October Snow

Our first significant snowstorm is expected at the lake this weekend.  Up to eight inches of heavy, wet snow is expected through Saturday.  More at higher elevations.  

There are still leaves on may of the trees–  the weight of the snow on the leaves could snap branches, leading to power outages.

Perfect weather for duck hunting, and late goose season opens on Saturday as well.

Be careful, and stay warm.

Loon Lake Update, October 15th

It was clear and cold this morning– thirty degrees.  The moon was huge and reflecting off the pond as I set out some decoys.  There was a hard frost overnight.  As the sun came up, the foliage on the surrounding hills was quite bright and spectacular.  We appear to be just past peak.

 I seem to have a consistent pattern when I hunt the second weekend of early duck season.  I don’t see any ducks.  That is, until I am wading out in the water to remove the decoys.  My notes from the past two years indicate that ducks have decoyed in while I have been out in the water.  In fact, I admonished myself to stay in the blind longer.  Once again this year, three divers came in to the decoy spread, as I was standing in pond, winding up the anchor lines.  I believe one waved at me as it flew over.

Porter and I took a drive to check out a couple of other ponds.  It was indeed a hard frost last night.  We found a skim of ice along the shore of one shallow pond.

It is sunny and dead calm right now.  I think we will put the kayak or canoe in a bit later, and then fire up the pizza oven.

Peak Foliage at Loon Lake

Yesterday, Thursday, was an absolutely beautiful day at the lake.  Sunny, clear, just under 70 degrees, with no wind.   The hills around the lake are quite beautiful– vibrant reds and yellows.  I took the whaler out and just drifted in the middle of the lake, soaking in the view.  A photo just does not do it justice.  The Fall foliage is something to experience personally, not capture in a picture.  Today is supposed to be even nicer.

Big weekend ahead– the opening of early Duck Season.  This is the weekend Porter and I have been training and working for since Spring.  Later today I will go to my favorite opening day spot to put up my duckblind and drop off my decoys.

I expect the high Peaks will be packed this weekend.  For the first time ever, NYSDEC will turn folks away from the ADK Loj once the parking lot is full– no overflow parking along the road.  We may see more folks hiking Loon Lake Mountain.  I will be heading up LLM on Sunday, with my brother Graham and his family.  Hope to see you on the trail.

The weather on Columbus Day weekend can be quite variable.  Two of my best canoe camping trips– both to Raquette Falls– were on this weekend.  But I also remember  hiking out of Johns Brook Valley through six inches of fresh wet snow. Don’t laugh if you see someone wearing both shorts and a Winter coat.  Could be me.

Logging on Mensink

It appears that Loon Gulf is logging some of their holdings.  There is quite the stack of wood over on Mensink.

I am quite in favor of smart, sustainable logging within the Park.  The result can be a much healthier and diverse forest and habitat. The difference is noticeable if you spend time in both the Forever Wild State Forest Preserve and forested lands actively managed mostly by the paper companies.

The First of October at Loon Lake

And we are approaching my favorite time of year.

It is very quiet here.  Fifty two degrees, the sun is trying to peek through.  No wind.  The hills around the lake are stunning.

The town has been busy.  Blue Spruce and (lower) Bass Lake Roads are newly paved.  The triangle of land where the bulletin board was (across from the Loon Lae Jewish Center) has been paved over.

I am always torn at this time of year– how long do I leave the Whaler in the water?  I have too many memories of running the  boat in a driving snowstorm to the launch site at the other end of the lake.  We may pull the Whaler this weekend, but leave the Jonboat in.

Today and tomorrow is the Octoberfest at Whiteface Mountain.  I love the food, beer and the three alphorns.

I bought a bushel of the first Macoun apples– a favorite.  We may try baking something with them in the pizza oven.

Will probably go out for grouse again today.  Need to check over all the equipment for next weekend’s opening of duck season.

Definitely Fall here at the Lake

Friday midday I was in Providence, Rhode Island.  The temperature was 82.  When I arrived at Loon Lake, it was 52. It was 41 when I walked the dogs this morning, and we have a frost advisory over night.

Last night it was dead calm and perfectly clear.  Very few lights from the camps around the lake.  The stars were spectacular.n althogh the leaves are changing, they are nowhere near peak yet, here at the lake.

Porter and I went out grouse hunting over near Loon Lake Mountain.  I always go out the first weekend, although I rarely see or hear any birds.  The leaves are still on the trees, so it is hard to see anything.  Still, it was a great hunt.  The day was clear, windy, sunny…..perfect.  As we headed out of the woods towards home, we were stopped by a pair of EnCon officers. We had a nice chat.  One of them used to work for Ken Kogut, from whom I got Porter.  Small world.  This is the second time I have encountered DEC law enforcement while hunting near the lake.  They have definitely beefed up their presence since the Kushaqua tract and Sable Highlands were opened up to public access.

Although it was a bit chilly we hit the lake to test out a new kayak and stand up paddle board. I got soaked. As long as I was already wet, we swam the dogs.  Won’t do this many more times without waders…

Another Early Season Goose Hunt

This time, I headed over to Watertown, with a couple of old NYSDEC friends.  We hooked up with a guide I have been hunting with for the past nine seasons.  Charlie is in his late forties, and is a retired CO.  He know everyone, and has multiple leases for hunting access, with farmers all along the St. Lawrence River.

Charlie had everything set up.  Laydown blinds in the middle of a recently cut corn field.  About one hundred goose decoys. It was clear and about sixty degrees, with a light westerly wind.

Early season targets resident geese.  Or as the farmers’ put it– nuisance geese, that eat their crops.  The limit was actually 15 birds, each.  

We took a total of 26 geese.  I would say about fourteen  different  waves of geese came into the decoy spread, over two hours. We must have seen over three thousand geese.

I missed all the easy shots– birds flaring to land, right in front of me.  I made the difficult shots– birds flying past, behind and away  from me, with me sitting in the blind, twisting around to shoot behind me.  I was the only left handed humter, so I took the blind all the way to the right.  I did not have to worry about my gun barrel and the location  the other hunters.

The first wave came in from the left.  The hunter all the way to my left shot before I even raised my gun.  As I raised my gun,  the goose he shot fell right on top of me, flattening me in the lay down blind.  Never had that happen before.

We did harvest  all the goose breast and will put it to good use.  Mostly sausage. 

A good day in the field.  And now  Grouse season is open.