by Mitch Lee
In mid-March of 1977 I decided to make a snowshoe trek out to Fawn Lake. There was still a good two feet of snow pack on the ground and some wet snow had fallen overnight which made the world look clean and fresh on that Saturday morning.
I loaded up my runner sled with an old pair of wooden snowshoes that were hanging in my father’s workshop.
They had been repaired several times with glue, aluminum splice braces and new leather webbing.
My dog Mutt followed me down the Limekiln Road to the sand road, where I mounted my Yankee Clipper and pushed my way down the hill with my hands drawn up into a fist.
The road was filled with speckles of freshly cast dirt from the plow truck which made for a pretty slow run.
Mutt jogged alongside me.
We gave up halfway from the bottom of the hill and I pulled the sled the rest of the way.
We climbed a snowbank at the base of the hill and found our way along the path of near knee-deep snow that led to Fawn Creek and Limekiln Inlet.
I pulled the snowshoes off the sled and sat down to fasten the leather and buckles over my boot toe and wrapped the heel catch so they would fit snugly.
I propped the sled upright in the snow along the edge of the trail and carefully began my steps so I could get the rhythm of walking with those large beaver tail snowshoes.
We easily found our way along the trail to the lake. Mutt seemed impatient with my slow pace and occasionally stepped on the back of my shoes…almost making me trip.
We had to find our way around or over a few trees that had fallen across the trail.
One was so large that when I tried to lay my chest and stomach over it to swing my legs to the other side, it sort of swallowed me up when I plopped in the snow on its opposite side.
Mutt whined because she could not make it over. She panted and breathed heavily for a while until finally finding her way through a tangle of branches to join me.
We finally reached the end of the pond where there was an old beaver dam. I carefully made my way to the top of the dam to survey the ice to see if it would hold my weight.
The sun peeked out between several clouds and created such a glare from the snow that it hurt my eyes.
I bent down to scoop up some snow to make a snowball.
This drew attention from Mutt who was now poised to fly in the direction of my snow missile.
I tossed it way off in the woods so I could test the ice without her.
The ice was good and hard. I walked along the lightly snow-covered surface, and left web-footed imprints behind me.
Before long Mutt tired of looking for the snowball and joined me as I made all sorts of figure eight designs on the pond. I enjoyed this day on the iced-over beaver dam more than any other day of winter.
Mitch Lee, Adirondack native & storyteller,
lives at Inlet. firstname.lastname@example.org