Still enjoying outdoor life 50 years after ranger school graduation

Several storms rolled through here during the week and on through the weekend. They made for a wet camping week with temperatures that weren’t all that warm either. It sounds like it may even be colder this week…just in time for banding loons all night while wearing long johns.

I guess that’s why we live here in the Adirondacks.

One party from the Syracuse area that I saw up on Moshier Reservoir said it was down in the forties this week, unlike the low sixties he’s accustomed to where he comes from.

The conversation took place as he was trying to get his outboard going out in the middle of the reservoir.

The motor wasn’t running very long on each winding.

Luckily he was mechanically inclined. He had just changed his alternator on his car in the parking lot before this happened and he had enough tools on-hand for any job.

I enjoyed the moose at Helldiver Pond one day this week with a couple from North Syracuse who have a camp on Cohasset Point.

The moose seems to be getting up later each morning as another party saw him on Saturday morning at 8:30. We saw him from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

If you stay off the pond until he comes out and starts feeding and then go over closer for photos you have a better chance of seeing him.

The couple with me had been there since 5 a.m. and left just before he came out. But I caught them before they left the parking area.

This was their fifth trip in to the plains to see the moose and they said it was well worth it.

We’ve had a hummer in rehab for nearly a week now. It fell or got blown out of a nest early and couldn’t fly, but now it’s trying a few test flights.

Inky our cat knows what’s in the box and checks on it when we aren’t looking, therefore we have to keep it in a room behind closed doors.

Hopefully it will launch this week and join its kind around the feeder.

The nest full of juncos fledged this morning and mom and dad were not happy when I went down to feed the fish.

These babies are as big as the parents and working on seed under the feeder.

Speaking of the feeder we had a visitor one morning this week. I haven’t had the electric fence on all summer.

When I looked out at six that morning the feeder was moving a little more than if a squirrel was at it.

Through the fog I could see it was about a 300 pound bear licking out the seeds as if it was drinking a milkshake.

Karen opened the back door and away he went. The fence is on now. The bear would only have to hit that once and he won’t be back.

There are all kinds of wild berries and cherries. The beechnuts are covered with nuts so there will be plenty of wild food for everyone this fall.

The cone trees are also covered with cones so any cone seed eating bird should have plenty this winter.

As you may have seen Karen and I won the drawing for the maquette of the Nature as Muse at View. Karen and I each bought two tickets.

The morning of the drawing we were discussing where we would put the beautiful statue—in the garden, on the porch or just on the table inside.

On the way to the pond that morning I picked a four-leaf clover and put it in my wallet.

I have to believe it was the clover that did the trick, as I’ve never won anything like that in my life.

This past weekend was the Wanakena Ranger School Reunion at Cranberry Lake—the 50th anniversary of my graduation.

One hundred and two students started when I did, with 66 finishing out that long year.

Of those 66, 18 of us were in attendance.

I put a program together with slides taken by some of the students during our year at school.

Those of us who attended received a wooden plaque with a nameplate in commemoration of our 50th anniversary.

Several stories were told about things that happened during our year at school.

One was the taking of the war canoe one night from the ESF campus, which is also on Cranberry Lake.

Five guys took two canoes over to ESF during the night and got lost in the fog, but made the journey and returned with the canoe. They, of course, placed it on our front lawn.

First thing that morning School Director Professor Plumley asked that those who took the war canoe to come forward and take it back.

At the time we didn’t know if the individuals were going to be kicked out for their actions.

I’m sure they suffered a couple points on their performance evaluations, but all of them ended up graduating.

One of the takers, Paul Bozard, said he had several pictures and would send them to me.

Many of us felt the fifty years had gone by too fast, but most are still enjoying life after Ranger School.

Catching a few loons this week, but that’s another story. See ya.

Gary Lee will conduct a Bird Banding program at View on Sunday, August 11. It is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. in the Eco Gallery. 

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