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Adirondack Explorer

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Raquette River History: Setting Pole and Piercefield Dams

Over the past several years I have been involved with the Raquette River Blueway Corridor (RRBC), which organizes Raquette River Awareness Week,  a week of events along the river from its source at Blue Mountain Lake to the St. Lawrence River at Akewesasne. The staff at The Wild Center have also been involved, by helping to educate the public about the natural history of river with a week of river-related activities, and a river clean-up from “The Crusher” boat launch on Route 30 between Tupper Lake and Upper Saranac Lake, to Simon(d) Pond. This section of the Raquette includes the >>More


Monday, May 27, 2013

Joseph Lonsway:Adirondack Guide, Medal of Honor Recipient

Civil War veteran/hero Joseph Lonsway, long accustomed to hard work, continued serving as a river guide (and remained hooked on fishing) well into old age. On two occasions, he nearly lost his life in fire-related incidents. In 1911, when he was 67, Joseph, with fellow guide and friend Joseph Calhoun, rushed to help fight a blaze that ultimately destroyed the Hotel Frontenac. They were together on an upper floor when the electricity failed, forcing them to leave the building. Calhoun urged Lonsway to depart first because he was older, but something went terribly wrong. In the end, Lonsway escaped, but >>More


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Art and Nature: Returning To the Heron Nest

If you’ve been reading the Adirondack Almanack for a while, you may recall my emotional writing about the heron nest I found in the spring of 2012, and the three charming youngsters that were about half-grown when nature intervened and they became dinner for some predator like a large owl or a bald eagle. I was devastated as I’d been quietly visiting the nest site for weeks, observing and photographing the heron family. You can see a YouTube video of one of the parents feeding the three youngsters here. I’m happy to say, the herons are back on the nest. >>More


Monday, May 20, 2013

Clayton History: Joseph Lonsway and the Civil War

In “The Road Not Taken,” poet Robert Frost wrote of encountering two roads diverging in a wood: “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” That’s life in a nutshell: it’s all about decisions. When confronted with options, we make a choice. Sometimes even the first few moments that follow can change our lives forever. Such was the case with a North Country soldier, Private Joseph Lonsway of Clayton, New York (in Jefferson County, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River). Lonsway was a member of the Union Army’s 20th NY Cavalry >>More


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Photo: Northern Lights Across Brant Lake

A large sunspot has been active on the sun lately, and I happened to be up to see the glow of the aurora across Brant Lake in the wee hours of the Saturday morning. The moon was just setting on the horizon about 1 AM and I knew the skies would soon be nice and dark for capturing the gentle glow of the northern lights. This was a 50 sec. exposure with an f /2.8 11 mm wide angle lens on my Nikon D300S using an ISO of 800. The post Photo: Northern Lights Across Brant Lake appeared first on The >>More


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Adirondack Paddlefest in Old Forge This Weekend

After a week of frost warnings and even snow flurries, the weekend temperatures are due to ease into the sixties and just in time for the Adirondack Paddlefest. In its 15th year, the Adirondack Paddlefest will host paddling presentations, test paddles, on-water canoe and kayak sales, demos, clinics, food and entertainment this Friday – Sunday, May 17-19 in Old Forge. According to Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company Store Manager Will Crimmins, the Adirondack Paddlefest attracts seasoned veterans as well as paddling newcomers to the Old Forge area.  Held at the Old Forge Public Beach, behind the Visitors’ Center, the weekend event >>More


Monday, May 13, 2013

Local History: Warren G. Harding And The Battle of Valcour Island?

It’s remarkable how two unrelated historical events sometimes converge to form a new piece of history. In one such North Country connection, the job choice of a future president became linked to a famous encounter on Lake Champlain. The future president was Warren G. Harding (1921–23), and the lake event was the Battle of Valcour Island (1776). The results weren’t earth shattering, but the connection did spawn coast-to-coast media stories covering part of our region’s (and our nation’s) history. In 1882, Harding (1865–1923) graduated from Ohio Central College. Among the positions he held to pay for schooling was editor of >>More


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Going Solo: Considering An Adirondack Retirement

Earlier this April, my friend retired full-time to an Adirondack lake shaped like a large starfish.  She wrote to say that ice-out was last Friday, and that she was having quite a time adjusting to her retirement. “Retirement?  Having a hard time adjusting?  What could be so hard?” I found myself thinking.  Unplug the alarm clock.  When you wake up, relax and savor the sounds of an Adirondack by-the-lake morning.  Listen to the wind in the pines. Hear the creaking and groaning of the ice, replaced by soft spring waters and an endless sunrise.  What’s not to like? At mid-career, >>More


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Survey of Lost Brook Tract

Today I bring to a close my long series on surveying.  In doing so I have the pleasure of returning to Lost Brook Tract and its abiding magic. As I described four weeks ago, in 1812 Judge John Richards determined the northern boundary line of Lost Brook Tract as part of his survey of the Old Military Tract, when it and all its surroundings were unexplored wilderness.  Here’s the romantic part for me: history shows definitively that after Richards’ survey no one else mapped or explored any part of the tract for another hundred and thirty-six years.  That’s all the >>More


Friday, May 3, 2013

Northeast National Pastel Exhibition Opening at View

The 9th Annual Northeast National Pastel Exhibition will kick off with an opening reception on Friday May 3, from 5 – 7pm at View in Old Forge, NY. The Northeast National Pastel Exhibition will be on display May 4 – June 29. It’s a highlight of View’s annual exhibition calendar, with thousands of visitors a year from the Northeast and beyond. The exhibition has included works from some of the nation’s foremost pastel artists. As the exhibition grows, so does its reputation. More artists than ever have submitted work in the hopes of being selected this year by Sally Strand, >>More