Rumble, rumble...

It was a crystal clear April morning as I slid my Raddison into Whortleberry Pond three miles from where I had muscled it off the truck and slung it over my shoulders.

The year was 2002 and this was to be my maiden brookie voyage of the season.

The pond was newly shed of its winter attire, as was evidenced by the lingering juts of milk-white ice along one shady shore. The water lay in a black sheet before me, undisturbed save for a warm fog hanging just above the ponds surface.

I glanced at my watch - 6:45 a.m. Perfect, I thought.

I had barely watched my first Lake Clear slip beneath the water when a freight trainlike growl reverberated across the valley.

Almost simultaneously the water around me began to dance with miniature whitecaps and my tranquil morning was interrupted by the metallic heartbeat of my two Orvis rods slamming off the sides of the canoe.

The pond came alive as if I were sitting atop a fish tank being shaken by an NFL linebacker. Ice near the shore crashed into small pieces.

It was bizarre to say the least. I shrieked like Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights and hugged my life vest until I thought it might explode.

OK, not really.

I may have, if Id had enough time. Instead, the earthquake lasted only about 15 seconds, and was gone as quickly as it appeared.

I later found out that the quake, centered about 15 miles south of Plattsburgh near Au Sable Forks, Jay and Keeseville, measured 5.1 on the Richter scale one of the largest ever recorded in the region. It was felt as far away as southern Quebec and Ontario, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and throughout much of the upper New England coast.

Former Governor George Pataki later declared a state of emergency in Essex and Clinton Counties after chimneys and roadways collapsed, including three sections of state Route 9N which crumbled into the swamps by the Au Sable River.

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