One Caretaker's story of living (mostly) in solitude on a private Island on Lake George in Upstate New York, as told through daily photographs and musings/ramblings (well, daily in the winter; every four days or so in the Summer and mostly just photos in the Summer).
A Very Brief Glossary: GHETTO--Name for the cabin that the Caretaker lives in, a single story structure, about 220 square feet/20.44 square meters.
Living Conditions: End of October to early May, no running water, Island population: 1. Early May to end of October, running water, Island population: ranges from 1 to 20 or so.
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The Caretaker's Concern can be blamed on Wreck-Loose Island Publishing. Send all complaints to: WLIPublishing P.O. Box 1521 Bolton Landing, N.Y. 12814
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The Caretaker's Concern 1/24/08 Ghetto temp. 49 F. and rising Island temp. 20 F. Yesterday's L/H: 18/25 F. Lake condition: iced over. Clear star filled sky, light to no wind.
The Caretaker's trip to the mainland today was mostly successful. He did not accomplish everything he would have wanted to but he did get to do what was most important: drop off prints to be sold, or probably just looked at but it's worth a shot. Last night the Lake iced over, not enough to walk on but nor was it thick enough to keep the Caretaker from making his way over to the mainland in a canoe. "Ice canoeing" is rather slow going so the Caretaker decided it would be best to trim his errands to only the most important. He did not want to have to try ice canoeing back to the Island in the dark, which would have been nearly impossible. The Caretaker decided to pass on getting more fuel, he should have enough to make it through ice-in, which he can officially say started last night. given tonight's expected temperature and for the next few days the ice will continue to build. Unfortunately the ice formed while it was snowing so there is a thin layer of snow frozen into the ice. Chances are that this will prevent proper black ice from forming, however there is still hope that once this ice is up it will still be good for ice skating. The forecasted weather through the weekend looks good for ice, however next week it is expected to warm above freezing, not by much but it could make for a long ice-in.
The going over was pretty quick, the ice was about a quarter inch thick at the most and there wasn't any wind. Coming back wasn't so easy. The ice got thicker during the day, but the Caretaker was able to ice canoe back most of the way along the route he took in the morning which had iced over but wasn't as thick or was slush. He did lose the "path" for a little while, which made for harder paddling but not too bad. Oddly enough, where he lost his path was right around the spot where the Caretaker went for a swim in February two winter's ago. It was when he was coming back from the mainland in the middle of ice-in, and it was his first attempt at ice canoeing. Needless to say, after having to swim/break through the ice to dry land he learned his lesson well. The Caretaker is by no means an expert at ice canoeing, for the most part he prefers not to do it. The one bit of advice the Caretaker can pass on about ice canoeing, other than that he does not recommend it, is to bring two paddles. Losing a paddle in the summer is not such a problem, you can always paddle with your hands or jump out and swim, in the winter, that is not such a viable option. Also, before getting into the boat always put one paddle in and then bring the other one with you when you get in, that way if you forget to bring the second when you get in, which the Caretaker did today, you can use the other paddle to get you back to where you left the second. Also, ski poles are helpful too. These come in handy when you need to push yourself on the ice while in the canoe. If you want to learn the finer points of ice canoeing the Caretaker would direct you towards the two experts he knows, D & P, they have been ice canoeing for some 20 years or so.
Returning to the Island the ice was thicker and there was a bit of a wind, thankfully the wind was coming from the Narrows so most of it was blocked by the Island. However, the Caretaker's gloves had been left in the car and so they got cold, warming up cold gloves while on your hands, while holding an ice cold canoe paddle does not exactly result in warmth for the fingers. But it certainly beats the alternative: to be marooned on the mainland. This trip to the mainland was the first time the Caretaker had seen people for a week, now with ice-in it will probably be another week before he sees anyone again. Hopefully the ice will come swift and thick, not that he wants to see people rather so he can start ice skating. Ice skating out on the Lake, in the open air, with the surrounding beautiful scenery is one of the many great pleasures this Lake has to offer. Once you do it, you'll never want to skate in an indoor rink again. Much like swimming in the Lake, once you do it you'll never want to bother with swimming in a pool. Now a mixing of the two, swimming in the Lake in the winter, not so much fun.