The summer is winding down—what little we’ve had—but at least it isn’t dry like out west with all the fires. New York just sent a firefighting crew of 20 out to Montana last week.
I haven’t gotten any reports on the fire they are on but I’m sure the way it looks there will be other crews heading west soon.
I always enjoyed the trips west on the firefighting teams but it’s definitely for the younger men and women as it was hard work in some difficult situations.
The first year I went out to the Yellowstone Complex was in 1988, when I was only 45.
The elevation got me more than my age, as it seemed I always lacked air.
Some firefighters that came from the coastline had a harder time adjusting to the elevation than I did.
They were there more than a week before their bodies adjusted to the elevation differences.
Firefighters who lived in the area would run up the mountains every morning while we would have to take our time to get to the hot spots or fire lines.
Let’s pray they get some rain or snow to put some of these big fires to rest.
In mid-July 1989 I was in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona on the very large Jack Fire as Squad Boss.
A crew next to us lost a firefighter who got struck by lightning in a storm that came through there the second day.
It dropped over two inches of rain in less than a half an hour, a real gully washer.
During the storm small trees and debris were washing down the hillsides toward our campsite.
Luckily the majority of the water diverted away from our tents just before getting there and we didn’t lose anything.
We were working in a forest that had very large Ponderosa Pines, many over 200 feet tall.
Most had lightning strike marks on them so the Crew Boss told us not to take shelter under them during the storm.
Most of us had little rain gear because it never rained.
However we did have space blankets that worked as rain covers if it did rain. I have a slide of several firefighters huddled under their space blankets during the storm. The rains nearly put out this fire and it was just mop up the next day.
I started thinking about it while Loon watching in some downpours this week.
The weatherman on The Moose radio told me before I went out on the lakes that there was an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms late in the afternoon… and he was right.
I was more than an hour from the truck when the first storm came through. It only sprinkled so I said to myself, how bad can they be?
Well, I found out about fifteen minutes later as the next one dumped over an inch of rain on me in less than a half an a hour.
I stood on-shore under my space blanket as the boat filled with three inches of water.
I had just found the loon family and wanted to see their bands but the next storm quickly followed.
It was worse than the first as there was over four inches of water in the boat when I drained it for the second time.
I had to row back across the lake and walk back to my canoe which had over six inches of water in it. I was a tad damp to say the least.
My hair stood up on end a couple of times as the lightning was pretty intense. I’ll have to see the loon bands next trip—and listen to the weatherman.
There are still no Monarch Butterflies in sight. It’s getting pretty late for them to lay eggs and have them make it to adulthood before fall hits the north country.
It’s been a pretty good year for fish growth. The waters didn’t warm up as much as they did last year so these fish had all summer to feed and do nothing but get bigger.
This time of year brooktrout should be about as big as they are going to be. This is just before spawning when they shut down on eating and start laying eggs.
These fish have been active all summer and another new state record for brooktrout will probably be set this fall.
Some of these Adirondack lakes that were once acid and didn’t support fish life have come back and now support one of the best brooktrout populations in years.
These fish are very active just before spawning so it’s time to get out of that easy chair and drag a lake clear and a worm or some wet flies and catch a few. They are great table fare also.
There is a hunter safety course at Long Lake Central School on Thursday, September 26 from 6 to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday, September 28 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both sessions need to be attended.
For more information or to register call (518) 624-3077.
A few birds are hitting the nets on their way south, but that’s another story. See ya.
We will be banding hummers at the Stillwater Restaurant on Sunday, October 1, at 8 a.m. The public is welcome.
Hopefully there will still be some hummers around!