WANAKENA WEEKLY #8 - 03/26/20 - 04/01/20

Happy Thursday! Happy April!

In an effort to “FLATTEN THE CURVE” Otto’s Abode will remain closed until further notice. This is our third week of being closed. THIS SUCKS. Strangely enough though, besides businesses being closed and the anticipation of summer folks arriving being extremely muffled, Wanakena still feels a lot like it did a few weeks ago when the pandemic first became a reality for Americans. Sort of strange. Though, It’s always really quiet this time of year – besides nature springing back to life that is. Neighbors remain out and about for walks around town as usual. We just keep our distance – which is no fun. Saw a Wanakener with a big ol’ bag of road-side trash they had been collecting on a walk back home from up Ranger School Road with wife and dogs. Great job! Random out-of-towner folks out for afternoon drives and strolls were seen around town over the weekend. Fighter jets still fly uncomfortably low, nearly taking your breath away and blowing your head off. Geese are around, honkin’ it up. Mary is still working the post office, though there is a piece of clear plastic – think: shower curtain – hanging in the teller window between he and folks in need of mailing assistance. The mail delivery truck still arrives twice a day. As of today, St. Lawrence county has 37 confirmed Covid19 cases. The number - like most places - is going up. A map via northcountrynow.com shows most cases are in Potsdam and Massena. Thinking about how to stay clear-headed, helpful, productive, hopeful, etc… an inspiring and enlightening quote from Donna Haraway jumped out while recently re-reading her 2016 book Staying With The Trouble : “It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.” Or to less eloquently quote the Otto’s Abode bumper sticker: “IN A WORLD OF TROLLS – BE A GNOME”

Make no mistake: There is still snow in the woods and the lake is still (mostly) frozen. Below freezing at night throughout the week… but not too much below freezing. Cold enough, though. 50s during the day over the weekend. Quite a frosty Saturday Morning! A pair of mergansers have been hanging out in Wanakena all week! The male and female will float around above the footbridge in the morning and poke around The Mill Pond in the afternoon – quickly flying off if you get too close. Sunday night’s rainstorm was complete with *BOOMBOOM* thunder and lightning! The heavy rain picked back up Monday morning and made way for sun in the afternoon. With all the rain the Oswegatchie rapids just above town are runnin’! You can hear ‘em loud and clear up on top of Ford Hill – where owls were also heard hooting back and forth to each other. Tuesday and Wednesday near 50, spotty sun, breezy with clouds here and there. Beaver taking advantage of all the open water – lots of freshly gnawed-down trees around The Mill Pond. So far it has not been a terribly rainy spring. Foot trails are moderately wet, occasionally, you might come across a shady spot where snow and ice remain. Where cross country ski tracks had been throughout the winter (well, February) they are now rock-solid balance beam of ice atop the thawing earth.
Quite possibly the first Wanakener river rat to set boat afloat this year: earlier this week Bo K. could be seen kayaking under the footbridge, down the Oswegatchie. Previous years he may have been more ambitious, and one could have witnessed him paddling alongside larger and chunkier chunks of ice. But every winter is different, ya know? And there is a global pandemic going on. So, give the guy a break, will ya? Also, did you know: You do not need to own a boat to be in The Cranberry Lake Boat Club? Who knew?
Last week Black Waters CafĂ© in Wanakena announced via a flyer down at the front porch bulletin board as well as their facebook page that they would be joining the Clifton-Fine take-out posse (The Stone Manor in Cranberry Lake, Twin Lakes Hotel in Star Lake, and UB’s Mercantile in Oswegatchie) providing “contactless take-out” dinner and groceries. Diners are Friday and Saturday nights, pick-up between 3-6pm. Groceries can be ordered through their website and picked-up Wednesday and Saturday 3-6pm. Pinecone soup?
Bumped into someone on their way back from a stroll up to the Ranger School Fire Tower Ranger School “closed”. They mentioned they had turned around because they read signs saying the Ranger School Campus was closed. Without getting too close to campus orange dots could be seen moving through the woods; students in hardhats collecting sap buckets. There was a rumor going around that The Ranger School was in fact going to send the students home – this turned out to be false. The students remain on campus working their tails off to finish the school year successfully. https://www.esf.edu/coronavirus/#ranger
This is the time of year in the Adirondacks some call “mud season”. One doesn’t need much of an imagination to deduct what that entails. Hikers are discouraged from traversing on popular trails, especially trails prone to erosion via downhill melt water. When repetitive boot traffic stir up the mud before things dry out and plants/roots are able to take hold, trails are left sloppy and worn out. Mud season in Wanakena – and surrounding wilderness – is not as much of a concern due to the fact that many of our trails are relatively flat as well as not as frequently used as compared to something like a High Peak trail. Scouring the shores of The Mill Pond in Wanakena - which over the weekend experienced some of the lowest of the low water level of the year - run of the mill items such as fishing luers, broken glass, can pop-tops, shotgun shells, etc…were discovered. Undoubtedly worth noting: it is bizarrely serendipitous (supernatural?) what was also discovered poking out of the mud on the west shore not far from the playground/parking lot: what appeared to be the bottom of a decorative bottle was in fact a croquet mallet. NO JOKE! Seriously. A croquet mallet. Of all things. It appears to have been in the mud for quite some time. The mallet head is considerably rotten. It appears old. The paint distinguishing which color it belongs to is long gone (unfortunately). We’ll keep it (OBVIOUSLY) and you can check it out in the shop when we re-open.
Bridgework? Not in the past few weeks at least. Haven’t made an effort to find out why. Could simply be waiting for the weather to warm up? Maybe in conjunction with Coronavirus/Covid19. Either way, walking slowly over the carbridge the other day, looking down, noticed this (pictured below) on one of the cross beams. It appears to read: 1980 C.B. It’s close to the south shore, upstream side of the car bridge.
Dead Creek Flow. Campsite #37. Wednesday afternoon. Just below 40. Nice and warm in the sun. The flow is frozen. Shoreline and around the island show open water. Breeze from the north blowing through the white pine needles and across the surface of the water. Grouse drumming heard repeatedly. Thousands of tiny bugs crawling on the boulder. Beetles darting on the surface of open water. Calm. Peaceful. Solitary.
Kim’s Lost Dog Report: There are currently NO lost dogs in Wanakena.

A State of Emergency has been declared in St. Lawrence County effective Monday, March 16, 2020 through April 14, 2020.

St. Lawrence County spring outdoor burn ban in effect March 16th – May 14th.

Any questions, comments, concerns, trail condition inquiries, legends, jokes, animal sightings, etc… feel free to email otto@ottosabode.org or call 3158483008 or pop-in the shop!

All for now!