I can’t help but take several moments throughout my day to admire the autumn beauty. The Adirondacks have one of the longest foliage seasons in the country. Its the time of year that pumpkin patches and apple trees are ripe. After the back-to-school lull, hiking trails see high impact days as people seek long nature walks to admire the changing colors. After some brisk hiking, people crave the comforting buzz found in Adirondack breweries. Pumpkin flavored brews are stealing spotlight, which is fine by me because they are delicious. The mountain tops have seen their first frost; bugs are gone and flannels and hoodies are in.
before shot of rundown firetower
“I’ve been waiting for this firetower to be restored since 1973,” said one of the volunteers as he introduced himself to my SCA crew and other volunteers before the work week. He was in his sixties, a retired DEC employee, and also part of the Friends of St. Regis local grassroots organization that’s been fighting to have the St. Regis Mountain Firetower fixed.
My crew and I paddled into the wind and rain on three metal canoes filled with gear and tools. It was a dreary way to start the hitch on Fish Pond, but we woke up the next morning to the fog burning off the water. Our project was a fish barrier dam to prevent the spread of invasive fish. The entire dam would take more than five days, the length of our hitch, so we were in charge of a crib on one side. The crib would be built using dimensional lumber that an SCA crew canoed in the week prior.
Fourth Lake in the early morn
“Just remember, this job is awesome,” said one of my co-workers as we dug in the dirt in the hot sun. It was unexpectedly warm and buggy despite the leaves beginning to change color. Morale suffered after almost a week of digging and shoveling gravel and mineral soil. My coworker reminded me that even at its worst, this job is better than most days in the office. We worked for ten days in the Essex Chain nestled between Fourth and Fifth lake building a handicap accessible trail. Birds were active in the area in song and flight, echoing in the valley of the two lakes. At night, we were accompanied by loons, coyotes, and field mice.
Noah and I emerged from the shaded trail of Calamity Brook and reached a clearing where there lay a daunting pile of wood. Our job was to carry in treated lumber to replace a wire suspension bridge. The sticky heat made us sweat in streams
Once my pack was full of wood, Noah lifted it up so I could slide my arms in the straps. Then I started the two mile hike up to the bridge site. Within a mile I was far ahead of Noah, who has bad knees. The wood stuck out three feet above my head. Continue reading