WANAKENA WEEKLY #50 - 01/14/21 - 01/20/21

Happy Thursday!

This past week in a nutshell… What can we say? IT SNOWED! A LOT and THEN SOME MORE! Got nice and cold, too! Last weekend was too snowy to really get out and drive around. A few brave souls made it out to Wanakena to hit the trails. Cross-country ski trails out in the Five-Ponds were “not great” this past weekend – lots of snow, but heavy, wet and warm. Instead, folks were out and about on the ol’ snowshoes. Snowmobilers out and about! Snowmobile trails are reported to be “GOOD’N’GROOMED”…. Lots of volunteers out there making it happen! Birds flutter way up high and far away. Lots of deer tracks zigzag the frozen Oswegatchie. Mink spotted down by the riverside. Hardwoods creak and crack under the weight of wet snow.

UP THE RAPIDS! BEAUTIFUL snowdrift sculptures accumulate atop the ice. There is quite a bit of ice formed and forming along the rapids! The river still trickles though. RUSHES though in some spots! This past Fall we had some decent rain, and a few brief snow events which melted – this made for lots of water rushing down the Oswegatchie and it’s been pretty cold and therefore the RUSHING WATER is FREEZING! The flow has slowed since then… but the frozen-ness remains! Currently the ICE JAM DANGER remains LOW.

LAST YEAR!!!! ICE JAM JANUARY 14th !!!! An Oswegatchie ice jam occurred January 14th, 2020 after warm temperatures and heavy rain. Since then temperatures have remained low enough for ice to re-form around boulders and along the shoreline. Snowfall on top of the newly formed ice as well as accumulation on top of whatever frozen river chunks remained has been vigilant in its inch-by-inch attempt to re-claim the brisk rushing water. A hike up the Moore Trail reveals the ice jam most likely - and as usual - popped and cascaded down into town from just below Little Falls. Ice around and above Little Falls is quite thick, layered, and aged compared to the new ice formations down the river closer to town. This past spring a storm blew over a large hemlock on the south shore of the Oswegatchie – halfway between the carbridge and the footbridge. The tree fell north into the river and laid there half submerged all summer. It didn’t cause any harm. Though the ice jam on Jan 14th wouldn’t be described as “big” or “crazy” it was enough to dislodge the tree from its resting place and carry it down to its new resting place directly below the footbridge. It is currently causing no harm. 

Upcoming… Weather forecast says… WINTER!!!!! Another few inches of snow before the weekend. COLD WEEKEND! Dropping from the 20s to single digits Friday night… Saturday and Sunday SINGLE DIGITS. Sun and warmer-ish Monday. HAVE A GREAT WINTER WEEKEND EVERYONE!!!!! This weather forecast is brought to you by Wanakena’s own PATTIJACKNAN weather team – a Wanakener garage-pole-mounted weather station and crew. THANKS, TEAM! This weather station can be found at: https://www.wunderground.com/weather/us/ny/wanakena/KNYWANAK8 

CRANBERRY LAKE 50!!! Since this is Wanakena Weekly #50 we figured it wouldn’t be a bad place to give the CL50 (another) shout out. Not too many folks do it this time of year. Though, a couple hikers with big packs were spotted walking down Ranger School Road. You can always check on the CL50 facebook group. Hikers interested in doing the 50 as questions like: “Should I double knot or triple knot my boots?” and “How many miles is the Cranberry Lake 50?”. This past summer the Cranberry Lake 50 saw RECORD NUMBERS of hikers. The Parking lot in Wanakena was JAMMING… sometimes FOURTY CARS deep. All was well in the woods, though… and we foresee ANOTHER JAMMIN’ warm-weather CL50 season in 2021. HAPPY TRAILS!!!!!

SNOW CROQUET SEASON HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN! Dave had roughed-out the court just after New Years which prepped us for the MEGA SNOW we received. The court was shovel-sculpted over the weekend and some games played. THE COURT IS STACKED WITH LOOSE DRY SNOW. The base rolls well. More snow on the way means more snow croquet to play. C’MON DOWN TO OTTO’S AND GIVE IT A WHACK, WILL YA??!?!?!

UPPER JAY ART CENTER MUSIC! In previous years the UPPER JAY ART CENTER hosts an Open Mic every Sunday in January… "JANUARY JAMS"... well, this year we’ve got this COVID CRAP and so the crew down in Upper Jay filmed folks performing in the space once at a time in December. Each Sunday in January they release a YOUTUBE video of a few performances. Its like a virtual jam. Plattsburgh, NY’s FAMOUS LETTER WRITER is featured in episode #2. They played at Otto’s Abode a couple years back. Check it out here ----> http://www.ottosabode.org/2018/05/live-music.html 

DOWN AT THE ABODE!!!! NEON!!! Yep, we got a new neon sign. John Dragun’s studio down in Windfall, down Tooly Pond Road cranked-us out a BEAUTY!!! WE LOVE IT!!! CHECK OUT OUR NEW WINTER HOURS!!!!! Pretty much the same, although we’re not open on Wednesdays and close up at 6 on the weekends instead of 8pm. Stuck at home? Bored? Looking for something to do? If you have not done so, you should poke around our website. www.ottosabode.org We've got all our previous art shows/music events from the past FIVE YEARS archived. You can experience ART that has already happened!!!! A great way to see what The Abode strives to provide! If you ARE around in-person and happen to pop-in to check-out what’s going on… cool! There’s LOTS to look at; art, maps, historical displays, and MORE! Perhaps you’ll go home with something you did not realize you needed. Perhaps you’d find a perfect gift for someone. Perhaps you’ll go home with ingredients for a DELICIOUS dinner – or desert! Or snack! Or coffee! Your purchases down here at Otto’s Abode help keep us open and going all year long. Take some time out of your day, to go out of the way. Support local year-round businesses! Why wouldn’t you want to purchase healthy, organic ingredients for delicious *whatever* and at the same time support a local, year-round business that showcases EVER-ROTATING art/history/interest exhibitions, creations by local artists and musicians , trail goods and local information, books, maps, groceries, DANG FINE COFFEE and LOTS MORE! Come see why we call ourselves an ART-CENTRIC ADIRODNACK TRAVEL AGENCY AND INCONVENICNE STORE! Curbside pickup available. Whatever you want – let’s do it.

ON VIEW AT OTTO’S ABODE: Northern Vermont in Late November, Oil Paintings by Judy James, Keene Valley, NY… Friends and Neighbors, Wanakena was once again adorned by a hiker- and happily, she paused here. In November we were visited by through-hiker Judy James. Who stumbled in here to Otto’s Abode for plenty of snacks, talk about Indians, the Path, and such. Soon she was back, crossing our suspension bridge with some paintings… The focus is scenes of Northern Vermont in late November. Judy feels that Wanakena people appreciate these late November colors: dusky reds; purples; spotted with melting snow over shades of brown leaves; low light on blue hills; plus, late-in-the-year river and lake scenes. Embraced within the dense air, feeling part of the environment- even the air has a texture to it. It is like through-hiking, all-around, being enveloped by nature. You are already in it. Look out from there. The “Hogback Road” painting may seem like a painting of “nothing” -- the barn is pushed over to the side and the viewer simply looks out with some periphery. It is a painting of being in the environment, late November. The outlook is from there. Enjoy this time of year. On view at Otto’s Abode 11/25/20 – 01/31/21

AS OF 11/25/20 THE NEW WANAKENA CAR BRIDGE IS OPEN FOR PUBLIC USE!!!! AS OF 12/22/20 THE TEMPORARY BRIDGE IS FULLY DISMANTLED!!! And as they’ve been saying around Wanakena: WE’LL BE DRIVING OVER THAT NEW BRIDGE IN NO TIME!!!!! And ALAS! WE DO! Now that the bridge is WIDE OPEN, watch out for speedsters!!!

WANAKENA’S BLACKWATERS CAFÉ AND TRADING POST IS OPEN AND HAS ANNOUNCED: Due to C19 and warm winter trends, we will have 2 separate schedules. #1 IF THE SNOWMOBILE TRAILS ARE DECENTLY RIDABLE: we will be open regular days and hours (T, W, Th 8am-3pm. Fri & Sat 8am-7pm. Closed Sunday & Monday). #2 IF THE TRAILS ARE NOT DECENTLY RIDABLE, we will only be open Th 8am-3pm. Fri & Sat 8am-7pm. ***Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we encourage take-out - and WILL NOT let in more than we are allowed. If the door is locked, we are at capacity. But if you’d still like a meal to go, order online and it will be prepared in the order received - or - think ahead and schedule a pickup time. Come in smaller groups. CHECK OUT THEIR TRAIL CAM-----à https://www.gotsnowcams.com/gotsnowcams.htm Also, always beautiful photography at the Wanakena Tracks facebook page.

RANGER SCHOOL!!! As of 10/25 the Ranger School Class of 2021 completed their in-person learning for the fall semester. We’ll wait and see and update about campus reopening to the public while students are gone. STILL NO WORD!!!! Previously: RANGER SCHOOL IS IN SESSION FOR THE 2020/21 SCHOOLYEAR, BUT THE CAMPUS IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC!!! That means no hunting. Here’s a message from the Ranger School: The Ranger School's James F. Dubuar Memorial Forest will be closed to the public for an indefinite amount of time beginning Saturday, August 15, 2020. The Cranberry Lake 50 trail, which passes in front of the school, will remain open. This action is necessary to protect students and staff as they begin a new academic year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but it is a critical precaution as we work to ensure the health and success of the Class of 2021. Thank you for your cooperation. Here’s a story about it all: https://www.nny360.com/news/stlawrencecounty/property-sales/article_eeec3094-901a-531a-8a18-ab1b991b3a79.html CHECK OUT THEIR TRAIL CAM-----à https://www.esf.edu/rangerschool/webcam.htm. 

WANAKENA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION – The Wanakena Walking Tour is “closed” for the winter… but deep in the bowels somewhere, some folks are hard at work actualizing the WANAKENA HISTORY CENTER. Here is a message from their website: Five equal partners (made up of groups of families and friends) are forming an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) each pledging $25,000 for a total of $125,000 to own, renovate and restore one of the original Rich Lumber Company houses at 21 Second Street to its original facade. Their dream and intent are to provide a location for a Wanakena History Center where the WHA can continue its mission to encourage greater knowledge of the history and to display and make available for study: artifacts, relics, books, manuscripts, papers, photographs, and other records and materials relating to the history of the State of New York and particularly of Wanakena and the surrounding area.

WANAKENA CHURCH CLOSED FOR WINTER! WESTERN ADIRONDACK PRESBATYRIAN CHUCH zoom-zooms every Sunday at 10:45 using meeting #6663654813 and every morning at 9am for a Morning Prayer. WANAKENA CEMETERY ASSOCIATION announced that Cremation Remains burial has gone up from $150 to $250. Also, there is no longer a backhoe charge for cremation burial because they don’t use a backhoe for cremation burials any longer.

DOCK AND PUBLIC RESTROOM CLOSED FOR THE SEASON MID NOVEMBER… REASON: FREEZIN’!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, that’s right folks you heard it here! The dock at Wanakena’s public beach has been unhooked from is summer resting place. Where many a family and friend basked in the sun, picnicked and swam. This summer was particularly interesting considering the fact that the local Wanakena population was downright floored at the sheer number of out-of-towners day-tripping at the Wanakena Beach. The public restroom saw RECORD NUMBER OF DEPOSITS this summer as well. Folks were out and about during the pandemic and Bo’s State Park was packed to the gills all the season though! Many a joyous experience this past warm-weather season via the Wanakena Public Dock and Wanakena Public Restroom. Cheers to many more years!!!!

From the other end of CRANBERRY LAKE: The CRANBERRY LAKE FIRE DEPARTMENT has announced the FIRST STRIKE FISHING DERBY has been cancelled this upcoming winter due to COVID. The Cranberry Lake Fishing Derby is cancelled and the CLFD will NOT be checking and facebook-reporting the ice thickness as in years prior: FISH AT YOUR OWN RISK! Stone Manor Diner and Motel is OPEN! The Clifton Community Library will return to curbside service on WEDNESDAY'S ONLY, did they get a new director? Tooley Pond Duck Decoy Showroom in Cranberry Lake is OPEN (call first)!!!!!!! John Dragun NEON ARTWORK and MORE down in Windfall! Check out the Cranberry Lake Boat Club and The North Shore Hub on Facebook.  LAKESIDE GENERAL STORE IN CRANBERRY LAKE IS CLOSED FOR THE LONG WINTER SEASON.

OUT WEST: CLIFTON-FINE ARENA CLOSED FOR 2021 SEASON. NO ICE SKATING!!!! Bargain Hunter says The Town of Fine Offices are CLOSED to the public ‘cause of COVID-19. Coffee Fever IS CLOSED and announced: Covid numbers are up, and because of that, the numbers at the Coffee shop are down. It is so sad for me to say, but it makes the most sense for us to close down for a while. We will shut our doors on Friday, Dec 18, at the end of our day, 3:00pm. But this is not forever. We look forward to seeing each and every one of you again soon. Stay safe out there., Todd Hardware, Adirondack Pharmacy and Circle K in Star Lake are open! Community Bank in Star Lake re-covid-closed-up the lobby for in-person banking; ATM or night depots ONLY! Mountain Gate Redemption near Benson Mines is open FOR PORCH SERVICE ONLY. Hillside Diner IS CLOSED FOR WINTER – back in the spring. UB’s, and Adirondack Rustics in Oswegatchie are open! Both Twin Lakes and SOS in Star Lake got a fresh paint job but remain temporarily closed since March 2020. Word on the street is Twin Lakes is re-opening SOON! The following is copy-pasted from the Fine Town Board Meeting hours from Wednesday 11/11/2020: Jeremy wanted the board to be aware that the Dollar General is looking into putting a store at the former Great American site. This would not be required to go to site plan review since it is not a change of use. 

NEWTON FALLS NEWS – A couple weeks ago News Channel 7 out of Watertown ran a story about Clifton-Fine’s Newton Falls and some plans in the works! Here it is in a nutshell: More than 100 acres of what once was the Newton Falls Paper Mill will become something new. The mill was a major employer for Newton Falls, Star Lake, and other communities before it shut down in 2010. Andy Leroux, who used to work there as a papermaker and later was a vice president with Newton Falls Fine Paper, bought land behind the mill buildings that was used for wastewater treatment. Leroux cleaned up the property with help from a $22,300 grant from National Grid’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program. The cleanup, which cost a total of $89,500, was completed this fall. Leroux plans on building a Christmas tree farm, a maple syrup retail outlet, a fishing and hunting lodge and a campground. “The additional funding allowed me to complete the demolition and remediation in a shorter amount of time and plant my first Christmas tree seedlings for next spring,” said Leroux in a prepared statement. https://www.wwnytv.com/2020/12/10/land-behind-newton-falls-mill-cleaned-up-tree-farm-campground-planned/ 

Kim’s Lost Dog Report: As of today, there are NO lost dogs in Wanakena. Some Cranberry Lakers comments on some GIANT dog-like tracks in the snow down by their boat house.... perhaps a MONSTER WOLF?!?!

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! Wanakena Weekly archive here: http://www.ottosabode.org/p/wanakena-weekly.html Also, we probably wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to publish your submission! 



THE LONG CANADIAN WINTER “… puts a stop to all out-door employment. This period, when amusement is the only thing thought of, is called in the colonies “blowin-time.” All the country is covered with snow, and the inhabitants have nothing to do but sleigh about, play ball on the ice, drive the young ladies to quilting frolics and snow picnics, drink brandy-and-water, and play at whist for six-penny points.” -Isabella Lucy Bird (1856) 

ONLY **2*** WANAKENA WEEKLYS LEFT UNTIL WW #52 (that would be a whole year’s worth of WANAKENA WEEKLY).