Maine

We spent a week on Toddy Pond with Jim, Pam, Vance, Gabe, Maddy, Eric and Stone. We picked up Eric at noon after his Drivers’ Ed class and met BillieJo and Stone at the Canjoharie Thruway exit. Kathryn drove 5 hours to Portsmouth where we spent the night. We had an excellent lobster bisque at Warrens in Kittery for dinner. The next morning we drove the remaining 3.5 hours to Toddy Pond. Eric and Stone immediately began to fish and then go swimming.

Wednesday was overcast and raining so we went to the Chicken Barn, LL Bean Outlet Store, lunch at Jordan’s Snack Bar and picked up 9 lobster for dinner, Eric and Stone cooked the lobster. The Big Chicken Barn is packed with books and periodicals.

Friday Kathryn, Jim, Eric and Stone went deep sea fishing and caught mackerel and pollock. The boat captured over 300 fish which were filleted and handed out. On the return trip they pulled lobster traps yielding 28 lobster. Kathryn, Eric and Stone each won a lobster.

Saturday Kathryn, Jim H., Eric and Stone climbed the Precipice trail in Acadia National Park. Adventurous hikers will hike a 2.3-mile trek with 1,073 feet of total elevation gain – half of that comes in 0.3 miles as one navigates steep switchbacks, metal ladders and iron rungs up the east face of Champlain Mountain. Endangered peregrine falcons nest and raise their young on the mountain in spring and summer, and the park closes the trail from March 15 to Aug. 15 to protect them.

Sunday evening the crew went to dinner at Castine’s where Stone had a BBQ chicken doused in “I-dare-you-sauce”. Then the kids and Jim went home for movie night while the rest of gang paddled double kayaks at night time and observed constellations, shooting stars and bio-luminous algae. Monday we swam and went kayaking and we drove home on Tuesday.

Little Tupper Lake to Lake Lila to Lows Lake

In 2002 Kathryn, Matt, Mark and I did an overnight trip from Little Tupper Lake to Lake Lila shortly after NYS acquisition of the Whitney Estate. At the time we were told that less than 75 people had completed the trip. For this adventure trip we planned to continue past Lake Lila and portage to Lows Lake per the schematic below.

It was a 2 hour drive from Floyd to the Little Tupper Lake boat launch off Sabattis Road in the town of Long Lake. We met Steve at the launch about 9am and unload everything from the truck for Skip and Paul to guard while Steve and I transferred my truck to a parking spot in the Lows Lake parking lot. We returned in Steve’s car to LTL boat launch and were paddling by 11am.  We headed to Rock Pond to find a campsite for the night.

Rock Pond to Lows Lake Traverse

Little Tupper is six miles long and at 2,300 acres, it is the 14th biggest lake in the Adirondack Park. Behind Lows Lake, it is the second biggest motor-free lake. There are 24 designated primitive paddle-in campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis. To the west is a low wetland and the outlet of Charley Pond. We paddled upstream towards Charley Pond as far as the Burn Road Trail bridge. One can continue paddling further upstream for ~mile before reaching private land.

The Rock Pond Outlet is 1.5 miles of fairly wide, gently-winding stream with boggy shores. Rock Pond has a total of six campsites. We stopped at the 1st available for a late lunch at 2:30. We debated the merits of staying on Rock Pond versus trying to knock off the 2 mile portage to Hardigan Pond and staying at the unknown campsite. The Rock Pond campsite won the debate. While snacking we saw people at site 26 – the island campsite. We decided to scout the other campsites and discovered the two people on the island site were day tripping and returning to Little Tupper Lake. We set up camp and the light breezes kept the bugs away.

Looking at Salmon Mtn from Rock Pond

Day 2 we got up at 5:30am and were on the water by 7:30 as we had 4 miles of portages to accomplish to reach Lake Lila. We started off with a 2 mile portage to Hardigan Pond. From Hardigan Pond there was a .55 mile portage to Salmon Lake Outlet. From Little Salmon Lake there was another .5 mile portage into Lilypad Pond. Each of these portages included traipsing over beaver dams or flooded trailways resulting in soaked feet. Finally we concluded an .8 mile portage from Lilypad Pond to Shingle Shanty Brook. We paddled the meandering Shingle Shanty Brook for nearly 45 minutes until reaching Lake Lila. While all these portages showed footprints, the trails were overgrown with ferns and briars. The deer flies were a constant annoyance. While we tried to single carry portions of the portages, largely we leap-frogged our packs and the canoes. White caps were rolling on Lake Lila so we undertook tacking maneuvers to quarter the wind and stay near shore. We reached site 20 which was a large open site with a rocky beach. We went swimming, re-hydrated and cooked dinner. We set up a tarp due to rain projected in the forecast.

We awoke at 6am with the sound of light rain and packed up our damp tents during a lull in the rain. On the water at 7:30am we set off for the Harrington Brook trailhead. The Harrington Brook trail was extremely muddy so we opted to make the short bushwhack to the railroad tracks and skip the Harrington Brook trail and pond. As we trekked up the 1.2 miles up the railroad tracks the rain transitioned from light sprinkles to an absolute downpour as we launched into Clear Pond. The portage from the railroad to Clear Pond was open with good footing – the best trail of all the portages. The deer flies at Clear Pond and Bog Lake were horrendous – causing us to paddle with head nets.

Lows Lake

Paul and I made a navigation error and prolonged our trip on Lows Lake; otherwise extending a 15 mile paddle. As the rain continued we decided to paddle out to the lower dam and head for home, rather than set up a campsite and leave the next morning. We were loaded up by 8:30pm (making a 13 hour day) and drove home to showers and dry clothes.

Hoops Summit, Watertown

This weekend was the culmination of Eric’s 2019 AAU season as his Mohawk Valley Elite team competed in the Hoops Summit held in Watertown, NY. The team came away with 2 wins and 2 losses. I am particularly proud of Eric working to come back from ankle surgery and regain his game. Eric didn’t score much, but played stout defense against larger post players and pulled down double digit rebounds in the last game.

Stillwater Reservoir

Skip and Steve left on Thursday to scout campsites; ending up at Picnic Point, which they said was fine when breezy, but overrun with mosquitoes when the wind died down. So they picked an alternative (#37) for those of us that arrived on Friday. Kathryn, Gaie and I paddled in Friday afternoon, followed by Dave and Debbie Shoemaker.

After sitting up camp Kathryn and Gaie went fishing with Kathryn catching 7 small bass during the evening session.

Kathryn made Spanish Rice for dinner which was delicious and bountiful. It rained overnight but cleared out Saturday morning. We took the canoes out for fishing, but didn’t have much luck. The weather was highly variable with sun, clouds and wind all fluctuating throughout the day, but no rain. At night we had chicken and rice with vegetables. After dinner and another attempt at fishing the crew started playing pitch and looking over their shoulders at a pending thunderstorm. We settled until Skip’s tarp just as the heavens unleashed a torrential rain. It rained almost all night. Sunday morning we awoke at 6, packed up our gear, were on the water a little before 9am and off the water 45 minutes later.

Red Wigglers

I bought 500 red wigglers to work through our overflowing compost bin. They were shipped from Jim’s Worm Farm and re-located to Jim’s Compost Bin.

Senior Nationals Volleyball Tournament – Albuquerque

Kathryn’s 65+ volleyball team finished 4th in their 18 team pool – just out of the medals, but they did get this nifty ribbon.

Empire State Senior Games 2019

The Empire State Senior games draw more than 1,100 athletes aged over 50 from around the state to compete in 20 events. The biggest draw this year is pickleball with 450 registered, followed by volleyball with 275 registrants.  I got invited onto a 65+ volleyball team, Jabberwocky, from the Amsterdam area and we managed to practice together twice. Separately, Kathryn joined a women’s over 60 team. Men’s games were all day Saturday and women’s matches were on Sunday at SUNY Cortland’s Lusk Field House . Our 65+ Team, Jabberwocky, started off playing a 5-1 configuration and losing 2 of our 1st three games. We switched to a 4-2 alignment with better passing and won our 1st medal match. We lost in the gold/silver finals to a team that practices together on a weekly basis. We played 12 games in all. It was nice to improve our play and come away with a silver medallion.

Memorial Day Weekend 2019

Friday Eric had the spoken portion of his French test and did quite well. The tutoring has really helped. Saturday we went to Matt’s house for a Hay/Muller picnic. We played 9 holes of disc golf – not very well. When we got home we watched a YouTube video on footwork and throwing technique which seemed to make an improvement.

Sunday I finished placing bird houses in the pasture and did some grading of the road side sand that built up over the winter. Kathryn and I cut firewood; particularly a large poplar that fell across the trails. Sunday night we were planning on cooking over the fire at cook-out corner, but we were interrupted by Cullen getting into a porcupine. Fortunately, he didn’t get any quills inside his mouth and Eric/Kathryn were able to remove all the quills. While restraining Cullen Eric picked up two ticks – one of which we didn’t discover until later in the evening. The tick was still burrowing and we did the best we could to extract him. The next morning K took Eric to urgent care to ensure all the tick was removed and to get an initial dose of antibiotics.

Monday I planted most of the garden starting with Brussel Sprouts, peas, tomatoes, broccoli, artichokes, pole beans, pumpkins, acorn squash and kale. New this year is the attempt to grow artichokes – I have never tried them before and use of hog panel fence for the pole beans. I still have more tomato and artichoke plants to transfer. We mowed the lawn and Kathryn used the self-propelled mower to mow most of the trails.

Local Bird List

I saw a birding contest sponsored by the DEC with the challenge being to identify at least 10 birds from a list of birds common to NYS. We were just able to identify 10 from their list, but decided to list birds we commonly see from our house. We came up with a list of 53 local birds that we see regularly.

Baltimore Oriole, Blue Bird, Blue Jay, Bob Link, Brown Thrush, Canada Goose, Cardinal, Cat Bird, Chickadee, Common Yellow Throat, Crow, Downy Woodpecker, Evening Grosbeak, Grackle, Great Blue Heron, Hairy Woodpecker, House Finch, House Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Junco, Kestrel, Killdeer, King Fisher, Mallard Duck, Meadow Lark, Mourning Dove, Northern Harrier, Orchard Oriole, Oven Bird, Pee Wee, Phoebe, Pileated Woodpecker, Pine Siskins, Purple Finch, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Red Tailed Hawk, Red Winged Blackbird, Robin, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Rose Breasted Nut Hatch, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Ruffed Grouse, Snipe, Starling, Tree Swallow, Turkey, Turkey Vulture, Veery, White Breasted Nuthatch, White Crown Sparrow, White Throated Sparrow, Wood Thrush, Yellow Finch

Hoops Summit and Volleyball in West Virginia

This past weekend Kathryn and Margaret drove to West Virginia to compete in a Senior’s volleyball tournament. They drove down on Friday, did a short tour of Harper’s Ferry and played volleyball all day Saturday, losing every game, before the return drive on Sunday.
Eric played in the Hoops Summit basketball tournament in Saratoga. We drove over on Saturday morning. Eric played in two games Saturday afternoon – losing by 5 in Game 1 vs. NY Warriors and winning game two. They won their Sunday afternoon game, but did not make it into a tie-breaker championship. Eric is starting to lose weight and re-gain his conditioning. He did a good job of defending vs. larger post players, but did not score.