Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 91-2
Another snowstorm is about to start piling on top of what we have and then a quick warm up with some rain predicted midweek. That will not be good for some roofs, as the added weight of rain might be too much for some. I was helping a neighbor a few years back when we had over three feet of snow on the level. We had cleared a couple camps on the backside of Limekiln and the snow in places was right up to your chin. Looking at a couple camps further on that had not been shoveled, I thought I should contact these people. Mrs. St. Dennis said that her camp had been there for over fifty years and never been shoveled. I went over that next day and the whole living room roof was in the living room, not a pretty sight. I cleared the next two camps and outbuildings. I called the owner of the camp that had fallen in and she was not a happy camper.
X-country skiing the trail out back often reminds me of a rescue on that trail while I was a Forest Ranger. I don’t have the year, but probably could find it in my diaries. It was about this time of the year and we had a two- foot snow fall the night before. The temperature read -27 on the thermometer and it was dark when I got a call from Inlet Dispatch that there was a skier still out on the outer loop of the Inlet Trail System with a broken ski binding. To start with, there were four people, two men and two women, breaking trail in two feet of powder snow, which was no easy task. They didn’t get around the loop and decided to turn back to Walter Schmid’s house where they had started. They were at the first intersection behind where I live now when the gentleman broke his binding and he was unable to continue skiing, so his friends went out and left him there. They got back to Schmid’s a little after dark and thought they were going to die out on the trail because it was so cold, and they were all hypothermic, but made it out. I went down to where the spur trail came out to the Limekiln Road after calling neighboring Ranger Doug Riedman, who was coming with a snowmobile. I put on snowshoes and carried an extra pair for this guy to walk out with. It was tough breaking trail, but I only had to go a little over a quarter of a mile to the first intersection and the guy was there sitting on a log at -27. I asked if he was cold, as he had been there a couple hours without a fire, and he said no. I knew he was lying, as I was cold and I had only been out about twenty minutes. We could see streetlights on the Limekiln Road from that location and he just sat there freezing to death. I rigged him into the snowshoes I brought in for him and we started out. I heard Doug start up his snowmobile, but he could not get very far in the deep fluff, but finally did get to us, breaking the trail out more. This guy had never been on snowshoes before, but used his ski poles for balance and we made it out to the road. I took him over to the Schmid’s where his party was still warming up, got him warmed up also, and saved another soul. I went back in the next morning and picked up his skis.
The Big Backyard Bird Count two weeks ago was bigger and better than ever with 176 countries, 267,866 people and 5,208 species reported in. This is out of the 18,000 bird species in the world. The top ten individual check lists of species were not that far apart, ranging from 276 to 220. The top ten countries with species reported were, Columbia-1134, India-951, Ecuador-813, Brazil-804, Mexico-741, Argentina-677, Costa Rica-668, United States-665, Australia-562, and Thailand-520.
The inch crust that came from rain and the end with the last storm is bad on the wildlife. The owls must catch their prey on top of that crust because they can’t break through it. The deer can’t walk on it to get to other food sources, but then the predators (coyotes) who chase them can’t get around on it either. Smaller predators like ermine, mink, fisher, pine marten and bobcats seem to be doing ok running around on top of the crust. The ruffed grouse, who had plenty for fluffy snow to dive into for a long time, would break their necks if they sailed into this crust. They get up on the top of yellow birch and bud for their dinner, as that’s about all there is for them right now. The turkeys also bud in the treetops.
Loons rescued on Lake George, but that’s another story, See ya.
Front yard full of snow