Sunday, October 30, 2011

First Snow

The nor'easter that went up the east coast yesterday and early this morning just left a slushy inch of snow with us.


I wanted to do some paddling in the snow.  The scenery would have been spectacular as there is still some color on the trees.

I set out anyway.  There was some snow on the boat -

but by the Otter there was no snow.

It was very peaceful, but the winds were from the north and cold.  Luckily, I had fleece on, dry-pants, neoprene socks, by paddling jacket, and PFD.  With my hood up and gloves on, I was fine.

The osprey have been gone for quite a while.  I would occasionally see some ducks. Off in the distance I would hear the the retort of guns from waterfowl hunter out on the lake.

I paddled into the 'Hidden Marsh'.  In the spring flood I could paddle to the far side.  Now I could only progress 1/4 of the way in.

I spooked a few of the late-season blue heron.

Sometimes I could just sit and take in the quiet!

I continued upstream,  The maritime museum had a few of their row boats down at a marina on the Otter.

I paddled up to the mouth of Dead Creek.  The water is much lower now than in the spring.  I could paddle under the bridge into Dead Creek.

There was a lone heron off in the distance.

I started back.  I had the wind in my face, but it was now around 40 degF.  I had seen a single cormorant earlier.  He was now working his way into the Hidden Marsh.

Six month ago I posted about a beaver lodge I had chanced upon. It was still active (you can tell as there are young, freshly-cut saplings and branches submerged near the lodge.  No signs of beaver!

I noticed a small channel behind the lodge.  It looks like the beaver have been busy keeping a channel open.  I decided to paddle into it to see where it went.

It meandered a short distance, and opened up into a broad marsh.

I came across another beaver lodge.  I also saw this one back in April when the river was flooded.

I headed back to the car.  It will be some time before the river freezes.  Then I'll have to be content sitting in my 'lodge' like the beavers, waiting for ice-out on the river.  Stay Warm!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

To the Palisades

It was a cool morning (about 40 degF), overcast skies with light winds from the south.  I was planning on getting a longer paddle in this weekend.

I put in at the mouth of the Otter at Fort Cassin, and headed west across Lake Champlain to the Palisades.  Where the shoreline on this portion of the Vermont side of the lake is dotted with farms and lake houses, the New York side is steep and deeply wooded.

As I entered the broad lake, I saw what looked like 2 islands of to the south.  At first I thought they were the Diamond Islands.  I quick glance to the north confirmed that they weren't.  What were they?

Duck blinds!  Yep, its that time of year!

The crossing is about 2 miles.  As I approached the New York side, I could see the remnant of a rockslide on the steep mountainside.

The shoreline is a battle between wood and rock.  In some places you can't tell where the rock ends and the wood begins.

I paddled south to Ore Cove.  I remember reading somewhere that these was mining here, but the steepness of the terrain led to numerous slides.  Maybe there is an abandoned mining operation here. . .

There is a small campsite here.  The ground is very rocky, while there is no easy take-out as the water at the shore is several feet deep.

The campsite is part of the Lake Champlain paddlers trail.

Across the lake to the east I could see Camel's Hump in the Vermont Green Mountains.

This part of the lake is bounded by the Adirondack State Forest.

As I paddled near the shore I could here something moving in the woods.  What was it?

A red squirrel!

There are a lot of tiny coves.  As I came around a corner into one I startled a pair of ducks.

The rock face is very steep in parts.  In places, huge blocks of stone were poised to fall into the lake!

I came across another campsite.  My nephew and I stopped at this one years ago.

It is also a Lake Champlain paddler trail site.

As I continued south, I came to the high cliffs known as the Palisades.  I looked up and at the top I saw a Peregrine Falcon watching me.  They nest in the cliffs.

After a few minutes it flew away.

There are several places were water cascades down the cliffs . . .

I came to another of the paddler trail campsites.  I stayed at this site about 8 years ago.

There is a little, protected cove . . .

. . . a shelter . . .

. . . and even first rate accommodations!

I paddled back across the lake to the Vermont side.  The crossing here is only about 1 mile.  I headed over to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum where they have a recreation of the gunboat Philadelphia (aka the Philadelphia II).  The Philadelphia was built in 1776 at the southern end of the lake in Whitehall, NY.  Whitehall is the birthplace of the US Navy!

As I headed north back to Fort Cassin, I could see the Palisades off to the west.

Another fascinating paddle!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

An Autumn Stroll

The wife and I took a late afternoon walk down by the lake.

The fields are still soaked from all the recent rains.  The paths and roads were wet and muddy.

There were berries on the trees and shrubs - the end of the season is at hand.

We came across a old barn with a charming collection of flowers . . .

The lake was still and calm.  The sun was setting over the Adirondacks.

The setting sun revealed the wonder of nature.  Beautiful.

It was a fine walk.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pedal Power

We went to the Shelburne Museum this past weekend.  This trip, we visited a number of the collections associated with woodworking, tools, toys and carving.  I took a lot of photographs - a lot a material for future blog postings.

For this entry, I thought I'd show some of the foot-operated tools from the Blacksmith Shop and the collections in the Shaker Shed.

The first piece of equipment had me stumped.  It was obvious it was a foot powered machine which would drive a sharp metal tool down.   But what was it? I consulted a book I have on American hand tools (Alvin Sellens' Dictionary of American Hand Tools - A Pictorial Synopsis).  Aha! It was a mortising machine.  One would have drilled out the hole to be mortised, and then squared-up the hole using the foot-powered chisel.

I like the wooden leaf-spring at the top, but it seems that the upper and lower leaf springs are flipped.  I looks like the pedal would not be able to move very far before both springs would come in contact.  I'm just going to go back and ask a few questions.

There was a great foot-powered saw . . .

. . . a foot powered lathe . . .

. . . and a foot powered jig saw.

There was also a slate cutter's bench. It is similar to a shaving bench in operation.  There used to be a lot of slate quarries in the area.  Something else to study!