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Signs of change as autumn looms

September 2, 2012
By JOE HACKETT - Outdoors Columnist ( , Lake Placid News

Traditionally, Labor Day weekend signals the completion of the summer season in the Adirondacks. As lake folk begin the arduous process of battening down the hatches and securing the latches on both cottage and camp, local families begin to scurry and hurry to pack in just one last outing before the kids go back to school.

Although autumn remains a few weeks distant, there are already signs of the fall season looming on the horizon, particularly on the hillsides and in the night air. An open window is the sweetest and quietest of all air conditioners.

Whitetail deer are now evident more regularly, and even black bear have been making the rounds searching for food in all the wrong places. Primarily, they have been raiding bird feeders and garbage barrels to make up for this year's meager crop of berries.

Article Photos

Photo by Joe Hackett
As fall looms on the far horizon, this shot of a brook trout provides anglers with an incentive to continue fishing until the season is complete. Jay McGrath is at the oars of this recently stolen Old Town pack canoe. A reward is being offered for the return of this canoe.

Next week, most area lakes will be noticeably quieter, trails will be less crowded and there will be far less friction between cars, bikes and their respectful operators.

Unfortunately, there will be no relief from the friction resulting from a rash of road construction projects. Hopefully, the projects will be completed before the plow trucks begin to roll.


L.L. Bean shoots up the Adirondacks

Outdoor adventurers seeking a glimpse of fall fashions for the upcoming season may want to take a peek at the recently released L.L. Bean Autumn catalog.

Although the venerable Maine-based company is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary, they chose to use the Adirondack region as the location of both their Autumn 2012 and Holiday 2012 catalogs.

The company is best known for their Bean boots, which carry a lifetime guarantee. They are also the largest mail order company in the country and their catalogs go out to millions of homes across the country. Now, a big piece of the Adirondacks will be delivered to all of those homes as well.

Locals will likely recognize many iconic Adirondack images in the catalog, including John Brown's Farm, White Pine Camp, Tupper Lake, St. Regis Lake, numerous Adirondack Great Camps, as well as a variety of local props, including boats, cars and a particularly handsome German Shorthair Pointer named Gunner.

As the project's art director Greg Gorman explained, "The Bean brand is very well established in the outdoor industry, and so are the Adirondacks. The region's rugged looks, stunning scenery and rough terrain are a perfect fit for our products. We share a unique heritage of outdoor quality."

That's pretty high praise and the Adirondacks don't even carry a lifetime guarantee.

The L.L. Bean company began scouting properties and production options during the fall of 2010 for the project with the assistance of, a production services company based in Ray Brook.


Lost and found department

Earlier this year, I wrote a story titled "Lost and Found," which detailed some of the odd and unusual items I have discovered and uncovered over the course of many years of woodland travel.

Included in the mix were a variety of knives, some old rusty axes and saws, sap buckets, stoves, and a whole slew of golf balls. While some of the golf balls were likely errant shots from the local golf course, I discovered many of the collections were the result of foraging efforts by red fox or raccoons. Teeth marks from chewing efforts indicate the animals likely mistook the white golf balls for eggs and brought them back to a den.

Fortunately, I wasn't anywhere near the Gull Lake area of Herkimer last week when a fixed-wing, single-engine plane was on its way to Rome, NY from Burlington, Vt.

Around 8:30 a.m., pilot Benjamin P. Brown radioed a mayday due to mechanical failure. According to police reports, the plane was flying at an altitude of 6,500 feet and when "the propeller came off the plane in mid-air, the pilot realized he probably was going to have one, maybe two chances to circle around. He put it right down in the pond, and it just skidded right across the surface until it came to a stop."

The pilot and the plane were later recovered, however the propeller has not been found. Curiously, the same can be said for a well-worn Old Town pack canoe that I had kept stored along the banks of Ray Brook for most of the summer.

When an item is lost accidentally at an altitude of 6,500 feet it can be annoying, especially if it's a propeller. However, when a pack canoe is stolen from a backyard, it isn't an accident, it is a crime.

Fortunately in such instances, game cameras sometimes capture more than just game. Conveniently, I had recently replaced the batteries in my backyard GameCam and photos were delivered to authorities to be included in the police report.

However, Game Cams weren't developed to help solve crimes. There was a time not so long ago when it was considered safe for a man to leave anything short of a bottle of whiskey in the woods and no one would dare touch it. There was a woodsman's code that was honored and respected.

However, thieves have now become so brazen and dishonorable they've been known to steal complete camps - tent, bags, packs and all - while the campers were off on a day hike.

Sadly, such thievery is not strictly limited to the woods. My Old Town pack canoe was recently pilfered from the backyard. The canoe has a forest green exterior, a grey ABS plastic interior with black plastic gunnels and a pair of grey metal oarlocks inset into the gunnels for rowing. It has a wood frame seat that is webbed with brown cord and attached to a wood thwart.

The small 12-foot canoe is patched with black duct tape along the entire keel and on the stems, and it has black plastic, molded deck caps. Serial numbers are stamped into the plastic in several places.

A reward is offered for return of the canoe. I am also very interested in shaking hands with the windpipe of the thief who stole it. Please contact with any information.



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