Volleyball Playoffs, Re-Arranging the Livingroom and Cutting Wood

This past week was the volleyball playoffs. Our Wednesday night Volley Llamas team finished 2nd in the 9 team league but lost in the semi-finals 2 games to 1. We had a large lead in the last game and just fell apart. Our team was comprised of AARP members (i.e. old, slow, and achy), with the exception of Billie Jo and a college aged son – we battled injuries and more than one person is doubtful to play next year, so it was an accomplishment finishing where we did.


Kathryn’s Thursday night team played in an more competitive division, but they also finished 2nd in the regular season and got beat in the semi-finals of the playoffs.

Eric got invited to accompany one of his buddies on a family camping trip Friday/Saturday night. So we did what any married couple does when they get a free, childless night – we moved furniture and re-arranged the living room!


Kathryn has had designs on breaking up the big futon couch and making the living room “more one room”. Of course, every piece of furniture that got moved required some cleaning actions to be taken.


So the computer/entertainment center went into the family room. The couch got split up and the little TV got re-positioned.


Saturday and Sunday we cut wood / started a new ski trail through our woods. We cut for a couple of hours on Saturday and then loaded it all onto the 3-point hitch carry-all that my Dad made. I estimate that when it is fully loaded the carry-all takes about ¾ a face cord of wood. We currently have about 8 cord of dead elm and ash firewood and another 4 cord of ash that I cut early in the summer and is likely to be dry enough to burn, but I would like to use it next winter, if possible. This past winter was very cold, we ran our wood stove nearly 24/7 and went through ~10 cord of wood.

Goalie Clinic

UK International is hosted a goalie and striker clinic Saturday at the Trenton Town Park from 9am-12pm. Eric, Matt and Harrison all did the goalie clinic.  There were about 6-8 girls in the striker clinic.  There was a short scrimmage afterwards.


Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs

Wendy and Stan gave us a free family ticket to the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs minor league baseball team and we attended their last home game vs. Albany.  Mohawk Valley plays versus teams from Albany, Newark, Utica, Watertown, Elmira, Amsterdam, etc.  The weather was perfect and it was an enjoyable evening.


Eric and Mitchell in the stands; Kathryn.

P1050319-001  P1050318-001

Getting Latitude / Longitude from Google Maps

Previously users had to paste custom JavaScript into the URL box of Google Maps to be able to display the latitude and longitude of an address. With the latest version of Google Maps, this is no longer required.

  1. To begin search for your desired location as you normally would.
  2. Next, right click the red “A” pin displayed on the map. Select What’s here?
  3. Once you’ve clicked What’s here?, Google Maps will automatically display the (latitude, longitude) pair in the Address search bar at the top of the Google Maps page.

Conversely, if you have a lat, long combination you can plug that into Google Maps to show a location:  43.27069053158456, -75.28080940246582

Goodnow Mountain

On Friday morning Skip, Eric, Kathryn and I hiked up Goodnow Mountain and climbed the fire tower. Goodnow Mountain is named for Sylvester Goodnow, a homesteader who settled at the base of the mountain in the 1820s. Take NY 28N East from Long Lake;  there is a white ESF Trailhead sign on the right side of the road about 11.6 miles east of Long Lake village. The elevation gain is 1,040 feet on this hike and it is 1.95 miles from the parking area to the tower (3.9 miles round trip).


At 0.6 miles, the trail turns upward over railroad-tie steps and a bog bridge. There is a fifteen-foot-tall dead tree trunk, weathered and stripped of its bark. The hollow on the uphill side of the tree is roomy enough to hide in; but more interesting is the way the entire trunk twists.


Nearby is the ‘Octopus Tree’ – a popular ‘photo-op’.


ESF has built numerous boardwalks along the way.  We passed a square concrete slab, the base of an old cabin, and an old horse barn at 1.6 miles  that served as a horse stable for Archer Huntington, stepson of railroad tycoon and industrialist Collis Huntington, and Archer’s second wife, Anna, a sculptor.


A 60 foot fire tower on Goodnow Mountain was erected in 1922 that was staffed until 1970. The area was once logged by the Huntington’s, and remains of their logging operations can still be seen on the mountain. The College and the Town of Newcomb restored the tower in 1995. The views from the summit and the fire tower are expansive.

Goodnow Firetower


On a nice day, the view from the fire tower on Goodnow mountain is one of the best in the Adirondacks.  The most prominent mountain seen from the summit tower is Santanoni, but many of the other High Peaks are also visible.  a 360-degree panorama of the Adirondacks was visible. A circular map, once used by the fire watchers, helps identify landmarks in the panorama.  The mountain peaks to the south.


PeakFinder_Goodnow Mountain_south

The mountains to the north.

PeakFinder_Goodnow Mountain_north

At the foot of the tower stands a cabin where a fire observer (and, often, his wife) lived for six months out of the year.  It has been restored with typical furniture and items used by the watcher, including a  Adirondack pack basket, which hangs on the wall. A placard tells the story of the tower and includes photographs of two fire watchers, George Shaughnessy (1930) and Walter West (1962). A page from a 1936 watcher’s log is taped to the door. The cabin gives modern-day hikers a sense of what life was like at a working fire tower.


We started our hike at 10:30am and there was only one other couple when we climbed to the fire tower.  We spent about 30 minutes hanging out at the summit before venturing back down.  We passed several families and youth groups climbing up – a total of 62 people climbing to the summit.

Essex Chain of Lakes

The Essex Chain Lakes Complex is comprised of the 19,600 acres of lands and waters of the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area  located in the central portion of the Adirondack Park.  Essex Chain Lakes  were acquired by the state in 2012, opened to the public officially October 2013 and made accessible for camping in June 2014.  Thirteen designated tent sites along the shores of the waters of the complex require a free permit between May 15 and October 15.  The permit system is administered through a partnership with the Student Conservation Association Back Country Stewardship Program and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) facility.  Campers must call 518-582-2000 or visit the AIC facility at 5922 State Route 28N in Newcomb, NY, to reserve a tent site. Campers can pick up their reserved permit at the AIC facility between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. any day of the week. Tent sites may be reserved no more than 10 days in advance.  Campers may visit the AIC web site  ( ) for maps and information about camping, the tent sites and the permit system. The AIC website will track tent sites that are occupied or reserved to assist campers in choosing a campsite.  The camping is restricted — no campfires — as these campsites are located in what are the Essex Chain Lake and Pine Lakes Primitive areas. More campsites are in the works with fewer restrictions in other areas.

Essex Chain of Lakes Campsites

It’s about an 11-mile drive from Rt. 28N to the Deer Pond parking lot. Take the Goodnow Flow Road approximately 4.3 miles and turn right onto Woody’s Road. Follow Woody’s Road for approximately 1.5 miles. Turn left onto the Cornell/Deer Pond Road and travel 4.4 miles to the Deer Pond parking area.  The first seven miles are through private land until you reach the new Forest Preserve boundary. From there, it’s another four miles on a dirt road. A car with good clearance can make this trip under current road conditions.

Essex Chain of Lakes Access


Much of the portage trail is old  road which can accommodate a wheeled cart.  Paddlers can carry their canoe or kayak from the parking area at the end of the Cornell/Deer Pond Road less than 0.25 mile to Deer Pond.  Below Kathryn and Eric arrive at the Deer Pond launch site.


The 0.5 mile carry from Deer Pond to Third Lake is located directly across the pond on its southern shore.  Once in Third Lake paddlers can access Second Lake by water and from there travel to First Lake using a short carry trail. On the northern shore of First Lake near its western end is the 0.4 mile carry to Grassy Pond.

We chose  the other direction and traveled from Third Lake to Fourth Lake and then to Fifth Lake can be reached by paddling through the culvert under the roadway, or during high water portaging over the road. Paddlers can reach Sixth and Seventh Lake directly from Fifth Lake.  We chose to camp at the only site on Fifth Lake assuming seclusion but were unaware of the dirt road passing behind the campsite.  On our 1st day there were bikers and one lost hiker.  The campsites were a little rough but the lake was pretty.

Eric worked hard at fishing and was finally rewarded when Kathryn suggested he use pieces of hot dog near the downed tree.


Eric caught 25+ sunfish and shiners (some possibly more than once).  Kid fishing at it’s best.


We toured Sixth and Seventh Lakes on Tuesday evening.



Matt and Skip


Generally good weather, although rained one day. Bugs were not bad except for deer flies on the portage.  We heard and saw lots of loons; swimming, fishing, flying from pond to pond and making defensive displays to distract Skip and Matt when they inadvertently got too close to a family unit.   At least 5 of them  swimming, dancing and flying past our campsite all the time.  Very cool.  Heard owls and various warblers.  Because the campsite hadn’t had a lot of use (we think we were actually the first), no black bears in evidence.  Leeches in the water were a deterrent to a lot of swimming, though we did swim some and the water was very warm.



Kathryn doing a little tent house-keeping.


After breakfast Wednesday morning Matt and Skip hiked out to the parking lot;  Matt to return home and Skip to meet his brother-in-law, Steve.  Skip and Steve paddled around the Chain of Lakes Rain.  Mid-afternoon rain moved and we sat under the tarps and played cards and cooked our dinner of Mac & Cheese and hot dogs.  The evening cleared out and the next morning displayed a clear and calm Fifth Lake.


Thursday morning we opted to portage out along the road rather than paddling back to Third Lake.  It took about 60 minutes of easy walking.

Penalty Kicks With A Hat

We gave Eric a $5 reward for completing his swim lessons and told him he could spend it on anything he wanted.  He bought a hat.  After dinner he challenged me to a penalty kick shoot out.  One of us plays goalie and the other takes a penalty kick.



Eric Passed His Swim Test

Eric passed his swim test; graduating from Level 4 to Level 5.  The kids did a lot of work learning new strokes such as butterfly, side stroke and breast stroke.  There may have been one other kid in the class that graduated.

Next summer – Level 5 !


Lacrosse vs Rome

Eric closed out his summer lacrosse season this week.  The team was short-handed with no subs and played a Rome team with 17 players and 4 coaches; losing 16-1.  He played every position during the game, even doing a few face-offs (which were frequent due to the scoring). Eric managed one good shot on goal that was blocked by the goalie. Trevor had the only successful goal.  Overall HP didn’t manage to take very many shots.  The kids showed improvement through the season.  There were 5 boys that never played before and several 5th graders, so there was lots of room for improvement.


Eric looking a  little despondent after the game.


Swim Lessons

Eric is again taking two weeks of swim lessons at MVCC this summer.  We told him he was taking swim lessons until he became a life guard so he would have that option as a summer job when he got older.  He hasn’t been ecstatic about doing the lessons, but last summer he managed to be one of the kids graduating to level 4.  He is learning new strokes (butterfly and breast stroke so far) and doing well.



While doing the swim lessons Eric was interviewed for an article in the Utica OD.

Get your feet wet: Swim lessons are appropriate for all ages, BY John Pitarresi

Eric Muller is a sixth-grader from Holland Patent who wants to someday swim for the Golden Knights’ traditionally strong high school team. He’s working on it right now, several mornings a week, at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Learn to Swim program, which offers lessons for everyone from toddlers to adults. “I’m trying to become a better swimmer and learn more strokes,” said Eric, whose favorite discipline is the crawl, but who is working hard on the breast stroke and butterfly.  He’s having a good time doing it.

That pleases his mother, Kathryn Muller. “He’s a good swimmer, but I want him to be able to do different strokes and do them well,” she said. “Swimming is a lifelong skill. He can swim from now until he’s my age and beyond. It’s important he have that skill. A lot of kids play in the water, but being able to do a good crawl and backstroke is important.”

Fun and safety – and maybe competition down the road – seem to be the major reasons parents want their children to have lessons, at least among those who watched their kids at a recent session at MVCC. But both are equally good reasons for land-lovers of all ages to learn some basic strokes.

“Everyone should learn to swim. It’s a survival skill,” said swim instructor Sara Cutwright. “You can be 80 years old. You’re never too old to learn.”

‘Safety is a big concern’.  Mark Irizarry of Whitesboro accompanies his daughter Isabella to her lessons. “We have a camp at Old Forge and we’re getting a pool at home,” he said. “Safety is a big concern, plus she enjoys it. Kids love swimming.” Irizarry is a swimmer himself, but preferred Isabella learn from the instructors at the MVCC pool. “There is less stress on me if they teach her,” he said. “The first day she had trouble with her goggles, but they handled it well and now it is like it never happened. The progress I’ve seen in a week is outstanding.”

Kelly Colicci of Frankfort has had a similar experience with her son Vincenzo, 4, who is taking lessons for the first time this year so he’ll be safe around the family’s pool. “It’s wonderful,” she said. “The first day he was a little bit scared, but the instructors have been great with him.”
There are about 10 instructors at MVCC, all experienced swimmers, obviously. Some are lifeguards; all are Red Cross certified and passionate about the benefits of swimming.

Kristi Peterson, a physical education teacher at Thomas R. Proctor High School, has been teaching swimming at MVCC since 2006 and for more than 20 years overall. She said she loves it, and feels it is important. “You want to teach them enjoyment in the water while being safe at the same time so they can go to the beach or a water park,” she said. “I come here because of the kids. I love it when they finally get something, and I love to see the excitement on their faces.”

Never too old. Scott Wanner is the assistant swim coach at Utica College. But when he’s not coaching, Wanner teaches swimming in New Hartford’s town program, and also gives private lessons. He thinks it’s best to learn at a young age – how else could you enjoy a lifetime of fun in and around the water? – but he agrees that it’s never too late to learn. “I have given lessons to a number of adults who only began lessons after their children had already learned,” he said. “A few started being hesitant to get their faces wet, and after becoming more comfortable and learning the basic skills, began to swim in deep water with no reservations.” While swimming is an important skill for everyone, Wanner thinks it’s especially important in Upstate New York, which offers a great deal of water-based recreation. “Not only is it an excellent way to exercise, but it allows for individuals to engage in a number of other water activities, and enjoy the plethora of pools and lakes in our area,” he said.

Where to learn.  A number of local pools offer swimming programs, but not everyone offers swimming lessons. Here are a few that do:

  • City of Utica: Free lessons are offered at Addison Miller, Buckley and Seymour pools, and are available at beginner to advanced swimmer levels. Registration is held at the Parkway Rec Center. Children must be between 6-14 years of age. Contact the Youth Bureau at 223-4320 for more information.
  • YMCA of the Greater Tri Valley. Call 336-3500, Ext. 230.
  • Herkimer College: “Refine Your Swim Stroke” will be offered as a class in Fall 2014. For more information, visit
  • Town of New Hartford. Information:
  • Scott Wanner: private lessons. Call: 601-5233.

Did you know…  The American Association of Pediatrics says children can safely take swim lessons as early as age 1. Until 2010, the AAP had specified this number as age 4. But a 2009 U.S. study found an 88 percent reduction in drowning risk in kids ages 1 to 4 who had taken swimming lessons. Lessons for kids too young to swim effectively should include safety skills such as controlled breathing and floating on one’s back, experts say. Also, parent-and-baby classes should cover risk awareness and safety measures that parents can take to keep their kids safe. Source: The Washington Post