In my house, Murphy's Law is not a thing. We refer to it as RaChelle's Law... if it can go wrong, it already has - or it will! This is the way my life goes in general, but especially over the last few weeks.
Ducks on the move
A lovely new area has been opened to the public for paddling and fishing in the Town of Long Lake. County Line Flow and Fishing Brook can both be paddled, and fishing is allowed from the shoreline of Fishing Brook. There are two put-in locations — one on the southeastern edge of County Line Flow and one at a bridge over Fishing Brook to the west of County Line Flow. I opted to put my boat in by the bridge over Fishing Brook.
The secret is out — the central Adirondacks is a special place, and birds know it.
Starting At Sabattis Bog
Car camping gone bad!
Although I grew up in the Adirondacks, I car camped only a few times. A couple of times was with my family, and once I went alone with my twins at Rollins Pond, when they were ten. I spent most of my time digging trenches around the tent due to the downpours, and when it cleared I was chasing after them on their bikes or keeping them out of the fire. Needless to say, it was stressfull! The plan was to stay five days — we stayed two nights!
Birding as I Paddled
I really enjoy paddling the Sacandaga River out of Speculator, so when Wren and I were there recently I made sure we took advantage of the opportunity to do so. We pushed off from the boat launch at the Sacandaga Community Park, watching the Barn Swallows wheel in and out from beneath the Route 30 bridge, while an Eastern Kingbird sat on the wires flying out and back catching insects.
Great Camp Sagamore is gearing up to open for the season. Everything is getting scrubbed down and spruced up after a winter of being closed. I was lucky enough to take a little walk around the grounds before they opened up!
Winter Birds in the Central Adirondacks
In the Adirondacks, March and October are transitional months, with October representing life falling into a slumber, and March a reawakening. The stillness of winter settles in during January and February. But by March, many changes are underway in the avian world.
Looking for a quiet back road with great boreal habitat for birding? Sabattis Circle Road in the Town of Long Lake fits the bill – no pun intended! This six-mile long, half-circle road leads through a variety of habitats and sections of the William C. Whitney and the Round Lake Wilderness Areas. (The William C. Whitney Wilderness Area is an Audubon New York designated "Important Bird Area.") In winter, when many other popular birding locations become inaccessible, Sabattis Circle Road is well-plowed and maintained.
With our landscape still snow-free during this past December, my husband George and I decided to climb West Mountain in Raquette Lake. For boreal birding purposes, we opted for a longer route to the summit beginning the hike on the Brown's Tract Ponds Trail along Uncas Road instead of a shorter foot trail two miles down the road.
An Early Start on a Cool Morning
Sunny Paddling Weather!
Being "bitten by the birding bug" can be a positive, life-changing experience. Bird watching can become such an all-consuming activity that it is often hard to recall what life was like in the pre-birding days!
A Long and Winding Road
A Beautiful Place
Waiting to Run Free and Explore
Since the Jessup River sits on a busy stretch of Route 30, I left Wren in the car while I unloaded the boat and our gear for our paddle last week. Wren patiently watched me hoping I would let her out. Once I had done so she wasted no time in racing to the water to plunge in for a drink. We loaded up and set off downstream toward Indian Lake.
We've had quite a bit of windy weather of late and my afternoon paddle on South Inlet last week was no different. I chatted at the put-in with a few folks who were coming off the water, and they said it was windy, but doable, so I stuck with my paddling plans - figuring I could duck into sheltered places if the need arose as I went.
A Change in Plans
Two Souls in Need of Rest
A peaceful paddling and birding destination
Mud Pond, with a boreal bog mat bordering much of its western shoreline, is a scenic place to paddle. I count it as one of my favorite canoeing locations since it became accessible to the public over a decade ago. An agreement between the Cedarlands Boy Scout Reservation and New York State in 2002 made most of the 5,500 acre parcel publicly available 10 months a year, and Mud Pond and the lands surrounding it accessible year-round.
The three-day annual Adirondack Birding Festival was held for the 11th year in a row with perfect weather! Sixty-seven people traveled to Hamilton County to attend field trips, dine on the W.W. Durant, and attend a keynote presentation held at the Adirondack Museum. So many people return year after year, that one veteran field trip leader said it is akin to seeing old friends every June!
In 1922, T.S. Eliot famously began his poem, The Waste Land, by stating, "April is the cruelest month." It may seem that way to some in the Adirondacks since it is also the start of "mud season." The world around us begins to thaw out. Snowmobile and ski season has ended. The ground is covered in wet snow and mud making it difficult to hike or camp. For birders, on the other hand, it is one of the most exciting months of the year!
Since "winter" seems to be continuing right into spring this year, I had another wonderful cross-country ski trip with terrific snow conditions! I skied on Round Pond Road in the Round Lake Wilderness Area. It was an overcast day with continuous light snow.
A Bitter Cold Day!
On the morning of my recent March cross-country ski trip, the temperature was 24 below zero! I gave the day a few hours to warm up, and skied at noon with a more respectable 16 degrees – more than 40 degrees warmer! It was a beautiful blue-sky day when I arrived at the Eighth Lake Carry Trail access in the Town of Inlet on Route 28, located 2.3 miles south of the 4-way intersection with the road into Raquette Lake and Sagamore Rd.
Over a decade ago, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation cut a cross-country ski loop trail off the Northville-Placid Trail in Long Lake. The trip totals 5.2 miles by taking the Northville-Placid Trail and branching off on the Three-Brook Loop Ski Trail. It is an intermediate level ski in a lovely forest.
Camp Robber, Whiskey Jack, and Canada Jay are but a few of the endearing nicknames used to describe a Gray Jay (Perisoreus Canadensis). A member of the corvid family, which in our area also includes Blue Jays, American Crows, and Common Ravens, Gray Jays are highly intelligent birds and easily tamed.