Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 146

hockey team in Utica

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 146

Spring has sprung, as this is the first day of spring. My daffodils would have bloomed yesterday if the sun stayed out, but instead it started snowing, which shut them down. The crocus usually come out first, but they have only popped out of the ground and the daffodils have flower buds ready to pop. Coming home from Utica Friday with temperatures in the fifties, and even sixty. I kept mentioning there are more Robins along the shoulder of the road and Karen said “I hear you, yes, there are lots of Robins.” 

My neighbor Eric Sutherland’s sugar house has been cooking 24-7 this last week, with lots of guests visiting his operation. He is into it big time and learning more everyday about his operation. With each day freezing at night and thawing during the day, this next week he should be making maple syrup every day. He loves to show people his operation and he will be glad to sell you some of his products. 

The snowmobiling and x-country skiing is done for this year and the thunderstorms that rolled through here last Saturday sure put an end to that season. I was out on Ferd’s Bog checking traps as the beavers have flooded the boardwalk and the bog. I saw and heard it coming as I was snowshoeing across the bog mat and told myself if I don’t make it to the truck, I’m going to get wet. While out there, I had a pair of Gray Jays visit me and saw where the Black Backed Woodpecker was making a nest hole. The White-winged Crossbills were singing all around the bog, so they must be nesting now with these males singing on territory. I jogged up the hill out of the bog about as fast as my legs would take me as the booming got closer. I just got in the truck and the skies opened up and I would have gotten more than wet in that deluge. We must have gotten an inch in about ten minutes. The way it came down, you could just barely see to drive. This is not good for these early nesting crossbills, which may have lost their nest in the storm. 

I got an email from Laurie Rankin announcing there will be tower steward orientation and training on June 4th for the Stillwater Tower held in the Boat Launch Parking Lot at Stillwater. If anyone is interested, they are more than welcome to meet there if they can only do a weekend or two during the summer meeting and greeting people up at the tower. 

Ukraine is still on my mind and when I wrote about it last time, some folks commented that if I didn’t like it here in the north country, I should leave. Well, I’m not leaving, so comment all you want or write your own column, as we do have freedom of speech. It’s not like we live in Russia, where if you protest, they throw you in jail. Putin’s army found out they could not beat the Ukraine’s on the ground, so now his army and navy is going to bomb and rocket the civilian population, food and water sources and power from afar. Over three million civilians have fled the country trying to save their children and many of the elderly left also. Putin puts some of our TV reporters and some of our legislators on his TV, showing that what he is doing is ok; well it’s not. Prayers and arms for the Ukraine people to defeat this Russian aggressor. 

On a local note, the Inlet Mighty Loons hockey team has been building all winter. Speaking with coach Bret Thompson at their last practice, I learned much about the hockey program. Steve Schanely tried to get this going two years ago, but with Covid, that didn’t happen. This year they had over fifty signups before the season started and then had to wait for ice. Once they had ice, they practiced three nights a week from 6 to 8 and many had to just learn how to skate. During the first hour, there were also figure skaters on the ice being taught by Carolina Perez-Gabler and Mary Kate Russell. Bret had three assistants helping him, Steve Schanely, Seth Knoeller, and Katie Orr, with about 25 to 30 skaters each practice. To end their season, they were asked to do a scrimmage during a break in the Utica Comets contest in Utica. They had 10 girls and 19 boys suit up for this event, where they got royal treatment. Great event for these kids, some who had never even skated before this program started. Their program has gotten so much local support for equipment, uniforms and raffle items to raise money to continue the program. Thompson has gotten offers from some of his former teammates from all over the country for equipment when they found out about his program. The program drew kids from all around the area, but what he needs of course is ice. With global warming, it wasn’t until late December before they had ice and that was iffy a few times during the winter. He is talking about a frozen rink, which isn’t out of the question if all the local towns got together to make it happen. If we can build a ski hill making snow and maintain miles of snowmobile trails, we can build a frozen ice rink for the kids.

With this weather, the bears will be out, but that’s another story. See ya. 

Photo above: Inlet Might Loons and coaches In Utica Comets Locker Room before their scrimmage

bret megan and leif
Bret Thompson, his partner Megan Merrell and son Leif by the Inlet Mighty Loons Ice sculpture

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  • Sherry Ernst 26/03/2022 9:34am (3 months ago)

    My family would enthusiastically support a frozen rink! We’ve driven from Inlet to Old Forge and Long Lake in search of good ice. This winter in late December we ended up at 7th Lake in Buck’s Hollow on a rare day with smooth ice and no snow.

  • Eileen Buholtz 26/03/2022 8:33am (3 months ago)

    I agree with you about Ukraine.

  • Eileen Buholtz 26/03/2022 8:33am (3 months ago)

    I agree with you about Ukraine.

  • Vikki Healey 25/03/2022 7:11pm (3 months ago)

    Gary Lee, I just love your column. Please keep it up. I cannot be in the North Country year round, but reading your articles makes me feel like I am right there. Thank you!

  • Vikki Healey 25/03/2022 7:11pm (3 months ago)

    Gary Lee, I just love your column. Please keep it up. I cannot be in the North Country year round, but reading your articles makes me feel like I am right there. Thank you!

  • Vikki Healey 25/03/2022 7:11pm (3 months ago)

    Gary Lee, I just love your column. Please keep it up. I cannot be in the North Country year round, but reading your articles makes me feel like I am right there. Thank you!

  • Vikki Healey 25/03/2022 7:11pm (3 months ago)

    Gary Lee, I just love your column. Please keep it up. I cannot be in the North Country year round, but reading your articles makes me feel like I am right there. Thank you!

  • Vikki Healey 25/03/2022 7:11pm (3 months ago)

    Gary Lee, I just love your column. Please keep it up. I cannot be in the North Country year round, but reading your articles makes me feel like I am right there. Thank you!

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