It was a typical fall morning in Inlet with the cool air mixing with the foggy mist rolling off the Fulton Chain.
When I arrived at school that morning the grass on the school grounds was wet and blanketed with leaves.
By the time my fourth grade classmates and I headed out for lunch recess the ground had dried and the fallen bounty crunched beneath our feet.
We cleared trails by scuffing our feet in the leaves around the entire hillside and lower portions of the play area behind our little schoolhouse.
Within the giant maze we engaged in a game of tag.
The air was filled with laughter and our cries of fouls as we baited our captures inside the maze.
We were saddened when we heard the little hand held bell ring—our signal that recess had come to an end. Continue reading
The end of my school day was just moments away and I was itching to get outside to enjoy a really great fall afternoon.
I had ridden my bike to school that morning in a hovering fog that clung to the hill between my Limekiln Lake home and our little school perched over Fifth Lake.
The trees—in full colorful splendor—were shielded in the mist.
It was one of those days when any self-respecting sixth grader would rather spend time looking out the window than writing a short essay.
As I filed out of the building with the other children I was hit square in the face by the perfect smell of fall.
It seemed like the fall of 1976 had sprung from nowhere. The air had a good bite to it, and it seemed as if the colors had busted out overnight.
Outdoor after-school activities were shortened as the daylight hours faded away.
My time outside was so limited that it felt like an eternity before I could watch my favorite television show, Black Sheep Squadron.
Those two hours from dusk to prime time television viewing had to be filled in some way by this impatient 11-year-old.
I longed for just a few short moments more to hunt around the lake, or maybe just wet a line from one of the old quiet boathouses. Continue reading
As an elementary student, many of my after school hours were spent trotting into the woods to explore the fall landscape around Limekiln Lake.
A lot of these hiking adventures were unplanned with no particular destination in mind.
I just went wherever my 10-year-old legs pushed me to travel.
My dog Mutt and I traveled up many creeks around the lake just to see where they started and what sorts of things we could find along the way.
Mutt like to splash belly-down in every large pool, clouding up the mud among the bright-colored fallen leaves.
This made it difficult for me to scour the creeks’ edges and bottoms for cool gemstones.
On one particular afternoon we hiked almost two miles along a creek that had a lot of tiny cascading waterfalls and a few open pools.
Mutt lost interest in our quest and snuck away to follow the sound of a scolding Red Squirrel.
The subtle trickling of the creek was the only sound heard. Continue reading
It was that first perfect weekend of fall. I had just finished up my first week of third grade and I needed an adventure.
When I woke up that Saturday morning the air was crisp and the sun shined on my face—an excellent day to engage in some manual labor.
I went out to the garage to scare up a couple of tools to build my own log cabin.
I really wanted to have an old cabin in the woods where I could just hide out and pretend I was part of the Hole in the Wall Gang, or some Adirondack hermit trying to brave the elements.
And like every other eight year old boy, I knew the general principals of log cabin building by playing with Lincoln Logs.
I made a drawing in school that week plotting the cabin’s design and layout.
It was a great shock to me when one of my greatest summers ever came to an abrupt ending. Not only did I have to get up for school the next morning, but it was my brother’s first day of kindergarten.
My sister, brother and I stood at the end of the walk at our Limekiln Lake home as the bus pulled up.
My brother seemed ready to take part in this strange ritual that his older siblings had been engaged in for a few years running.
When we reached the Inlet School I made sure he was heading in the right direction to meet his new teacher.
Every eleven year old boy who grew up in my world had a couple of great swimming holes to visit. Some were used for cooling off, others for cannonball contests. And some were simply used for swimming.
The days in late August were growing shorter and night temperatures were dipping into the forties. I was running out of days warm enough to enjoy those swimming holes.
However, there was one great place I liked to visit on chilly mornings.
I dragged an old tire tube from the back of the garage, boosted it with some air, and headed out through the lingering fog with my dog Mutt trotting along.
I push-rolled the old rubber tube in front of me by slapping my towel over it. The old tube kicked up pretty high as it bounced over a large protruding rock in the road.