Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 90
Winter stuck around for the entire Holiday weekend with lots of people out enjoying our great winter weather. X-country skiing has been great on groomed trails at McCauley Mountain, Woodcraft and some of the Inlet trail system, as well as the Inlet Golf Course. Breaking trail in places where no one has been is a real bear, as there is no base to this snow. I only went about six hundred feet the other day and decided it will settle soon. I never have downhill skied, but I would think those slopes have been great with new snow nearly every day.
I once skied down from the halfway point on White Face Mountain Ski Area, not the highway. I went there for Forest Ranger training to be taught telemark turns on cross country skis. I only had one pair of skis,which had no steel edges and the instructor, FR John Chambers, said you need edges to do this. I said this is the only pair of skis the state got me, so that is what I am using. FR Gary Hodgson and I played on the kiddy hill for a few runs and watched the others come down the main runs doing those telemark turns with no problem. We decided to take a shot - can do no more than get killed - and up the lift we went to the halfway point. The hill was just about pure ice and we could have come down on ice skates better than skis, but down we went. Watching our instructor make turns ahead of us with no problems on his skis with edges, we would try. We just picked-up speed and made no turns, then would snowplow to slow down and stop every once and awhile, only to start again, picking up more speed each time we tried to make one of those turns. We both got to the bottom without injury and went back to the kiddy hill for the rest of the day. We had no safety binding, just toe binding for our skis. When we got on the lift, the person there said you do not have any safety binding and we just pointed to our arm patch and rode up the lift each time. One of our members, FR Peter Fish, who had edges, but no safety bindings, lost a ski on the main slope and it went all the way down to the bottom past the main building and into the parking lot, missing everybody and everything and almost into the Ausable River. I have never been on a downhill slope again, except at the bottom of McCauley Mountain to take pictures of my grandson, Jake, snowboarding.
Several people in the area have some flowering bulbs this winter of amaryllis. Some of these plants produced a second blooming, which I only had once in all the years I have grown them. Jean Candee’s had a second bloom just as big as the first one and so did Cathy’s at the Inlet Post Office, as you can see by looking in her front window. It had four red blooms again also. My sister, Wendy, who lives down in Clifton Park, grew some tulips this winter. She took some of her bulbs from her fall planting and put them in a cold room first for a short time, then potted them like they were going in the ground to come up in spring, but inside the house. She has four about to pop out. I never did try that, but I might, as the deer eat my tulips in the garden before they get to bloom around here.
This was The Big Backyard Bird Count weekend, and so far, record numbers of people have reported birds from all over the world. As of yesterday, the country of Columbia was leading India in number of species, but only by a few with one day to go. I added a few to my list this weekend, as the Bald Eagle came for a snack along with two Common Ravens and nine Crows on Saturday. Then I had a lone Evening Grosbeak come on Sunday morning, along with my Black Capped Chickadees, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, White and Red Breasted Nuthatches, a pair of Tufted Titmice and a couple of Blue Jays. I went down to the Inlet Channel for a quick look this afternoon and found 55 Mallards and one Black Duck to add to the count.
My Loon boss, Nina Schoch, e-mailed me yesterday that three Loons were iced in Lake George, just north of Hague by Asas Island, along with a picture of a Bald Eagle sitting beside the hole where the Loons were. Someone said there were four Loons, but one was missing. I told her I couldn’t make it to help capture these, so she got another crew together, with Lance Duprey, who works for us summers, as netter, and Forest Ranger Matt Savarie with the airboat for back up. They went out today and Lance caught two from a canoe and Matt caught one from the edge of the ice. The Loons, all adults, were all banded and processed and released in the open waters of Lake Champlain this afternoon.
More winter coming this week a couple of times. Better get those roofs shoveled, but that’s another story. See ya.
Main Photo: Red Breasted Nuthatch
Bald eagle watching loons
Tulips by Wendy Wagner