Old Knees

I took a bad spill a couple of weeks ago and banged up my knee. I iced and rested it, and took about ten days off from my exercise routine. It has been feeling better, so I have resumed some more strenuous activity.

I typically hike up the bump, or Crusher Mountain, early mornings here at camp. It is about a twenty minute trip, and you are climbing all the way. I have now done it twice over the last three days. The knee seems fine. Of course, I am now wearing two knee braces, and using a shortened ski pole. It takes me longer to come down than climb up.

The knee is doing better, as long as I don’t try to sit down in or get up from a chair. Much to my dismay, I realized as I got up from my Father’s old JFK rocker, that I sounded just like he used to….

Late Spring at Loon Lake

This is one of my favorite times of the year, here at the lake; warm days, cooler nights. The lake is beginning to come alive. Did not need a headlamp to walk the dogs, earlier this morning.

The Trillium are beginning to flower. I noticed many Painted Trillium on my way up Crusher Mountain (aka, the bump). Still looking for the beautiful solid Red Trillium.

Splashed the Whaler, yesterday. Loon Lake water temperature is still @55 degrees. Too cold to swim, or to swim the dogs. Cold enough that one should wear a life vest while on the water. The Jon boat will go in today, and I’ll move the kayaks and canoes down to the waterfront.

I have not noticed any trout moving up the North Branch of the Saranac. Water levels are a bit low, and it is still a bit early.

Our long-time neighbors moved out this week. Will miss the Ministers. I have always called the Rhodhamels that. My son actually thought “Minister” was their last name.

It is a seller’s market in the Adirondacks. I was contacted by two realtors this week—. There is not much inventory available, and they were looking for potential camps to sell. This last week, the Irish House, and the newly renovated cottage at the intersection of Blue Spruce and Route 26 went on the market.

The dock is in at the boat launch.

I do believe this is the weekend I traditionally make the seasonal shift from bottles of Porter to cans of Lager (no glass on the water).

See you on the lake.

The last blast?

I spent the morning fishing the ponds around Loon Lake; after clearing the 3 inches of snow off the truck. It was quite windy and about 28 degrees, but it didn’t not seem cold. I expect the snow will be gone by early afternoon.

The woods were quite beautiful. Covered in snow with bright sun above. Not a lot of human activity. Around the lake.

I did not catch anything, but I know the fish are there. Out on Fishhole Pond, I was joined by four Red-Breasted Mergansers (diving, fish-eaters), and had an adult Osprey circling and diving into the pond. Quite something to watch. The platform at Fishhole pond has not been rebuilt.

Time for chores, now….

Spring at Loon Lake

We have had an interesting time of it. Earlier this week we had about 8 inches of snow fall. Yuck.we did not plow our road; just powered through the mess. It did drive us back indoors, and made walking the dogs less pleasant. Most of it disappeared by Friday.

Several docks are already in. At least one fishing boat is in, but they have not had muck luck, yet. Too cold. No fish moving up the North Branch of the Saranac.

Saturday was a nice day. Warm in the Sun, cooler when it ducked behind a cloud. Paula was able to continue her ambitious project of staining the outside of the camp, and paining the trim. I went over and climbed the Bump with Porter. I need to go back and cut out a large blowdown, near the beginning of the trail. Will also cleanup the tree trimmings left by the National Grid clearing crew.

There is a bit more activity around the lake. I ran into two old friends for nice chats. I thought afterwards that they were two of the first folks I met out here, even before we bought the land for the camp.

It was from one of these old friends that I learned Al Engel died in February, just shy of his 95th birthday.

We are gearing up for several major projects at camp. The garage is filling with supplies and materials being delivered from Ray Brook, Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh. The snow this week hampered the deliveries a bit, but we managed to get everything secure.

It will soon be time to start my Trillium watch. Painted, white and red. The red is the most uncommon, but is prevalent around the lake. Looking to see my first Wood Duck. The calling of the Loons and the honking of the Canada Geese accompanies me as I walk with the dogs around the lake. Enjoying the prolonged early Spring we have been experiencing at Loon Lake.

Ice Out – Molasses Bay

The one morning I try to sleep in, a pair of very vocal Mallards announced the fact that ice went out on our bay on Loon Lake last night. It had been warm enough to sleep with a window open, and the quacking set off my duck hunting dog, which set off the other dogs as well.

There is a small patch of ice down near Stratton’s, but that’s it on the bay. Still ice on the southern portions of the two main basins. Should be full out shortly. It has been quite something to see the ice retreat in the last couple of days with 70 degree weather.

I recall one April school vacation week in 2001 or 2002 watching the ice go out. It was actually hotter and windier that the conditions were are experiencing this year. Ice out was more violent, with huge chunks of ice breaking off and moving round the lake. I watched one such berg take out a permanent dock as it it were made of toothpicks.

Another gorgeous day today.

Waiting for Ice Out

Loon Lake is probably 30 to 50% ice free at this point. The days have been quite warm. Melting would speed up if we had some wind and rain. Our Bay is the northern most part of the lake and is still frozen, except for a thin strip of open water along the northern shore.

The woods are very dry. There have been brush fires along Route 3 and Fletcher Farm Road.

On my way back from fishing this morning, I spotted a Loon and a Red Breasted Merganser in Washbourne Bay. The plumage on both was quite bright— the Loon had a solid white breast. Yesterday, I spotted a beaver in this same area.

We have a few more warm sunny days ahead. Looking forward to it.

Opening Day – Fishing Season

For the past 5 or 6 years, I have been going fishing on opening day. The weather is always iffy, and I never have any luck.

Until today.

The weather was definitely iffy— rain and spitting snow. I headed out to a trout stream that has ample stretches of NYSDEC fishing access. I wore my heaviest duck hunting waders— for warmth, and protection from the rain and snow.

I usually hit four spots along this stream. The first spot was open, but I kept driving. The next two had trucks, so I went on to the fourth. This is the spot where I like to end up around lunch time. I normally bring a sub along, and eat it at this fourth spot, right below a nice waterfall.

I started casting at the base of the waterfall. My third cast I hooked a fish and landed it. A nice Brown Trout. Over the next hour, I caught two more, as I fished this stretch of the creek.

Three Brown Trout on opening day. I did not even notice I was soaked through, given the rain and snow.

I did get a picture of one. I catch and release, so I like to get them back into the water as quickly as I can. So, only the one photo. They were all about the same size, so I surmise they were stocked by NYSDEC.

I’ll be back this weekend to see if I can catch them again.


The Season of Melt

We had a good stretch of weather this week, although it is raining right now. Yesterday was the warmest day of the year yet at Loon Lake, up to 65. It was windy, but the wind felt warm for a change. Pulled out the grill, made some burgers and sat on the porch, watching the snow melt. A perfect day.

It is the season of melt. There is still snow in the woods, and snowbanks along the road. It is soft enough to make walking difficult. The dogs sink down, when they venture of the road. The roads are quite soft as well. Loon Lake is still frozen, although lower Grasse Pond is running free. Not my favorite time of year here, anticipating ice-out on the lake.

Willard Race has expanded his maple sugaring operation over on Mensink Road. He has perfect weather for it. You can buy his product at the sugar shack in Keene Valley.

I was trying to think of a good outdoor activity for this time of year, with limited mobility until the snow melts. So we now have axe throwing at camp.

Heading to Plattsburgh today for my second Covid vaccine shot.

Quiet and Cold at Loon Lake

Paula and I are enjoying a weekend free of family and guests. Very quiet, relaxed, slow pace.

It is sunny but cold, with no wind to speak of. A great late Winter weekend. The local snowmobilers are making noises that this might be the last “good” weekend for sledding. For sure, they have been out in force all week and into this weekend. Trails were groomed around the lake late in the week and are in great shape.

Grouse season has closed, but there are a few small game seasons still open. A group of rabbit hunters and their beagles are active in the area, to the west of Inman.

Conditions are great for skiing. The thaw and freeze we had last weekend created a crust that can support snowshoes, until it doesn’t, and you sink 4 feet. Like every thirtieth step. Still worth it— the woods are glorious. We got a little snow this week, providing some traction on our otherwise icy road.

We made pizza outside yesterday. It was about 10 degrees. The Sun felt warm whenever it peaked through. Actually quite pleasant. And a lot quicker when we are cooking for just the two of us.

Starting a lot of indoor projects, to get us through the Season of Melt. Our biggest project however is Grandkid #9, due in about a month. I will have had my second vaccine shot before the end of March— just in time to help out with the new arrival (which means pouring Cheerios for a five and three year old).

It is Sunday morning, and it is shaping up to be a great, lazy day. Don’t know what I am not going to do first. But I think another pot of coffee is called for.