not want to get up.

Kinda glad we made pizza yesterday. It was quite windy— we actually lost commercial power here at the lake for about 90 minutes.

So far, no bugs this weekend— have not put on any bug spray. Rare for June.

Lyme Timber is actively logging off the upper reaches of Tower Mt. Road. This is part of the trail up Loon Lake Mountain. Tower Mt. Road has been brushed back to accommodate logging trucks. Be careful.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a couple of forest fires on the Sable Highlands tract. I found the site of one of them. I don’t know, but would surmise that this one started with a careless fisherman.

We have a houseful this weekend, and no one is stirring, yet. I am enjoying the fire, quiet, and four sleeping dogs.

Excellent June Weekend at Loon Lake

Why excellent? Many reasons. Very few bugs, being one.

The weather has been all over. Thursday was in the 80’s. We started Sunday in the high 40’s— it has gotten progressively cooler over the last four days. For the most part it has been breezy, which has kept the bugs at bay. I think we are past black flies and are into mosquitos. Deer flies await us, a bit later in the season. We have had sun, clouds and rain. Sometimes, all at once.

We have our oldest grand daughter up for the weekend. At 12, she is a pure joy. She and Paula spent Friday baking, kayaking, swimming, and paddle boarding— while I worked. We ended the day with pizza. It is so nice having help running the pizza and walking the dogs.

Saturday, I took her looking for Rainbow Trout, but their spawning run has ended. We did see lots of Smallmouth Bass, sitting on their gravel beds. It was a beautiful day— windy, sunny, 70 degrees, with high puffy clouds. We went over and climbed Silver Lake Mountain. This is a hike I highly recommend. It’s less than thirty minutes drive time, and the hike can be done in about an hour, plus time looking at the view from the summit. We spent the afternoon on the water. The sky started to turn around 4 PM, and we were able to enjoy a thunderstorm from the screened in porch.

It’s Sunday, and I just got back from my ritual Sunday morning paddle around the lake. The Loons are back, and quite vocal. Had not seen or heard them for several days. Now it’s time for some chores.

Memorial Day Weekend at Loon Lake

So— could the weather be better? No!

What an incredible weekend. Yes, there are black files, but they are manageable. Sunny, warm, slight breeze. Just awesome.

Lots of activity at the lake. Many folks opening their camps. Many with guests. Most docks are in, as are many party barges, boats, canoes and kayaks. Water temp is about 58 degrees. Warming rapidly with the hot days we have been having.

We have our first family guests since March 15th. It is nice, but a bit overwhelming. I went on a long paddle with my oldest granddaughter, in our newly restored Kevlar canoe, with wooden gunwales. She did great, and the canoe handled very well. We saw and heard loons, and saw a bald eagle in the debris at the lake outlet dam.

We continued our tradition of making pizza on Saturday. I fired up the outdoor pizza oven. The grandkids helped make the pizza and ran them up and down the stairs, from the kitchen to the oven. We made twelve. I think that’s the record.

This morning, I paddled the lake, solo. I checked out the outlet to see if the eagle was there. No, but I found out why he was hanging out in the area— Rainbow Trout! They had swum up River from the North Brach of the Saranac, and had gathered just downstream of the dam. Easy pickings for a hungry Eagle. I went back to camp and grabbed a fishing rod with a trout lure. They were totally uninterested. I stopped casting, so as to not snag one. I left when I noticed the Eagle sitting up in a nearby tree, looking at me, rather annoyed.

I am attaching a video of the Trout (the splashing).

Not sure what the balance of the day entails, but we are having a ton of fun.

Typical late Spring Weekend at Loon Lake

If you don’t like the weather wait a second, it will change. We have been living that here at the lake, recently. This morning it is 34 degrees. Yesterday, it got up to sixty. It has been cool and breezy, cloudy, partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, partly sunny, mostly sunny, warm, foggy, rainy all in the same day.

When the sun is out, the black flies are more prevalent. They don’t seem too hungry yet. They don’t bother me when I am moving. I did put some bug spray on while tending the outdoor pizza oven.

I debated putting the Whaler in this weekend, given the weather. I want it in the water for Memorial Day weekend. Early Saturday afternoon it warmed up and we splashed the boat. I actually prefer to fish from my littler Jon boat when I am by myself. I feel better with the Whaler when the kids visit.

Looks like next weekend. We will have a camp full of family. Quite a change— we haven’t had anyone up since March 14th. Our day to day routine at the lake has not changed given the Covid-19 pandemic. It feels a bit surreal.

Water temperature is hovering around 50 degrees. Still too cold to swim my aging dogs. And too cold for me to put in the swim float.

The Loons, Mallards, Megansers, and Owls are active and vocal. Loon Lake is peaceful, but not quiet. I am heading out shortly to check on the Fish Hole Pond Ospreys.

The Trillium are starting to bloom. On our evening walk up Crusher Mt., we first saw a handful of Red Trillium, and then several Painted. There were many Trillium plants getting ready to bloom. This should be a very pretty week coming up at the lake.

Nineteen years ago I planted about a thousand daffodils on the cleared hill below our camp. Now that the woods have reclaimed that area, we had exactly two daffodil blooms this year. I used to love that short burst of color in the spring.

We spent the last several evenings sitting on our screened in porch, overlooking the lake. This is my favorite room at camp, for half the year.

With all that’s happening in this country at the moment, I feel fortunate and privileged to live here at Loon Lake.

Fishing!

Well, it is the first weekend in May, and we all know what that means—Northern Pike season opens. Not that it matters much, to me, as I release everything I happen to catch.

Saturday was another beautiful day, so once I completed all the camp chores, Paula and I launched the Jon boat. On Friday, I had vacuumed out the leaves and pine needles, charged the battery, replaced the oil and put in fresh gas. The ten horse Honda outboard fired right up.

The lake is still quite cold, so I wore a life jacket. I cannot stress this enough. It is important to wear a life jacket, through at least the end of May. I actually always wear one when on a boat— as an example for the grandkids. Over the years on Loon Lake we have had two incidents of unintended swamping, both in the month of May. Life jackets are essential.

Saske and I set out to fish mid Morning. Saske is my fishing buddy. She loves being on the water with me. And, unlike my Goldens, feels no urge to retrieve the lures I am casting.

Saske. Note the life vest.

While we were out, we saw a fighter jet doing loops in the air, leaving a tangled knot of contrails behind. Quite awesome. Once again, I was so caught up in the moment, I did not take a picture. Zoom in on this, and you will see the contrails.

Fighter Jet Contrails over the lake

So fishing— no luck, but a beautiful day on the water. We saw an eagle, loons, geese, and one sunbather at a Mensink Road camp. There is a little more activity around the Lake. More camps are open. One party barge toured the lake early in the afternoon.

Once again we bookended the day with hikes up Crusher Mountain. The first, to see the sunrise, the second to work off the wood-fired pizza we made for dinner.

Wet feet at Loon Lake….and the Ospreys are back

It is interesting here at the lake. Paula commented yesterday that there is no difference in our lifestyle now, compared to before the pandemic pause in New York. We have been enjoying the commencement of Spring and the end of Winter.

I was doing some work down on the waterfront . I own two pair of waterproof boots, or so I thought. I was in the water when my left foot became soaked and very cold. The boot appeared to have a leak along a seam. I went up to camp and switched to my other pair of boots. I hadn’t been back in the water a minute when my right foot became soaked and cold. Another leak. So I ended up working in mismatched boots, and threw the leaky ones away. That explains why you will see me this year, wearing mismatched boots.

I put my solo fishing canoe in yesterday and paddled around the northern basin of the lake. No wind, and warm in the sun. I did hug the perimeter closely, as the water is quite cold, according to my feet. I did make a few casts in the narrows, to no avail. I have an appointment with a 17” Smallmouth in the narrows in a couple of weeks. I think I catch the same fish in the beginning of May, at the same spot, each year.

Not a lot of activity here at the Lake, but all camps on Point are occupied.

The Osprey nest out at Fish hole Pond was empty last week. I went by early this morning and the platform was occupied. The Ospreys are busy rebuilding their nest.

Over the last week I have seen loons, 4 types of duck, geese, Osprey, an eagle, blue jays, ruffed grouse, turkey, deer, chipmunks and squirrels. Lots of activity in the woods and on the lakes and ponds.

We have been up Crusher Mt. several times. No blowdown and the trail is distinct. Great views, especially of the remaining snow on Whiteface, and the sun reflecting off the mountains at dawn.

There still is residual snow banked along portions of Route 26. As soon as it has melted we will do our annual trash run from the Point to the Loon Lake Mountain trailhead.

Opening Day

I don’t recall exactly when I started going back out on the opening day of fishing season. It has been a couple of years. I have never had much luck, but always welcomed the opportunity to get the woods, next to a fast moving Creek.

I really felt that need this year. My excursions from the house are few these days. I look forward to the outings. At least with fishing, I could avoid contact with anyone else.

The last couple of years, I have seen, at most, one other car parked next the creek I fish. This year, ten cars. I fish along the Onesquethaw, in the Town of Bethlehem. I moved further upstream to one of my favorite spots.

Onesquethaw Creek

Last year, I caught a small trout at this spot on my first cast. I was more surprised that the fish was. I don’t usually have any luck on opening day.

This year, I resolved to fish until I had lost three lures on the same underwater log. I was on my third lure when I got a strike. Another small trout. Same spot. I released him, declared the day a success, and poured some coffee, enjoying the scenery.

Social Distance and Late Winter Conditions

We are hunkered down, just like everyone else. Today’s weather forecast is the best, out of the next week. Expecting a mix of snow and rain through next weekend.

One could characterize our normal lifestyle at the lake as a form of social distancing. There still are no confirmed cases of Covid 19 in Franklin County. We really have not changed our routine— except that the Tim Collins jazz concert in Saranac was cancelled—. I look forward to that show, in a unique jazz club (the fire department garage).

The insanity at the grocery store seems to have settled down. We do all our own cooking, and make most things from scratch— including bread and bagels. we are in good shape.

I normally work remotely from home, so my personal routine has not changed much. I had my last overnight work trip last Monday. Looking forward, all my meetings have been converted to phone conferences. Everyone in my company, Cypress Creek Renewables, is now working from home, through April 30th. I have converted my study into just a home office— I only use it for work.

We are in close touch with our kids. Do miss seeing them. Will probably see the families on a one by one basis, in early April.

The biggest change in routine for us—our gyms have closed. So we finally put in a home gym. we have a water rower, Pilates machine, some kettlebells, and the TRX straps are on their way. I have laid out a schedule of double workouts, each day— did so to avoid working out too much.

All my trap shooting opportunities have evaporated. The clubs are all run by volunteers, most of whom are retirees. Good thing to close— the prudent thing. I did run out to Vernon National Sporting Preserve on Saturday, to shoot Sporting Clays. You can do this solo, without contact. I did bring Clorox wipes for the controllers.

So my Saturday routine was pretty typical, a workout, homemade toast for breakfast, and then some shotgunning.

Not sure what today will bring.

Excellent Late Winter Weekend at Loon Lake

Yesterday was clear and sunny, but windy. Today is more overcast, but without the wind.

There is some ice fishing activity from the Burgess Camp. One of the fishermen thinks he can sing a mean Country and Western song. My dogs started howling. Just sayin’

Most of the backwoods hunting camps are empty. The guys from Vermont are up at the Loon Lake Fire Tower Observer’s cabin.

We went for some long hikes. We opted to walk on the snowmobile trails. They were hard packed and icy, but easily managed with stabilicers. The dogs were able to run freely. The snowpack in the woods is not really great for walking. Four other dogs (and one infant) were out being walked on Mensink as we headed back to camp this morning.

We discovered a maple sap gathering network on the hill above Mensink road. Willard Race of Bloomingdale purchased land along Mensink and has an elaborate network of blue plastic tubing blanketing the hill side overlooking the Lake and Mensink Road, gathering sap. The Maple Syrup will be made by Black Rooster Maple Syrup in Keene. I love to see sustainable use made of forest land. And look forward to getting some Maple Syrup made from sap harvested here at the Lake.

We have a couple grandkids visiting. Outside conditions aren’t the best for them, but we are making do. They helped make pizza yesterday, and my son made quick work of replenishing my firewood supply. Yet another batch of chocolate chip cookies are in the oven. They are outside now, gathering birch bark for me to use as tinder to start fires.