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Winter has yet to relent

Notes from the North Woods

The Eisenhower Locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway in Massena. New York is pushing for tougher ballast regulations to help stop the spread of invasive species in New York waters.

The Eisenhower Locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway in Massena. New York is pushing for tougher ballast regulations to help stop the spread of invasive species in New York waters.

After I had spent a full of week respooling fishing lines, oiling reels, sorting tackle and replacing a pile of worn out and rusted flies, the snow began to fall. I didn’t give it much notice, at first, as I figured it was just scattered flurries.

It came down slowly at first, but finally as the snow began to accumulate, I watched the side yard disappear under a cloak of white. “Too little, too late,” I muttered under my breath.

I had spent most of the previous week traveling throughout the North Country, looking for snow, and skiing over sparse cover. Repeatedly, my days on the trail got off to a fast start as I skied over crust and dust conditions. In the late afternoon, the outbound journey typically featured a slow return, on tracks that had turned to slush and mush. Snow fleas often lined the ski tracks, and the maples had already been tapped. As the sap began to flow, it appeared the ski season was ready to go.

After enjoying one last ski jaunt into Great Camp Santanoni, l was ready to relegate the ‘winter that wasn’t’ to the scrap heap. Soon after, I stashed my skis in the back of the garage, and tossed a pair of well worn, boots into storage. Rods and reels quickly replaced the wax and ski pools, and a stack of maps and hydrographic charts decorated the den.

I was so certain March would come in like a lamb, I never considered that winter still had a bit of a lion left in it. Imagine my surprise when the season came roaring back. Better yet, was the fact that it arrived in an appropriate time to provide a wintery playground for The Mountaineer’s 10th annual, Adirondack Back Country Ski Festival.

Scheduled for March 3 - 4 in Keene Valley, the annual charity event supports the Adirondack Ski Touring Council and the New York Ski Educational Foundation, and provides backcountry ski enthusiasts with an opportunity to demo the latest backcountry ski gear, participate in clinics, tours and enjoy a special Saturday evening at The Beaver Dome at Keene Central School.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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