Curiously Adirondack (Season 3)
Produced with my friend, neighbor, Adirondack guide and author Ed Kanze.
The Adirondack Park is a wondrous and unique place -- three times the size of Yellowstone and the largest park in the Lower 48. On the private lands in the park live about 100,000 year-round residents, all of them hardy and a great many quirky and ferociously independent. To live in the midst of the most extensive temperate deciduous forest on the planet, they endure long cold winters, swarms of biting insects, and a rugged, rocky, frost-haunted landscape that defies inhabitants of all species to eke out their livings.
Curiously Adirondack showcases life, both human and wild, inside the Adirondack Park. The aim of this series is to do this place and its singular people justice, bringing Adirondack Mountain life alive for all the poor souls who don't share the pleasure and pain of living here.
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Lady Of The Locks: DEC Lock Tender Margaret Hawthorn Lifts & Lowers Boats Along Saranac River
Boats go up, and boats go down: canoes, kayaks, fishing boats, and more, traveling the watery channel through the woods rising between the Lower and Middle Saranac Lakes. It all goes smoothly, largely thanks to the efforts of lock tender Margaret Hawthorn. The Upper Locks operate the old-fashioned way, with muscle and finesse. Margaret loves the job and does it with a skill and passion that make a passage through the Upper Locks an experience silky-smooth and long remembered. Special thanks to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for their help in allowing us to tell this story.
A Walker Among Boats: DEC Lock Tender Scott Walker Lifts & Lowers Boats Along Saranac River
To pass up and down the watery channels connecting the Adirondack village of Saranac Lake with the Lower and Middle Saranac Lakes, boats as small as canoes and kayaks (as well as recreational watercraft larger and speedier) pass through the Lower and Upper Locks. In a two-part series, Curiously Adirondack visits a backwoods St.-Lawrence-Seaway-in-miniature. In Part One, Scott Walker, the hard-working and eloquent keeper of the Lower Lock, shares his remote workplace and the singular and important duties he performs. Special thanks to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for their help in allowing us to tell this story.
They Prowl By Night: Seeking The Wild Adirondack Bullhead
For many in the Adirondacks, the bullhead was the first fish, the one that gave the first sweet taste of fishing and its gastronomic and spiritual rewards. The bullhead is a fish to be admired, not only for its tender tasty flesh, but also for its industrious nest-building and the devotion of both parents to their young. Hook one, and you may be hooked for life.
Ampersand Mountain, Queen of the Saranac Lake Six
Ampersand Mountain in the Adirondacks is hardly a bump on the landscape compared to the great mountains of the West. Even by Adirondack standards it's a modest peak. But its rewards are as good as it gets: rich old woods rich in birds and wildflowers, and after a steep climb that will give you a week's cardiovascular exercise in an hour or two, a view that's among the finest in the East. It's also the 2nd highest in the Saranac Lake 6er program. Go get 'em!
C'est Magnifique! Avalanche Pass Lifts The Spirits As Well As Any Summit
To get there and back requires a ten-mile hike beginning and ending at the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondack Loj near Lake Placid, New York. Yet the rewards gained are as impressive as those delivered by any of the region's celebrated summits. This is valley bottom that soars high on the Adirondack hiker's bucket list. Get the low-down and see what's up in spectacular Avalanche Pass.
You Can Get Anything You Want: On Schroon Lake, A Classic American General Store Still Thrives
Building on a history stretching back more than 150 years, the Adirondack General Store flourishes in the twenty-first century by offering the best of the old and the new. Maureen and Robert Diaz, who made a bold move from Queens to the remote hamlet of Adirondack to buy and run the place, are the hard-working proprietors. They sell everything from fishing poles to corn flakes, microbrew for grown-ups to retro candy for the kids, and even serve home-cooked meals. It's the kind of place you pop in to grab a jar of pickles and wind up spending half a day, browsing the aisles, talking by the woodstove, catching up with neighbors, meeting travelers, and reveling in the fine food and the old-time hardwood atmosphere.
Canvas, Paint, And Wood: How Artist Paul Casson Brings Nature Alive In His Art
At the end of World War II, Paul Casson was given advice by friends: to soothe frazzled nerves he should take up painting. More than seventy years later, he's still at it, finding joy and serenity in capturing the beauty of nature with brush and oil. He carves and paints, birds, too, his work combining the delicate aesthetic sensibilities of an artist with the sturdy know-how of a naturalist and hunter.
Going "Ollywood": How A Modern Adirondack Sawmill Produces Old-Time Forest Products
A scientist turned sawyer named Ollie Burgess turns trees into rustic building materials in the northern Adirondack township of St. Armand. It's a bustling business, on one hand appearing straight out of the nineteenth century and on the other incorporating modern technology at every turn. Whether it's rough-sawn native lumber or a mortise-and-tenon-jointed cedar railing with the bark on, if it's on a delivery truck bound for a building site in the United States, it's likely point of origin was Burgess's Specialty Wood Products Inc.