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Holiday Decorations

Kathryn decorated our house….everywhere.  Outside decorations on our porch.  The main door has a wreath and bow.

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The door to the garage is guarded by a corncob pipe smoking snowman that my Dad made.  The door has a wreath with bows and there is a holiday penguin hanging in the maple tree.

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Inside are a Nativity Scene made by my Mom and snowmen.

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Every window is decorated with decals and garland.

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Above my computer desk is another Nativity Scene.

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Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend.  Eric got invited to play in the Barneveld “Turkey Bowl” with his buddies.  (Orange sweatshirt on the far side.)

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Kathryn, the best cook, made a the best meal ever.

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Kathryn and Jeanne discussing world events in kitchen prior to the meal.

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Table 1: Dakota, Kathryn, Matt and Linda

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Table 2: Robert, Joel, Chris, Linda, Jack and Steve

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Table 3: Linda serving, Jeanne, Billie Jo, Eric and Stone

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Camping in the cold: Believe it or not, it has its rewards

I was interviewed by John Pitarresi for an Article in the Utica OD.

It’s cold. Very cold. The nights are long. You’re bored to tears. It’s winter in Upstate New York. So … why not go camping?  What? Camping? In all that ice and snow and air so frigid you could crack it with a hammer? Yes, says Jim Muller. And Bill Ingersoll, too.

“For me, there are two reasons,” said Muller, who has been camping in the cold for 20 years or so. “Winters can be long here, and I want to do something. I don’t want to be house-bound the whole time. … We’re not ice climbing; we’re not bagging peaks. We’re just going out and camping with friends.  “And there also is the feeling of competency and being able to take care of yourself, that feeling of self-sufficiency.” Another bonus? You can camp in areas that you can’t get to in open weather, and travel, in many cases, actually is more convenient. “It is a whole lot easier to cross a lake in winter,” Muller said.

Ingersoll, too, has been a cold-weather camping aficionado for a couple of decades.  “Just about everyone who does cold-weather camping appreciates that there are no bugs and few people,” he said. “Those are the primary attractions. It is not a popular time to go into the woods, so the entire forest is yours. Essentially, people who winter camp are people who summer camp and don’t want to give it up.  “It’s more about the experience than the sights – essentially it is dark at 5 p.m. – so it’s the peace and quiet of being in the back country.”

Muller, who lives in Holland Patent and is a project manager at Northrup Grumman at Griffiss Business and Technology Park, has developed a website, www.wintercampers.com, devoted to his avocation. Ingersoll, who lives in Barneveld, writes and publishes the Adirondack Adventures book series through his own Wild River Press. Both have solid advice on winter camping, including what kind of attitude to bring to it.  “A lot of it is mental,”

Ingersoll said. “If you think you are going to be miserable, you aren’t going to enjoy it. But you can be happy and content and warm outdoors overnight in the cold. It’s mind over matter.”  That being said, a test run isn’t a bad idea. You probably don’t want to drive up into the mountains, walk out into the woods, set up camp and discover, as night falls with an icy thud, that you simply can’t do this.  “Try it in your backyard,” Ingersoll said. “Your neighbors might look at you silly, but if you can’t do it in your backyard, you’re not going to do it in a lean-to three miles from a road.”

For those who would like to know more, Muller will make a presentation on winter camping at a meeting of the Iroquois Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at the First Presbyterian Church in New Hartford. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m., with Muller’s presentation following a 40-minute business meeting.

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Halloween Weekend

Friday night Eric was invited to a Halloween party in Barneveld.  He dressed up as a mafia character.

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Saturday he invited Sawyer to play in the afternoon and Sunday he invited 8 other boys to play capture the flag.  After capture the flag the boys took a short break for a snack.  Clockwise are Eric, Austin, Trevor, Jack, Sawyer, Jack, Jon, Josh and Noah.

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Philadelphia

For Christmas Billie Jo offered to house and supervise Eric for a weekend during 2014 enabling Kathryn and I to take a weekend vacation.  We planned a weekend with the Helmer’s in visiting historic sites in Philadelphia.  We drove down Friday afternoon and ate at a German Restaurant Friday evening.

Saturday we had perfect weather as we visited the Liberty Bell, Assembly Hall, took a historic walk, visited the Ben Franklin museum, ate in an authentic restaurant and took a ghost walk.

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The Pennsylvania State Court house, our National Park Service guide standing on trial. Our guide was loud and good, injecting a little acting into his spiel.

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Across the hall was historic Assembly Hall.

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Our walking tour guide at Ben Franklin’s grave.

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The Ben Franklin bust composed of spoons; located at the Franklin Fire Department, founded by Ben Franklin.

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Jim looking at Betsy Ross’s home.

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Pam and Kathryn at the City Tavern.

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Henderson Lake

Over Columbus Weekend Matt, Skip and I squeezed in one last late season canoe camping trip to Henderson Lake; making it the 3rd trip to Henderson this year for Skip and I, including our May scouting trip, our July tour with Steve, Kathryn and Eric.  We had gorgeous weather on Sunday, a clear starry night and light fog on Monday as we departed.  We took lots of pictures.

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This is an awesome picture taken by Matt  on Henderson Lake. He probably took about 20 different versions of this shot trying to capture the dead tree spire, the Big Dipper and the faint silhouette of the high peaks to the west. I believe this required a 60 second exposure and about 2 seconds of illumination of the tree with a head lamp.

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Pumpkin Patch Mud Run

We took the Stone and Dakota with us to the Pumpkin Patch Mud Run.  Friday night we had spaghetti dinner at Jeanne’s along with other team members.  Saturday was damp but the rain held off until the kid’s run at 12:30.  Kathryn, Eric, Stone and Nathan did both the adult run and the kid’s run for a total of a little over 4 miles.

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Insane Inflatables Obstacle Run

Kathryn, Eric, Wendy, Hannah and Oliva participated in the Insane Inflatables race in Syracuse.

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Kent & Kathi

Our friends, Kent & Kathi, spent time with us after parent’s weekend at Wheaton College.  They arrived on Sunday afternoon in time to see Eric’s soccer game vs Hamilton (a 2-2 tie).  On Monday we took a long hike around our ski trails visiting the old foundation, a tree stand and bushwhacking the last portion.

Collages

On Tuesday they dug Herkimer diamonds with Billie Jo.  Kent ended up with several nice crystals which he is going to clean up and return to Billie Jo to make into jewelry.

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Evenings we played board games; Scotland Yard or Apples to Apples.

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Wednesday Kathryn accompanied them to Niagara Falls; they flew home to Eugene on Friday.

Long Lake to The Crusher

I took a 4 day canoe trip from Long Lake down the Racquette River over the 1 mile carry to the Crusher (Racquette River and Route 3).  This route is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and most of the route of the 2nd day of the 90 Mile Adirondack Canoe Classic.

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I went with the two Paul’s from the local ADK chapter and Bill Ingersoll, author of the Discover the ADKs series.  Wednesday  was beautiful, sunny and no wind as we crossed Long Lake.

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As we paddled north on Long Lake we passed several lean-tos.  There are other campsites up both sides of Long Lake without lean-to’s and are shown on the canoe route map. Between the end of Long Lake and Raquette Falls there are few sites once you pass the Cold River confluence.  The tent sites get much less traffic and most have an outhouse somewhere back from the site. All the lean-to sites do also, but due to the increased number of visitors and the general inexperience of the campers, some lean-to sites can be messy.

Bill, his dog Lexi and I paddled down the Raquette River and proceeded up the Cold River. The Cold River is navigable for a little ways upstream from it’s confluence with the Raquette River.  There’s a trail/herd path to Shattuck Clearing from where you can’t paddle any further upstream.   The trail along the Coldriver is called the Pine Point trail.

Paul and Paul missed the confluence with the Cold River and proceeded down stream on the Raquette River all the way to the Raquette Falls Carry, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes further.  Realizing their error they paddled back upstream and re-joined us at the Calkins Brook Lean-to on the Cold River.   We cooked dinner and played a little three handed pitch before turning in for the night.

Paul stayed in his tent while Bill, Lexi, Paul and I slept in the lean-to.  We heard owls during the night.  It was windy and it rained overnight; continuing an on-again, off-again rain and wind until mid-afternoon when it broke long enough for Bill and his buddies to go searching for a trail head on the Cold River.

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Friday we paddled down the Raquette River and did the carry which skirts waterfalls with some class 2-3 rapids with “must moves” above the falls.  We leap-frogged the carry splitting duties carrying packs and canoes.

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At the bottom of the carry we paused for a snack and to re-group prior to hiking to see the lower falls of Raquette River.

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Below Paul checks out the two plank Lazy-boy chair.

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The Lower Falls displays a  significant amount of elevation drop.

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We  camped at a lean-to slightly below the falls.  Our lean-to was crashed by a couple of other paddlers who claimed they couldn’t find the lean-tos on either side of ours.  They just pulled in and started unloading their gear without seeking consent.  There were two lean-tos within walking distance on either side of us.  They ended up tenting on the site, but they wanted to hang their food bag in the lean-to!  Without asking!  I wasn’t happy about it – I mean there is only 6.1 million acres for them to camp in. Fortunately they stayed to themselves and turned in early.  We cooked dinner and played 4 person cut throat pitch until 9pm and turned in.  We heard coyotes and owls during the night.

Saturday morning it was 35 degrees when we got up.  Our tenting partners woke up cold, packed quickly and headed out downstream.  We ate breakfast, pack up and were paddling downstream by shortly after 9am.  After paddling for 30 minutes we warmed up.  I shed a layer and exchanged my fleece jacket for access to my rain coat as dark clouds were threatening.  As we paddled downstream we were passed by DEC Ranger Gary Valentine who warned us of a thunderstorm coming in around noon, but stated “the way you are paddling you should be pulled out at the Crusher by then”.  Ten minutes later it started raining; a cold, wind driven rain.  We caught up and the canoe bearing the two men who tented on our lean-to site and passed one hunting tent with a man sitting dry under his canvas tarp while the rain soaked canoeists paddled by.  We passed the outlet to Stony Creek Ponds and made it to the Crusher slightly before noon.

The Crusher launch site is  just northwest of Trombley Landing, near the intersection of NYS Route 3 and 30.  The Crusher is the common end point for Day 2 of the 90 Miler Canoe Classic.  There’s a large paved parking lot and a wide ramp for launching boats and an outhouse.  We were very glad to reach the cars, load up the canoes and change into dry clothes.

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