On a warm Spring day in 2001 my engineer (Henry Greenblatt) and I were patiently waiting in Hillcrest, NY for permission to enter the yard from the Canadian Pacific yardmaster. All of a sudden we heard a docile voice from below the cab window of our locomotive calling to us. It was a slender woman, a straw hat atop of her head and a great big smile. She wanted to know what we were doing sitting there. Henry’s good natured response was “Come on up!” As she entered the locomotive cab you could see the excitement on her face, she introduced herself as Marly DeDio. From that day on a friendship was born between Marly and most of the train service employees. As we would head north or south we could count on a friendly wave from Marly. Or even better yet with advanced notice of our passing, a fresh baked gift of cookies could be hooped up.
Marly was a passionate gardener, she even inspired my love/hate relationship with it. Also Marly started my love of birds. Sometimes I would visit her and we’d sit on her back porch sipping tea and eating scones.
My friendship with Marly had become invaluable, she had become part of our family. My boys adored her as she did them. Marly even spent several Christmas holidays with us over the years. During the past year I had dropped out of touch with her and on this Christmas morning I stepped out to the mailbox to check for mail from the previous day. In there I found a letter from a mutual friend informing me that Marly had passed away recently. Our family is heartbroken! Apparently Marly had developed Parkinson’s disease and fallen breaking her neck.
Marly was a wonderful human being and our lives are that much richer for knowing her, Rest In Peace my friend. 😢
In early September myself and two other friends went on a canoe camping trip in the St. Regis Canoe Area of New York’s Adirondack Park. The weather would be perfect with nights dipping into the low 30’s. I loved this adventure and hope you enjoy some of the images from it.
September 8th I left my home in the Southern Tier of New York arriving in Lake Placid, NY 4.5 hours later. Here I would meet my friend Gary with Placid being our home for the night. We would do some paddling in the area, also hitting a few of the local breweries as well.
Early the next morning Gary & I would meet our friend Scott at our starting point “Little Clear Pond” for our adventure. Our canoes loaded and I mean loaded we were off for 4 days/3 nights of adventure.
Once across Little Clear Pond we would have a 1/2 mile canoe carry to St. Regis Pond. Each of us wound up doing a “Double Carry” due to our packs being so heavy. Our goal for this trip would be to hopefully snag the only lean-to on St. Regis Pond. Our hopes would be dashed as it was already occupied. No worries we scouted a great primitive campsite not too far away. We unloaded our gear, setup our site and we were off for a great little pond hopping adventure for the rest of the day.
We would paddle across the 400 acre St. Regis Pond to the 116 meter canoe carry into Green Pond, followed by a 255 meter carry to Little Long Pond, followed by a 315 meter carry to Bear Pond and lastly a 121 meter carry to Bog Pond. I’ve paddled most of these ponds mentioned here before. I love these little ponds, especially Little Long Pond. We would make it back to camp around 5:30 in order to get dinner cooking and the campfire going for the evening. Later that evening we would crack a few beers, peer through the tree canopy as millions of stars shined in the night sky.
Morning came and our first order of business was coffee! Our plan for the day was another pond hopping adventure with one of the carries being 1.4 miles. The day would contrast in many ways. I mean we had periods of sun and light mist. We also battled a little mud especially at the aptly named “Mud Pond” where I sank down to my waist. As my cohorts were laughing I was able to free myself rather quickly.
My favorite from the day was “Fish Pond”. This pond is remote and takes some getting into. It does have two lean to’s on it and we decided to sit out some of the passing weather at one of them enjoying a hot fire and some lunch.
After spending most of the day paddling and carrying we found ourselves back at camp around 5PM. This seemed like a perfect time to get things in order, cook dinner and relax and watch the day fade into night.
We were still exhausted the next day from our prior adventure and decided a camp day was just what we needed. We sat around and told tall tales, sipped some whiskey, paddled and even took a nap. We knew this coming night would be cold as overnight temperatures would dip to just around freezing. The night sky was clear and in the distance we could hear the thunder of Vermont’s Air National Guard and their F16’s doing some night training. The Adirondacks see’s a lot of that my guess is because of the low volume of air traffic but I’ve been wrong once or twice in my life.
With silence restored Gary and I sat and watched the Milky Way begin to appear as Scott snored away in his tent. Later we would be awakened by a crashing noise in camp and I thought to myself we have a bear in camp. I sprang up quickly grabbing my headlamp and peered out of my tent. Gary immediately did the same as Scott was sleeping😂. It turned out that we had three skunks checking out or homestead. They quickly dispersed into the woods and we never saw them again. However I had a difficult time getting back to sleep because of the loons and owls that began to jam at 0330. I will admit it was an amazing symphony.
The next morning it was cold and we quickly got the campfire started for some heat as well as coffee. We ate breakfast and chatted about our adventures. Afterwards we would break camp, douse our fire with water, load our boats and begin our journey out.
Once we were back to our cars with boats loaded and gear packed it was time to hit Raybrook Brew House in Raybrook, NY for a late lunch and a few cold beers. Yeah that hit the spot!
In mid August I had the opportunity to paddle a portion of the upper Susquehanna river here in New York. In all honesty I really never thought much about it. When a friend suggested we do it I was intrigued.
We launched from the Crumhorn Pond/Susquehanna State Forest a few miles north of Portlandville, NY. Upon arrival I was shocked to see a Waterway Steward at the launch site checking boats for invasive species and washing them before they enter the water. In the Adirondacks I have seen many of these stewards but not so much around here. I think this is a great program!
The morning was warm and sunny as we slid our canoes into the water making our way from Crumhorn Pond into the Susquehanna. This section of the river differs immensely from where I live. The river is narrow and has more water due to the dam on Goodyear Lake. I loved the way the river snaked its way through the rural farm land of Central New York, throwing in a few hairpin turns just for fun.
Paddling north 4 miles to where the Cherry Valley Creek enters the river, we hung a right hand turn exploring the creek for about a mile. One spot we had to navigate a narrow passage due to a fallen tree across the creek. Shortly after we came to a point where we had to exit our boats due to low water and a small rock garden. We decided to take a break and have a snack and chat here for a bit before turning around and heading back. “Cherry Valley Creek is a 34.1-mile-long headwater tributary of the Susquehanna River in central New York. Cherry Valley Creek flows southwesterly through the Cherry Valley in Otsego County, making its way through the towns of Cherry Valley, Roseboom, and Middlefield before joining the Susquehanna River east of the village of Milford”.
On our way back that beautiful sunshine gave way to some storm clouds. We could hear thunder in the distance and we dodged a few rain drops as well. Thankfully the storm steered clear of us. As we entered Crumhorn Pond the boat launch had a few more people starting their day on the river. This was a fun 10 mile round trip adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the upper Susquehanna river in the near future.
I really do not like dehydrating food, I find it to be more hassle than worth. However since I have a lot of free time these days I decided to dehydrate some food to pass the time.
Packing light weight is an integral part of my canoe camping adventures. Some of my trips require carrying distances between ponds and lakes. One way to keep things light are dehydrated meals.
I did some experimenting with pasta and sauce. It rehydrates really easy and packs a caloric punch after a long day.
I started with one pound of cooked rotini pasta, a 16oz jar of pasta sauce plus 4 more ounces, one can sliced mushrooms drained and 1 cup frozen peas. I used rotini because a lot of the research I’ve done shows that it holds the sauce better. After cooking, draining and letting the pasta completely cool I combined all ingredients in a bowl covered it with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge overnight.
The next morning I spread the pasta over my dehydrator trays and let it go for 9 hours. Once dehydrated I put it into a ziplock bag and weighed it. It weighed in at 18 ounces.
Yesterday afternoon I weighed out 8 ounces and began the rehydration process. Once the water was boiled I covered the pasta leaving just a little exposed, covered it and let sit exactly 20 minutes. The rehydration time was just about perfect and the taste was great. My wife even enjoyed tasting it as well.
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood and I had the itch to get outside with my stove and cast Iron skillet and do some cooking.
I’ve had this Uberleben twig stove for about a year now and this thing is just awesome. It had no issue what so ever supporting my 10″ 6.5# cast iron pan. It literally took two minutes for the pan to get hot and start cooking.
Approximately 20 minutes and two beers later the peppers and onions were cooked to perfection! I’ve used this fire breathing monster on several of my past canoe camping trips and again it works perfectly.
Since the beginning of the year I have been running consistently and on a plan. I’ve also noticed small gains as my fitness slowly makes improvements. However I’ve also paid more attention to my bad runs where I’ve begun to notice a pattern emerging. In the past this is something I have not given any attention so I am intrigued to say the least.
My “Bad Runs” runs that I believe should have felt less effortless or where my heart rate seems higher than it should are due to several things in my opinion.
#1. Sleep or the lack of: Most mornings I get up at 0330 to be at work by 0430. I find it very difficult to go to bed before 8PM. I’m currently getting on average 6 hours per night. When I come home from work I try to take at least a 2 hour nap most days. I feel that sleep or proper rest plays a HUGE roll in the quality of our lives.
#2. Feeling Rushed: If I don’t give myself down time between work,life, etc and a run my heart rate has the tendency to be higher as well. I firmly believe if there is not a transition period that this definitely affects attitude, approach and performance. Also time constraints fall into this category as well. I’m keeping a close eye on this one.
#3.Fear: Fear of getting hurt again rules the roost here, as does fear of failing in my workout. This is just a major part of my personality or as my wife calls it “The Mr. Excess” clause. As much as I want to say she’s crazy I can’t because she is 100% correct. Over the years I’ve struggled with this in many aspects. I’ve had this predetermined notion if you aren’t running big miles or fast paces you’re really not running. This is absolute foolish thinking on my part and a major reason of why I’m always injured.
The Positive: This past Sunday was my long run (8 Miles). This would be my longest run in well over a year. I got a good nights sleep, woke early and took the time to do my pre-run stretching, rolling and mentally eased myself into the workout. I was rewarded with a great run!
As I move forward I hope to learn and grow with this process. I also hope that even when I have a bad run/workout I can move past it and live for the next day.
I was craving pizza, better yet mushroom pizza so I came up with a fun experiment. I’m not a bread fan by any means so a heavy pizza crust just wasn’t doing it for me, don’t get me wrong I love a good pizza. So I came up with this idea of a portobello mushroom pizzas.
I sprayed two mushroom caps with a little olive oil and placed them in a 400 degree oven. While they began to cook I sautéed peppers and onions. I recently discovered at Wegman’s they have thin sliced peppers and onions already bagged up. I let the caps cook for about 8 minutes before adding pizza sauce and back into the oven for another 3 minutes. Lastly I added the sautéed peppers and onions along with some shredded mozzarella cheese placing them back into their happy place until the cheese was nicely melted.
When the mushroom pizzas emerged from the warmth of the oven they not only looked delish but smelled amazing. I wasn’t sure how they would turn out since I hastily threw these together, I was pleasantly surprised at how good they tasted. Now a fork and knife is a must with these.
Looking forward to experimenting more in the near future with this.
For your viewing pleasure I present to you a fun video of my recent winter hike to the Blue Mountain fire tower . Thanks to my friends at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery for a place to park my tired self and some great beer after an awesome day in the park.
Living in New York State we get winter, or something that resembles it depending on the year. I’ve learned to embrace it because it can be long and cold. Over the past few years I’ve been out and about our local parks and trails hiking with my snowshoes. I find winter hiking to be some of the most beautiful and peaceful time to be outdoors. Recently I had the opportunity to change things up a little. So I hopped in my car and headed for the Adirondacks.
A few hours later I arrived at the trailhead of the 3759 foot summit of Blue Mountain. This 2 mile trail (One Way) climbs 1670 feet in elevation with moderate to steep grades, ending at the fire tower. At the trailhead I met my friend Nancy an experienced hiker who would go with me since this would be my first winter hike with considerable elevation.
We decided that we didn’t need snowshoes and that micro spikes would be sufficient since the trail was very well packed. This is a very popular hike in any season. It was sunny and in the low 30’s when we began and quickly I had to stop to remove my jacket putting in my backpack. The trail climbed steeply as we bumped into our first hikers coming down from the summit around the one mile mark. We stopped and chatted for a little before continuing. We would see three more before reaching the summit.
The closer we got to the summit the snow got deeper, the temperatures colder and you could feel the wind picking up through the trees. Just before coming out of the tree line I stopped and layered back up before exposing myself to the open summit. Stepping out into the open the Blue Mountain fire tower stood proudly at an additional 35 feet encrusted in snow and ice.
Climbing the tower to the observers tower the wind was whipping pretty good and my fingers were so cold even through my gloves while trying to take some photos. The stairs were covered in at least 6 inches of snow and ice and the cabin had at least a foot of snow inside. The handrails were also encased in ice.
Even though there was a vast temperature difference between the base and summit the warm sun was doing its best to remove Mother Nature’s grasp. Chunks of ice had begun to fall off the tower like crystals falling from a chandelier crashing to the ground into pieces. The trees at the summit were encrusted in snow and ice giving them a powdered sugar look, it was breathtaking.
We spent about an hour at the summit taking in the sheer beauty, chatting with a few hikers who had come up the trail shortly behind us. I was completely hooked on winter hiking.
Once down and back to my car, putting my gear away it was time to head south to Old Forge where I would spend the night. But not before a stop at Fulton Chain Craft Brewing for a couple of well earned beverages.
I absolutely loved this experience and I hope to do some more winter hiking in the Adirondacks in the future.