The Caretaker's Concern can be blamed on Wreck-Loose Island Publishing.
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WLIPublishing P.O. Box 1521 Bolton Landing, N.Y. 12814

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Caretaker's Concern for 8/15/2010

TCC for 8/15/10:

Some photos from last night at dusk, and one from the archive:


Yesterday, mid afternoon, the Caretaker was debating whether he should do some work on the Island or have a cup of tea and start reading the book that S. had given him earlier in the day, a cup of tea and a read won out. While in the kitchen at the beginning of his tea preparation, it was a cup of Puh-erh (pronounced "poo-air", it's an aged tea), one of the dogs on the Island began to bark incessantly, the Caretaker paid no mind to this because this particular dog has a tendency to bark at nothing on a regular basis. Turns out the dog had a reason to bark. After the tea was steeped the Caretaker took it, his book, and himself outside to the South patio to read and sip tea, afterwards his plan was to begin the work that he had decided to put off. However, coming around the corner of the house he noticed people on the South dock, they arrived by canoe and were strangers to the Island so the Caretaker brought himself down to the South dock to see what was going on, they had a map out, it was looking like they were in need of some sort of help.

There was four of them, in their mid-twenties or so, came from the Boston area, never been to Lake George before, never really paddled canoes before, done plenty of kayaking, only just learned the "J" stroke, didn't know to feather a paddle when going against the wind, their entire trip to their destination was into the wind, it was a pretty good wind thus a lot of wave action in addition to the numerous boat wakes. A few gallons of water had already splashed into their canoes. All but one did NOT pack their gear in plastic bags before putting it in their backpacks, their gear was already wet. They said they left Green Island 45 minutes or so prior to reaching the Island the Caretaker lives on, they were going to Long Island to camp for the night. The Caretaker pointed out where Long Island was, far South from the Island, then showed them where they were on the map and where Long Island was, based on how long it took them to get just to the Island the Caretaker estimated it would have take them another 5 hours to reach Long Island, if they were lucky they would get there just before nightfall. That is if they didn't continue to take on water or capsize, or both. The Caretaker quickly realized that these were total novices.

He provided them with two options, continue on as they were and try to slog it out to their destination, the Caretaker had little faith in them being able to do that. The other option was that they paddle back to Green Island, throw their rented canoes on top of their cars, drive down to Million Dollar Beach in Lake George Village, put in there and then paddle with the wind to their destination. The Caretaker let them talk amongst themselves for a short while then started asking more questions about their canoeing skills, his final deduction was that they really shouldn't be on the Lake by themselves given their paltry skill set. By this time the Caretaker had finished his cup of tea which meant he had no excuse to put off work by reading and drinking tea.

So, the Caretaker said, "there is a third option, I bring the motorboat around to the South dock here, we load your two canoes, your gear, and yourselves into the boat and I run you down to Long Island that way you get to where you're going well before nightfall, set up camp, and then get out on the water and practice your canoe skills for your return paddle tomorrow which will hopefully be with the wind."
The Caretaker then stepped back a few paces and let them discuss it amongst themselves for a short while.

"So, what are you guys thinking of doing?"

"We're thinking, if it isn't putting you out, that we'd appreciate a ride down in the motor boat."

"Good thinking. I need you guys to pull the rest of your gear out of your canoes and put the gear and your canoes on the dock, I will be around with the motorboat shortly."

After loading everything on the boat the Caretaker drove them to Long Island. Just before going around the North end of Long Island the Caretaker stopped the boat, and had the group turn around, "see that large white building? That's the Sagamore Hotel, it's on Green Island, that is where you will be paddling to tomorrow when you want to return." The Caretaker figured it was worth while to confirm that they knew where to return to. He then brought them the rest of the way to the Ranger station on Long Island so they could check into their camp site. While unloading their gear the Caretaker asked them if they knew what site they were in, they didn't, they left their paperwork back at their car. The Caretaker suggested that one of them go to the Ranger Station and confirm their camping site. After all the gear was unloaded the Caretaker waited until he knew that they had a place to camp for the night. Upon confirmation that they had a campsite and that they knew where it was the Caretaker gave them his cell number incase they ran into trouble again and then headed back up the Lake to the Island.

Frankly, the Caretaker thinks it was rather irresponsible for the outfitter to rent these guys canoes and send them out on the Lake. Having grown up learning to paddle a canoe on Lake George the Caretaker is well aware of how difficult it can be to paddle a canoe on this Lake even when well skilled at canoeing. The Caretaker at one point in his life worked as a canoe guide up in the Saranac Lake region of the Adirondack State Park, you don't spend a few moments showing someone the "J" stroke and then send them on their way. Not to mention, by his assessment of the canoes these guys were rented they were river boats, not lake boats, river boats by design are harder to keep on a straight course.

The Caretaker should probably put together a short treatise on how to paddle a canoe. One of the most disheartening things the Caretaker would encounter while working as an outdoor guide were the times when he would get clients who thought they were taught how to paddle a canoe only to find that the moment they get out onto open water they actually knew little to nothing, it was always sort of sad to see how frustrated and exasperated these people would become at the very beginning of their canoe trek. Luckily for them they hired the Caretaker, by the end of their trip they would be rather proficient at paddling a canoe, not experts but well on their way knowing enough to have genuine confidence in their abilities.

There are no short cuts in life.

(Note: Some of the specifics on the Caretaker's work as an outdoor guide have been left out in order to protect the organization he was involved with, it was this same organization that was responsible for the "clients" total lack of knowledge and skill regarding canoeing.)

Before there was the blog the Caretaker sent out posts via e-mail, the following is from the Caretaker's second winter on the Island:

Island Ice Report for 4/15/2007:

Here some photos that are a variation on some earlier themes, enjoy.

Sorry the Caretaker has not been keeping up on the writing end of things but he has been busy working on a number of projects, one of which is his Peace Cannon--when it's done it will blow you away with beautiful works of art.

Don Ho died.
The Caretaker will have something to say about this tomorrow.

--The Caretaker

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