Related: Adirondack Chronicles

Adirondack Chronicles XXXVII

 
 

Dawn on the 4th of July brought the news of the death of Anne LaBastille, one of the great icons of the Adirondacks whose prolific writing about her adventures as a woman living alone in the forest opened up the idea of backwoods exploration for rising generations of young women in the 1970′s and 1980′s — I was one of those young women captivated by her Woodswoman series describing her experiences building her own log cabin and learning to live simply in the woods.  She was an enthusiastic environmentalist and compelling promoter of conservation.  I met her once at an Author’s Night at the local general store (the legendary Hoss’s) and she was absolutely delightful.  The Adirondacks have few such characters left, she will be missed.

I thought of Anne LaBastille as I paddled around the gorgeous waters of the Cedar River Flow on Independence Day.  What better way to celebrate freedom than to be on a beautiful lake surrounded by miles of mountains and forests?  One of the things that people who spend time in nature learn is that wildlife have their own customs, rhythms and signals.  Most wildlife hate people, to be sure, and will quickly move away from any human contact — far from being worried about wild things hurting us, we need to understand that they’re human-averse.

So, for example, this beautiful bullfrog thought I couldn’t see him amid the lily pads…

…but the minute he spied my presence, he was gone in a splash…

The snapping turtle sunning on a rock didn’t last long, slipping quickly into the water after this shot…

But I did get this close-up portrait of a painted turtle who quickly slithered into the lake afterward…

The merganser broods were out in force, appearing to be quite tranquil…

…until spotting the kayak made them speed away across the lake…

This loon mom was sheltering her two chicks when suddenly she let loose with a loud loon call…

…and then a shadow crossed the water and I looked up and saw the eagle that made her fearful for her chicks (large birds of prey love those soft little feathery snacks…)…

Mr. Eagle perched himself on top of a pine tree just waiting for another opportunity for lunch…

Speaking of lunch, I headed for home and along the way I spied this great blue heron sitting in a nest high up in a dead pine in the middle of a small pond:

She flew away the minute she sensed my presence, even though I was almost 50 yards away by the side of the road, with a lot of water between us…

…but then she flew back to stand guard over the nest…

Loons are the cats of the lakes… regal, proud, disdainful of humans, so I was quite surprised when this one got close enough for a fairly nice portrait…

And while the eagles never get close, I’ve seen enough on this trip to know that the kind of environmental protection and conservation that advocates like Anne LaBastille fought for have had the important effect of restoring once-endangered species like the American Bald Eagle:

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
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