Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 41
The big drop of snow in the local area kept the trails rideable for the weekend, but lots of trees bent down in the trails with harsh, wet snow. The ski trails were more affected than the snowmobile trails, but be aware when you are out and about; there may be some obstructions across the trails. The thaw that’s coming this week will probably start some sap collectors. My neighbor Eric Sutherland has his sugar shack all set up with lines that run to the trees. Now all he needs is National Grid to hook him up with some power. His underground power line is hanging on the pole as of this morning, so let’s hope he can get his operation going. There have been many locals doing this operation in their backyards and kitchens for years, but no big sugar house like his locally.
There was a sugaring operation years ago near the Hamilton- Herkimer County line, just south of the South Shore Road. It was on the Holl’s Inn Property, so it may have been part of their operation. The cement floor of that building is still in the woods near the little spring brook that runs through there. They probably tapped the trees uphill from the shack and toward the lake by buckets only.
My friend Ellie George does a tree tapping operation over by her place on Paradox Lake and makes several quart jars full each spring. Teacher Jeremiah Best has his students collecting and making maple syrup as part of a Town of Webb School program for the last few years. I’m sure they will visit Eric’s operation when it gets up and running.
It was very busy in Inlet during the Fire and Ice Weekend. I only made it to the cardboard sled races at the Fern Park sliding hill and the kite flying on Fourth Lake in front of Woods Inn. Many of the cardboard sleds took hours of work and creativity. Some looked good on the ground, but didn’t perform well on the sliding hill. There was a lot of cardboard and gray tape involved in some of these sleds. Others were just a cardboard box with some ears and tails that flew down the hill. I don’t know who won the different parts of the contest, but it was fun to watch and there was only one big train wreck. The bi-plane looked great, but didn’t get close to taking off going down the hill. The black V-8 roadster was neat, and it went down the hill running on all eight cylinders with wheels turning all the way. There was a very enthusiastic crowd cheering on and filming their family sleds going down the hill. There were winners and losers, but it was a great event and lots of winter fun without any ambulance runs.
I went from there down to Fourth Lake where the kite fliers had many of their kites flying in the wind off the lake. Better than last year, when there wasn’t a breath of wind, and the kids had to run to make their kites fly. This year, you wanted to have a hold of the string or your kite would be up in the trees in an instant. The club had many neat kites anchored in the ice and flying in the wind. The kids came out with the little white kites and these were flying before the kite got out of their hands. There were ten to twelve of these little kites going to the end of their strings when I left with lots of cheers from the kids and their parents. Several cell phones taking photos of the kites in the air to the backdrop of the trees covered with snow on the surrounding mountains.
The snow and cold didn’t stop the migration of some birds northward as Snow and Canada geese started showing up over Lake Champlain in big numbers. Red-winged Blackbirds were seen at feeders in many parts of the Adirondacks and they will have to depend on feeders for a while. A yellow-shafted Northern Flicker was seen on Willsboro Point last week nearly a month early for this species. I had three Bald Eagles on the carcasses and one Red-tailed Hawk has been a regular visitor among the Ravens and Crows. I did have a Northern Shrike come and try to take Junco during the snowstorm on Thursday. I don’t know if he caught it or not as I never saw him again. Ellie George has a Saw-Whet Owl hanging around her house and feeders at Paradox, calling its little toot, toots.
It looks like March is coming in like a lamb around here, but that’s another story. See ya.