Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Quick Adirondack Scout

Back in February, my s-i-l Martha D. rented a camp near Old Forge for the first week in August. Cheered by the prospect of mooched suppers on a screened lakeside porch, I immediately started planning a compact Adirondack scout. Here’s its brief travelogue.

I headed east on Sunday, August 1. On my way to camp I checked out the Penn Mountain SF as a possible grouse hot spot. It looked vaguely promising, and I may give it a try when I’m in the neighborhood. While passing through this hardwood forest, I came upon a small cemetery. The solitude of the place now belies that a community of pioneers once tried to scratch out a living here in the skinny Tug Hill soil. I’ve wandered into such cemeteries in the Adirondacks before. Each time I’ve walked the grounds for a bit and tried to connect the silent stones with the lives of those who made this area home. The experience is personally cathartic and comforting.

I pulled into camp shortly before supper. There was just time to sip the first cold adult beverage of the day and snap the kids while they were doing the cooking. They did a bang-up job, too.
Paul with his friend Laura

Matt and Ali ready the people food while Patrick preps for the beagle

Rebecca mixing Mojitos

After supper, Patrick, Rebecca (who co-produced this video last summer) and I rowed out to a swimming platform in the middle of a small bay

where I introduced them to fly casting. Both kids did really well. I was specially impressed with Rebecca’s initial casts; she was much more thespian than Olympian in her teen years. Who knew?

On Monday morning, Matt, Alison and Patrick joined me for a visit to the Hornbeck Boat works in Olmstedville. I was interested in trying one of his lightweight solo boats.

Peter demonstrated proper form for entering his little boats,

and then I was on my own in his on-site pond.

I was surprised by the sea worthiness and secure feel of his 10.5 footer. Because I expect to have a canine passenger now and then, I was more interested in his 12- and 13-foot offerings.

I suspect I’ll get back there soon to make a decision on exactly which one.

On Tuesday, I left camp and spent the day in serious grouse scouting. I found very promising locations in Lewis and Clinton counties. Bunking for the night in Plattsburgh, I was lucky to find an eatery called Mangia’s. After a crisp salad and fresh warm bread, I enjoyed sea scallops wrapped in shaved zucchini over linguini in a delicate cream sauce with corn pesto, along with a nice pinot grigio. "Camp life" is tough, eh?

On Wednesday, I headed home. The grouse scouting en route was productive after a fashion, as I “added by subtraction” of several referred spots that were way too mature. I did find a porky in the middle of one road. I figured that it would be arrogant enough to let me drive up and snap it through the open window. Wrong. Maybe it objected to The Scent of a Subaru.

I'm so juiced by this little scouting vacation that I'm going to have Sam play it again soon. Look for the report in a week or so.