Monday, May 03, 2010

Adirondack Spring Ride - April 07, 2010

I love the Adirondacks this time of year, kind of a pre-Spring this far north and at these elevations. Lately, we've had early ice-out on the lakes and snow-gone in the woods. Sure, it is kind of brown and grey, but with the leaves off the trees you can see the lay of the land, at least where it isn't blocked by stands of spruce and cedar.
Tupper Lake
First stop was Tupper Lake for wings at Guido's Pizzeria, locally owned for decades and home of the best, all-homemade Italian fast food: pizzas, wings, subs, etc. Heading out of town, I cross the Tupper Lake causeway and stop to admire the wind-swept water and pre-emergent wetland.

Hamlet of Long Lake
Stopped for gas at Kickerville Station, just outside the hamlet of Long Lake. In Long Lake, I stopped to take a picture of the little float plane Flying Service office and the one lone float plane on the lake. It was brown, perfect for the color scheme of this season. Come summer, there are three or four float planes.

Rain - Hamlet of Indian Lake
Turning towards Indian Lake, I pass the divide between the St. Lawrence River & Hudson River watersheds. Along the way, I see this cool jeep parked at a trailhead. About the time  I reach Indian Lake, it begins to rain. I don't mind the rain, riding through the central Adirondacks on my motorcycle. I'm mostly waterproof. All the colors change when wet. The brown ground shows a bit of green, the yellow dead grass and grey bare trees become brighter, almost shiny. It also causes interesting low-level clouds along the hills and small peaks.

And it reminds me of growing up in Gilmanton, NH. The spring rains always brought out the little red salamanders. They'd be all over the yard and woods, and we would hike around and collect them in buckets and coffee cans. We'd always let them go again, but it was fun to hold them in your hand - their little feet tickled a bit as they walked around.
So it rained in the hamlet of Indian Lake. I stopped at a Stewart's and had a coffee & banana split. A warning came through on my Blackberry for thunderstorms, heavy rain and high winds in southern Adirondacks moving north. Here in the store it seems like everybody knows everybody else, and many of them are related. There is a steady stream of customers, male and female, stocking up on beer for this rainy afternoon. The favorite choice seems to be light beer in a 12 pack. Glad I'm not stuck in that kind of life.
I decided to head home when I was finished.
Hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake
On my way home, I have to drive into the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake. Years ago, I did a lot of work on this lake, including detailed watershed & water quality modeling to predict the effect of increased development within the watershed on lake water quality.
There isn't much here. At the intersection of Route 30 & Route 28, there are a few buildings and shops. It is here where you have to decide whether to continue on straight and eventually hit Old Forge or take a left and go through the hamlets of Indian Lake, Town of Minerva, and a few other small settlements. If you continue on straight, you hit the center of the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake, as defined by the highest concentration of buildings on both sides of the lake and on the lake shore. You have a fire station, a performing arts center, and a handful of water/recreation-related stores and a collection of houses perched right over the water.
Saranac Lake
Near the end of my journey, I stopped at the Saranac Lake United Methodist Church. They were cleaning up from their weekly Community Supper, a free meal for anyone who wants it. They get from 50 - 70 people. It is a chance to not worry about making supper, reduce the food bill, save a few bucks. Also a chance to be part of a community for a night. A lot of nights I show up & play music, giving it a coffee house feel. They really like Johnny Cash.

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