For the past 20+ years Julie and I have amassed a very large collection of glass Christmas ornaments that hang from our four trees each year. Some are new and some very old.
When the boys were born we began the tradition of purchasing them each a Christmas ornament every year. As they got older we would all jump into the family truckster and head for the Hand of Man in Owego where we would pick our ornaments together. The thought was that Michael and Max would look forward to putting their ornaments on the trees every year all the while building a small collection of ornaments for themselves to take with them once they leave home.
Last evening we took our annual pilgrimage to Owego for our Christmas cheer one last time. Pat Hansen the owner will be retiring and Hand of Man will close their doors in April 2020.
We are truly sad but this evenings outing was wonderful family tradition complete with a few slices of pizza to finish it off.
My obsession with the Adirondacks can sometimes overshadow the pure beauty of home. Recently I was reminded of a little gem almost in my backyard called the “IBM Glen” or “Glen”. The Glen is part of the Waterman Conservation Education Center.
The sound of leaves crunching underfoot can be soothing or even thought provoking, oak trees are my favorite. They are strong, powerful and their leaves fascinate me. The day was cloudy but still beautiful to be outdoors as I wandered up a portion of Gray’s Creek. Some ice and snow lingered in the depths of the forest where the sun’s warm hands could not touch. Water flowed smoothly over the various small waterfalls muffling the sound of the noon fire whistle. As I made my way out of the creek and up the hillside the scurry of chipmunks was entertaining to watch. The tap, tap, tap of a woodpecker caught my attention as I scanned the woods. Unsure but I believe my new friend was either a Yellow-bellied sapsucker or a Downy woodpecker, no matter this one was very determined.
Continuing to crunch along I would end my day with a wonderful 4.25 mile walk in the woods. It was nice to slow down and just take in life.
The IBM Glen comprises over 200 acres in the Town of Union, in the heart of the so-called Triple Cites region of New York State’s Southern Tier. The IBM Glen contains a mature forest with some of the oldest and largest trees in Broome County, and its cascading gorge is the region’s finest. For centuries people have enjoyed the Glen’s majestic trees, cool waterfalls, colorful wildflowers, and abundant bird and animal life. We know that the region’s native inhabitants must have loved this magical spot, and when white settlers began to arrive in the 18th century one of the first homesteaders built next to the Glen.
In the IBM Glen, a carefully-built trail with natural stone steps and bridges, including two stone arch bridges, was built in the 1930’s or 1940’s. Stone fireplaces and picnic tables can be seen along the Glen’s trail.
The IBM Glen is a mature forest of maples, dark green hemlocks, tall oaks and occasionally a white pine or two that is three feet in diameter which towers over them all. The “old growth forest” is located close to the stream and is an important part of The Glen for people to see.
Wildlife has many different types of homes in The Glen. From reptiles to birds to mammals and amphibians, people of all ages can walk through The Glen and enjoy all of the different types.
Waterman Center obtained the property in 2004 when a group of people convinced IBM not to log the old growth trees and sell the land, but rather to turn it into a refuge for people to enjoy.
The IBM Glen is a “Place for All Seasons”! Walking is the most popular sport of those who use the trails at The Glen but there’s also room for those who snowshoe and cross-country ski in the winter.
Nelson Lake which is tucked away south of Minnehaha, NY or just outside of Old Forge in the Black River Wild Forest has been on my radar for close to a year now. The week of September 23rd I found myself working very close to the Adirondack Park, combine that with beautiful weather and you have a recipe for adventure.
The Nelson Lake trailhead sits along route 28 several miles south of Thendera, NY. There is a .35 mile carry along a wide dirt road to the put-in. After you cross the railroad tracks the path narrows and drops for the remaining several hundred feet to the Middle Branch of the Moose River. Once on the river it was about .06 mile paddle to the Nelson Lake outlet according to my GPS. The outlet was shallow and loaded with Pickerel weed. I zigged and I zagged through the outlet and easily crossed a small beaver dam before entering the 84 acre lake.
A palette of red, orange and yellow was evidence that Autumn was here while the sun at my back gave me some warmth from a cool breeze. Slowly paddling the shoreline I realized I was alone, I had the entire lake to myself. As I made my way around the lake I was looking for campsites. I did see what I thought was one however it wasn’t marked. I’ll have to look into it for the future.
I would paddle 3.6 miles, hike just over a half mile but more importantly spend time in a beautiful landscape.
This past week my friend Gary and I had planned to canoe camp 3 days in the St. Regis Canoe Area of the Adirondacks. The first day was a bust as it rained cats and dogs all day. By 6PM that evening the rain finally stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shined. However it was to late to get started so we spent the night in Lake Placid beer tasting..
The weather report for the remainder of our time looked sketchy but early Tuesday morning we set out on our adventure under beautiful clear skies. Peering at our paddlers map it was determined we had wanted a lean-to instead of tent camping. Launching off of Keese Mill Rd. in Paul Smith’s we passed two lean-to’s that were in decent locations but didn’t have the esthetics we had envisioned. Shortly we entered Lower St. Regis Lake rounding a point where the Peter’s Rock lean-to stood with it’s panoramic view of the lake. This was it! The downside it wasn’t nearly remote as we had hoped with its view of Paul Smith’s College across the lake. That said it was picture perfect and as it was vacant. Dropping our gear and staking our claim we were back in our canoes and off on the day’s adventure.
We would paddle just a little over 15 miles through some amazing scenery, carry our canoes between several ponds meeting other paddlers on their adventure as well. During the middle of the night the weather would start to change. The winds kicked up and the pitter patter of rain on the lean-to roof was a soothing sound. Lightning flickered in the nights sky like a candle with the soft rumbles of thunder in the distance. It took more than an hour for the first of two storms to finally reach us.
Laying in our sleeping bags we had an amazing view of the show. The rain and storms would be gone by 8Am but the wind was relentless. We waited the wind out until about 1-1:30 that afternoon before calling it as the weather wasn’t going to improve. We packed up our canoes and fought the wind for several miles attempting to reach the launch. Some of the gusts I would say exceeded 20MPH with a steady 15MPH head wind taking us a good 2 hours to get back.
This was my first time camping in a lean-to and I’ll admit it has spoiled me. And although the weather dashed our grand plans we still had a really fun trip and look forward to the next adventure.
Earlier this month I was canoe camping with a friend in the Adirondacks on a lake 30 miles northwest of Lake George. Despite a few day paddlers we had the whole lake to ourselves. The northern end of the lake has a few homes and camps along its shoreline. In the early evening hours we could hear across the lake someone playing a trumpet and as dusk turned to night the milky way painted the sky. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many stars!
The next morning fog rolled across the water while temperatures dipped to around 45 degree, I was cold. Quickly I restarted the campfire for some warmth along with my twig stove in order to boil water for coffee and oatmeal.
It truly was a picture perfect morning!