A Tough Fall at the Lake

Fall is usually my favorite season in the Adirondacks. I love watching the foliage change. As the leaves fall, I enjoy the opening up of the woods. I look forward to duck hunting on the ponds, and grouse hunting in the woods.

Not so, this year. About a month ago, I lost the best hunting partner of my life. My dog Porter passed quickly and unexpectedly at Camp.

I miss him terribly, but am so grateful for our 11 and a half years together. I am focusing on those memories. He was truly the dog of a lifetime.

Fall at Loon Lake

Just returned to the Northern Adirondacks from our vacation on Nantucket. Feels good to be back. Sitting on the porch, in the dark this morning, listening to the rain, and an occasional Loon call.

As we relaxed on the porch last night, I commented that I was glad to be back at the lake. Paula said that she thought I liked being at the lake better than Nantucket— and I do. There is so much to do and experience here, all year round. Each season is different.

The leaves are changing on the Hills surrounding Loon Lake. I would anticipate Columbus Day Weekend will be near peak foliage color. Already getting red, and some yellow.

Some hunting seasons have opened. Grouse is open. Early Duck will open October 2nd. I would be wearing blaze orange out there now, including your dogs.

Coyote trapping will start the end of October. I mention this for those of you who walk you dogs at the lake off lead. Last year, someone put out coyote traps on the Kushaqua Tract and Sable Highlands conservation lands (both sides of Route 26, down by the Loon Lake Mountain trailhead). Please be careful with your pups.

Hex and Hop in Bloomingdale is having their Octoberfest on Saturday. Teddy’s has been holding on, with limited hours, trying to make it through Columbus Day.

Looks like the weather will be improving as we head into the weekend. Enjoy!

Labor Day Weekend at Loon Lake

It kinda feels that the last weekend of Summer, was last week. How did we go from extremely hot and muggy, to 47 degrees in the morning?

We did pull the swim float today. My timing of this chore is dependent upon when my son, Forklift Jonny, is at camp. He is as strong as an Ox. he spent the weekend fishing with his young daughters, over in the shallows next to Mensink Road. Catching Sunnies, hand over fist.

This is a weird time of year for me. I spent my early mornings on a combined trout fishing trip along the North Branch, and checking the surrounding waters for Geese (the season opened September 1st.). Have not seen any geese, but am noting the presence of many ducks.

The Trout fishing has been good. A couple of hits each day, even managing to land a few. Being out on the North Branch with a mug of coffee is a great way to start a work day.

Picked up a key for the new lock on the Boat Launch gate. Locks changing November 1st. I will have pulled the Whaler by then, but may still have the Jon Boat on the water.

I have been saying good bye to many friends just here for the Summer. Time flew by this year.

It has been a quiet Labor Day weekend— half our guests cancelled at the last minute, because of a potential Covid exposure. Will get them up another weekend.

I don’t think it is really possible for the lake to get much more quiet; but, it will, come Tuesday. We are entering my favorite season— here’s hoping for an extended Fall.

Heading Back

Just wrapped up an intense five-week work assignment, which required a solid, dependable internet connection.

Pulled the Whaler from the Hudson, and scrubbed it down.

Will be back at Loon Lake this morning.

The Fifth of July

What a beautiful morning.

As I headed over to climb the bump/Crusher with Porter, I had to stop and clear a rather substantial tree off Horsehead Point Road. It had been dropped by a beaver, sometime last night.

You could not see the lake from the top of the bump this morning. It was ensconced in either fog, or gun-smoke from last night’s fireworks. The summits of all the surrounding hills, ridges and Mountains we brightly lit by the Sun, with a clear blue sky.

The fireworks off Horsehead Point were, once again, quite spectacular. No need to go to Saranac Lake, Malone, or Plattsburgh. Word is getting out, as there we more boats out on the water, enjoying the show.

About three weeks prior tot the Fourth,I start fielding questions from the kids and grandkids about the plans for fireworks. We get a head’s up, so that I can get the dogs into a safe place. Some years I stay with the dogs. This, year, I took the boat out, with the family.

I explained to my grandkids that the fireworks are set off by a Wizard, who only has three fingers left on each hand. His name is “Three Fingers Tom.” One astute grandkid said to me that last time, I said Three Fingers Tom was a pirate. Thinking quickly, I said, Yes, that’s true; but he has since retired, and is now a Wizard.

Looks like today will be a good day on the water. See you out there.

Busy Weekend ahead at Loon Lake

I just had the luxury of four days solo at the Lake. As solo as you can be, when one is accompanied by four dogs. I was working, but conference calls were punctuated with running and swimming the dogs.

The peace and quiet ended yesterday, with the arrival of Grandkids #5 and #8. Over the next two weeks, all 9 grandkids will be visiting at some point; as well as their parents.

The Fourth is always the busiest weekend on the Lake; although it is still relatively quiet when compared to other developed lakes in the Adirondacks. The weather forecast is for periods of rain today and tomorrow; temperatures will reach into the 70s through the weekend. Water temperature is in the low 70s. Black flies and mosquitoes have not been an issue. Deer and Horse flies are buzzing around. The fish (Yellow Perch and Smallmouth Bass) are biting all around the lake— in the shallows, along the shoreline, near any sort of structure— docks, rocks, and submerged trees. We have had luck with worms, rubber worms, and Rapala surface lures.

We anticipate fireworks off Horsehead Point Sunday evening, at dark (soon after 9 PM).

This is also the noisiest weekend of the year, here at Loon Lake. Please respect your neighbors. Control your wake, and music volume. Be careful in your boat around swimmers, canoes, kayaks and paddle boards.

Enjoy, and be safe.

Summer is here!

And Loon Lake is hopping. More activity on the water; listening to voices across the bay. Everyone is here out on Horsehead Point. Still missing our Canadian neighbors, around the lake.

Chance of rain and thunderstorms through the weekend. Should still be able to get out and do stuff, just be careful.

Starting on our last major project for the year. Tom Bartiss is placing natural stone steps on our upper hill, just below the camp. They should match the stone steps he installed a few years ago down next to the lake. I like watching him work with his excavator— what skill.

Yesterday was a great day. Started clear and cool, with no humidity. Ran up the bump early, and then headed down to the North Branch of the Saranac to fish. I thought the water might be too low and warm—. But the levels were decent, and I fished just below where a spring enters the stream. A couple of little trout chased my lure on my first casts. And then this happened.

I caught a 14” Brown Trout. It is by far the biggest trout I have ever caught. It was amazing to watch in the water as I reeled in. Released back immediately.

Looking forward to the weekend. We actually have nothing we need to do, and have no guests. I guess this is what bliss feels like.


Wildlife everywhere

Yesterday started with a sonic boom of a thunder clap at 6:30AM. Woke everyone and every dog up at camp. We had a series of storms and strong downpours throughout the day. My son was able to get his kids out fishing, swimming and hiking, between the storms. I somehow managed to get seven pizzas cooked between the raindrops.

Today started clear and in the low 50s. I got up and out before I need to start work. Lots of wildlife had similar ideas, I think.

I sat on top of Crusher with Porter for about 5 minutes, listening;g to two Loon and their tremolo calls. Quite eerie, as we were socked in with a mid level fog, with it being clear above and below.

As I got back to camp, I saw that our camp turtle had returned to lay her eggs. For the last twenty years, she has shown up on the roadside of camp, laying her eggs in the sandy soil, right next to camp.

I grabbed my ultralight fishing rod, and headed to the North Branch of the Saranac. I figured the fish might be on the move, with the higher water from yesterday’s storms. As I tuned onto Thatcherville Road, I noticed a truck ahead of me, by about 10 seconds. Sure enough, he was heading to my spot and pulled out a fly rod. I circled back to another spot I like.

That guy did me a favor.

On the way back to camp, I saw 2 Does with fawns, as well as about 8 turkeys. Everyone out and about today.

And now, to work….

All quiet at Loon Lake

At 4:13PM Friday, my wife Paula finished staining the camp. She came down off the 45’ articulating lift, and said she was never getting back on it again. She painted about 95% of the house herself, and did all of the trim. Everything got 2 coats. She started last Fall, doing the enclosed porches, and the level beneath them. For the last 4 weeks, she has been in the lift, just about every day.

I have been here as well, working from camp, and keeping her safe and provisioned. Doing the cooking, laundry and cleaning.

Having been here for five weeks straight has convinced us we know how to live here full time. Giving thought to putting our house in the Capital District on the market.

This is the first day I have not had my thoughts interrupted by the lift motor starting up. Paula headed down to Albany overnight, to help with a grandkid. So I am solo, here at camp. And I am reveling in the silence. I am also not tied to the camp. Whatever to do?

I took Porter up the Crusher early. We were back by 6 to wake up Paula. I walked the dogs, and then took my coffee down to the North Branch of the Saranac. I put on waders and walked the stream. Caught a few trout. Lost a few lures. And my wading stick.

I ran into Saranac Lake for a few things, and had lunch at Teddy’s in Bloomingdale.

For the first time this year, I swam the dogs. Water temperature today was 70. Doing it differently, as they get older. Took them each to the water solo. Carson, is turning 14 this year. He is partially deaf, and blind in one eye. He loves the water, but I need to precisely place the retrieving dummies in front of him. We did some short gentle retrieves.

I am sitting on one of the screened in porches, having a cigar and a gin and tonic. I could listen to music, but instead I am enjoying the sounds of the lake. Someone else’s dog is barking (the best kind of dog bark). It does not bother me in the least. One boat and three kayaks have gone by. Burgers are thawing for the grill, later.

One of my Sons is coming up on Sunday, for a few days. It will be our youngest grandchild’s (No. 9) first visit to camp. Will put her two older sisters to work, gathering birch bark, and stacking wood. Been saving all the difficult wood to split for their father to tackle.

Life, in short, is good.

Memorial Day Weekend at Loon Lake

One nice thing about the last three days of cooler (high 30’s) mornings, bugs have not been a problem. I admit to turning the heat up early, to warm the house. By afternoon, the windows are all open. All of Paula’s tender new plants have taken up residence on one of our sheltered screened in porches. We did lose the basil, however.

The cooler nights has definitely slowed the warming of the lake, and has affected the fishing. Lake temperature is hovering just below 60 degrees. I may delay putting the swim float out, as I must attach it from underneath and don’t know if I want to get in the water quite yet. Still have not swum the dogs.

We have a houseful of family up for the Holiday weekend. Actually, we have had visitors just about every weekend,and that does not seem to be slowing down. No complaints, after the isolation of last year. Enjoying taking my grandson fishing on the Whaler. Or as he says, his Whaler. Used our new screened in dining area off the wood-fired pizza oven yesterday. Very nice. Getting lots of suggestions for adding Edison lights and a ceiling fan…

For those of you cruising by in your party barges— enjoy yourselves! Just wondering why you need to share your loud music with everyone else?

Lots of projects underway here at camp. Always something to do. Lots of activity around the lake; yet, about half the camps are not occupied.

There is an active logging operation along the old Railroad ROW leading to the Fishhole Pond fishing access site. Big trucks. Be careful.