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Buggin’ out for the Woods

May 31st, 2009 4 comments

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, … and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”
Thoreau (Walden)  http://thoreau.eserver.org/

I agree with the second prong of that famous quote – the part about not wanting to discover upon dying that I had not lived – but can’t swallow the part about living deliberately in the woods. To the contrary, the woods are a place to experience chaos, mystery, and the wild.

So, when things get particularly crazy in my life, I find a way to bug out to the woods.

Red eft eastern newt. Summit of Cascade Mountain, Adirondack High Peaks Region

But perhaps I am responding to a far less known perspective in Walden, where Thoreau observed – and concluded (more than 100 years before Pink Floyd stole the line):

“It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live, for my sight has been whetted by experience;…
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

“The greater part of what my neighbors call good, I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of any thing, it is very likely to be my good behavior.”

In my own encounters with real woods (AKA wilderness), I typically take off on a whim and shoot for something beyond my experience, skills, and equipment – always with little or no preparation (so much for living deliberately). I jam the tent, sleeping bag, some food and a book into the back of the car and take off (don’t tell my kids, but I used to do this hitchhiking).

At times, that has put me in some precarious situations. But, I’ve managed to survive and – for the most part – I have a blast experiencing a little of the vanishing wild that’s still left. My favorite place to escape to is the Adirondacks, which I did last week.

This time out, I set my sights on Cascade Mountain (4,100 ft. elevation), the easiest climb of the Adirondack High Peaks – the trail is 2.4 miles, 2,000 feet climb (one way). See:
http://www.delmandental.com/hiking/Cascade.htm

Being over 50 and a never quite in shape weekend warrior (certainly no hiker), this was a challenge.

I camped and got rained on at Adirondack Loj.

But when the rain did let up, as a warmup, I managed to get a nice hike up Mount Jo (2,877 ft. elevation; 700 foot climb over a mile or so trail). (highly recommended, see: http://www.adk.org/ad_loj/

Check out the view of Heart lake from the top of Mount Jo (sorry about the clouds, it was raining!)

View from of Heart Lake from Mt. Jo

 

I now bring a camera with me as I ramble. I love everything about the Adirondacks, especially the rocks, streams, wild forests, and rustic tradition (check out some pics below). I have no words to describe simultaneously experiencing a landscape shaped by vast geological, spatial, and time scales, with the smallest and most immediate intimate beauty.

Tiny elf eastern newts crawling in patches of alpine meadow in a cloud drenched windblown summit. We don’t even need the spectacular views! Who gives a crap about rain! What more could you ask for?

In my eagerness to share some of the beauty I found, particularly this bright orange salamander (my daughter told me it was no big deal, dad), I came across this educational post by Naturegirl – check her out – she writes at the Adirondack Almanac blog
Red Efts – Nifty Adirondack Salamanders
http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2009/05/red-efts-nifty-adirondack-salamanders.html

 

 

stream flows down Cascade Mountain
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Adirondack Loj lean to

 

 
 
Adirondack Loj
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

patch of alpine meadow vegetation at top of Cascade Mountain. Rare plant community.
 

 

 

summit – Cascade Mountain
 

 

…with a bracing wind in my face…
 
Categories: Family & kids, personal Tags:

Buggin’ out

May 30th, 2009 3 comments

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, … and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”
Thoreau (Walden)
http://thoreau.eserver.org/
I agree with the second prong of that famous quote – the part about not wanting to discover upon dying that I had not lived – but can’t swallow the part about living deliberately in the woods. To the contrary, the woods are a place to experience chaos, mystery, and the wild.
So, when things get especially crazy in my life, I find a way to bug out to the woods.

Red eft eastern newt. Summit of Cascade Mountain, Adirondack High Peaks Region

(more on the jump)

Read more…

Categories: Family & kids, Hot topics, personal Tags:

Lake’s Woes Recall “An Enemy of the People”

May 27th, 2009 8 comments

Press and local businesses blame DEP – real economic and pollution problems ignored
In the popular National Public Radio Show “A Prairie Home Companion“, we are treated to the good news from Lake Wobegon, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average,”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Wobegon
Not exactly the news these days from Lake Hopatcong, NJ.
No, the Hopatcong story is closer to the narrative dynamics of the classic Ibsen play “An Enemy of the People“. That timeless play anticipated the Bush Administration’s war on environmental science and the need for Al Gore to tell his “Inconvenient Truth

(more on the flip)

Read more…

Protecting the Musconetcong River is More Important than Boating on Lake Hopatcong

May 24th, 2009 13 comments

Take a photo tour of the Majestic Musconetcong
[Update: 5/24/09 – The Ledger article today modifies slightly my negative assessment – posted yesterday – of their coverage to date. The money quote from today’s Star Ledger story is by DEP Director of Watershed Management, Larry Baier:
“We can’t jeopardize the Musconetcong River to help Lake Hopatcong.”
See: State looks to balance interests at lake
http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/morris/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1243137934308750.xml&coll=1
Today’s Star Ledger coverage warrants a repost of yesterday’s post:
The Star Ledger’s coverage of the Lake Hopatcong water level issue is not only biased towards short term economic considerations, it fails to inform and by doing so, actively misleads readers.
DEP is trying to maintain the flow in the Musconetcong River. A minimum river flow is required to protect water quality in the best fishing river in NJ.

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Supreme Court car search decision a victory for privacy rights

May 19th, 2009 No comments

I was recently the victim of an illegal police search of my vehicle and seizure of my personal papers and effects, so Mr. Lacey’s earlier post on the US Supreme Court’s recent decision in an illegal police car search demands response.(for Lacey’s post, see: http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2009/05/car_search_and_seizure_supreme.html

Mr. Lacey failed to provide readers with an understanding of the Constitutionally protected liberty and privacy interests at stake. He omitted the core of what the Court actually said and it’s supporting rationale. He also failed to note the context, e.g. that a conservative court wrote the opinion.
Below are excerpts of what the court actually said, with a link for readers to read it for themselves:
ARIZONA, PETITIONER v. RODNEY JOSEPH GANT
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/07-542.pdf

Read more…

Categories: Law & order, Policy watch, Politics Tags: