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I remember when the snow was this deep?

Notes from the North Woods

Bass athletes often get big airtime!

Bass athletes often get big airtime! Photo by Joe Hackett.

When I was a kid, I’d swear the snow banks on my side of the street were the size of Mt. Marcy. It began snowing in September and didn’t quit until April, or sometimes May. And I remember praying for a snow day in June, just before a big spelling exam.

I also seem to recall the fish I caught were always bigger, the lapse between my birthdays was always longer, and Santa actually believed I had been a very good boy, once.

Fortunately for me, video cameras and instant replay didn’t roll around until another generation had passed.

In retrospect, it’s difficult to deny the existence of the numerous on the ground effects of climate change.

All it takes to convince me is a short visit to any of the local rivers or streams.

I’ve been paddling and fishing these homegrown rivers for over half a century, and in all those years, I’ve never witnessed destruction on such a grand scale as we’ve experienced in the past decade.

I never believed it could’ve been any worse.

However, after reading testimony of the horrible floods that wracked the Ausable Valley back in the mid 1800’s, I discover how much worse it had been.

Hurricane Irene may have slashed and crashed through the Ausable Valley in 2011, but the Great Floods of the Ausable in the 1850’s triggered by historic rains and the collapse of the dam on the Lower Ausable Lake, swept away every bridge, mill and dam on the entire river, from Keene Valley to Lake Champlain.

But who knows, maybe they just didn’t build their bridges, dams or mills worth a damn.

It would be interesting to know what nature has yet in store. Maybe in 2113, while studying the Great Adirondack Floods of 2011, a researcher will uncover a story about how the Adirondack region actually used to have snow and ice in January and February.

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

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