Tag Archives: Adirondacks

Travel: The Heart of our Love for The Sport

These images capture the country as best I could, from the Outer Banks to the Keys to Montana.

There’s no right answer to the question: “What is the essential, defining element that makes us love outdoor sports like hunting and fishing more than any other single factor?”

But I just returned from an annual trip I take with a friend and former college roommate to Fire Island, N.Y., where we’ve been fishing the surf since meeting as freshman in college at Syracuse University. Curt Dircks and his family own a small cabin on the island and we’ve had some spectacular years chasing striped bass and bluefish there over the past decade. The island, where most residents and visitors take a ferry from Long Island and commute either by walking or bicycle, is a unique and beautiful one. The whitetail deer, which walk over the ice in the winter to reach the island, alone make it a unique environment.

Prior to that trip I got to spend a weekend at a camp my aunt and uncle, Tom and Bridget Roberts, have had in their family for as long as I’ve been alive... and much longer before that. The cabin-style camp is in Old Forge, N.Y., near the base of the Adirondack National Park.

It’s a common occurrence to see black bears roaming within a stone’s throw from the cabin, and a trip without a deer sighting is almost unheard of. The cabin itself is mostly unadorned, basic and beautiful in a rustic way. On the front porch you can see the Adirondack’s Fulton Lake Chain spread out before you and behind the cabin there’s an enormous stone fire-pit that I can remember sitting at almost every summer for as long as I’ve been alive.

These beautiful places I’ve been blessed to see and revisit have convinced me that, more than any other single factor, travel and exploration are the basic elements of our love for the outdoors.

A fishing rod seemingly has a fairly simple purpose, but in reality it’s something we get to point at the next place we’d like to visit, see, explore, or return to. It’s a means, an excuse and a justification for exploring as many of the truly unique, breathtaking and memorable parts of this country and this earth as we might, given only one lifetime.

Had I not picked up a fishing rod, and in many respects held onto it, early on in my life, I might very well have still sought out these places, these experiences and the incredible wildlife that calls each home.

But I don’t know that I would have, and I’m certainly grateful every day that I did.

Where is Summer?

Overlooking the dense forest that starts in Old Forge and extends through much of the Adirondack National Park.

I was talking with an Aunt of mine today, about heading up to her camp in the Adirondacks this month, and it got me thinking…

My Aunt, Bridget Roberts, owns a small log cabin in Old Forge, at the foothills of the Adirondack National Park, and although this place isn’t a mansion, it’s absolutely EVERYTHING you dream about when you think about getting away in the summer.

The cabin was built more than a century ago, and when you first walk in you can smell the pine and the embers of the ashes from last year’s fire… almost. There is a fire-pit they keep out back for larger, s’more-making campfires, but there’s a stone fireplace inside too, for those colder June nights that you have to go pretty far North to even experience.

Inside the camp, there’s an intricate portrait of the landscape that their daughter (a very artistic person in her own right) etched on an enormous mushroom.

On the camp’s front deck, you can overlook the Fulton Lake Chain in the Southern Adirondack region, and on a late-Spring morning at sunrise… My God. All the talk about melting glaciers forming lakes is just hot air sailing over your head in high school until you see these bodies of water poured out so beautifully between mountains, and you can almost picture the mountains of ice melting to create them.

The deer that wander by look at you the way we look at deer in most other parts of the country, with an expression of “Hey, didn’t expect to see you here…” There’s not the trepidation or instant fear that you see in the eyes of wildlife almost everywhere else, but rather an “Oh, hi” glance before they move along.

Cell phone service is spotty, there’s no cable television and certainly no Wi-Fi. You can’t help but think, while you’re there: “Before man was staring into his phone, checking Social Media, updating his status, texting, tweeting or photographing… maybe he was just… observing, appreciating, relaxing, absorbing…”

On her front porch at sunrise you see that lake chain poured between the mountains as the sun soaks the trees and slowly changes their color to your eye from shadows to breathing greens. Your pocket feels empty without a phone, your hands feel almost odd interlaced behind your head, but when you breath in the crisp air almost feels different in your lungs and the last thing you want to do, even for a second, is blink.

For all of us, perhaps, summer is not just a season but a place we go, a place we return. I’ve been lucky to visit many different ‘summers,’ over the years, but this one is truly incredible in almost every sense of the word.