Camping Trials and Tribulations

 

Bears (and other critters)

In 2015, one night a very large toad tried to jump in our tent.  We were going in for the night and the flashlight shined on this big toad.  It just stood there motionless for a while and then started jumping forward.  It was right at the edge of the tent door which was open and jumped part way, but not high enough to get in.  Tom had to nudge it on the rear to jump elsewhere.  Imagine if it got into the ten and some box and we came home to the kitties with a live (or dead and smelly) toad!!   We  saw the great blue heron almost every day, including a number of times in full flight.  There were two herons on the lake last year as we also saw one on the little island by our site when we were coming back from fishing.   A couple of nights we heard owls calling back and forth to each other, but never saw them.  This was another year for turkeys.  We saw many of them  along the roads.  For second year in a row,  we also saw flocks of geese flying and swimming in the lake. We saw two loons on the lake a number of times, a couple of time very close up and flapping their wings.  A number of times one of the loons was very close to our campsite, but each time it dove in the water when I got it focused on my camera. We saw deer in the road a couple of times (unusual up there).   We had only one chipmunk this year, but it did not try to eat anything.  One day though at dinner, I heard some rustling that sounded like scratching on fabric, and low an behold, there was the chipmunk climbing up the front of the dining tent.  Once it got up there, we could see it running around the roof of the tent and then trying to figure how to get down, It kept running back and forth across the front--would be a huge jump to the ground for the tiny animal.  so in the end, it slid down the way it climbed up.    The chipmunk also jumped into the car to munch on food in there, e.g., a bag of walnuts. So we had to pound on the coolers before locking up the car at night to make sure he got out.   Of course, there were many Mallard ducks in our campsite. We bring bird seed for the ducks.  At first, we were taken aback because there were no ducks the first few days.  But they evidently they spread the word that the Faglons were back and more came each day.  By the end of the 2nd week 61 ducks (I counted), were coming for meals twice or more a day. The ducks started quacking at the tent door at 6AM every day for their breakfast.  They also seemed to stay around our site during the day and when we were bringing the boat into camp, they started flying in.  In the group on the lake there were a couple really loud quackers!!  (By the way, did you now that only female ducks quack! OK, fellas, you can leave that tidbit of knowledge without comment).  We did not see the handicapped duck this year (one foot missing), so it must not have survived the winter.

 In 2014, we did have a bear in our campsite the first night.  In the middle of the night, some noise outside the tent woke me up--then about 2 minutes later, I heard a big crash.  I ran to the tent door with a big flash light and saw the (rather large) bear running off.  He was after some spices in one of the compartments of my brand new, super-duper Cabella's camp kitchen.  When he tried to open the compartment, he pulled it over onto the ground.  Luckily it was not broken and the two lanterns hanging from it did not break when they hit the ground. So could just pull it back up.  He did not come back again.  We saw a lot of animals: the great blue heron, turkeys, flocks of geese flying and swimming in the lake, loons on the lake, deer in the road unusual up there), red squirrels in the campsite, and, of course, lots of ducks. One duck was handicapped--had one foot cut off, and sort of hobbled along.  We had seen that one for the last 4 years--amazing it was still alive.  There was also a Momma duck with 2 tiny little fuzzy "Peeps". A couple of nights we heard owls calling back and forth to each other, but never saw them.  One thing that was unique, a small bat flew right by Tom's head one evening when we were cooking, and we saw (for the first time) a big beaver flapping its tail and swimming near us when we were at the other end of the lake fishing.  We also had our usual chipmunk that chewed a hole in the birdseed bag to get it and gorge, and went on the table and tried to eat the streusel of the top of my fruit crisp and bit holes in any fruit on the table.  The chipmunk also jumped into the car to munch on food in there, e.g., a bag of walnuts. So we had to pound on the coolers before locking up the car at night to make sure he got out.

 In 2013, we saw the usual animals and birds, the heron, eagles, loads of ducks (60+ one day for breakfast), etc.  However, this year we saw a cormorant many times fishing on the lake and sunning on the island across the lake--once flapping its big wings. We had never seen one before.   I got close to take a picture--but brown bird against a backdrop of brown rock--didn't come out really well.  A couple of nights we heard owls calling back and forth to each other, and they sounded like they were right next to us.  We looked for them, but never saw them.  This was a year for wood ducks--unusual in this lake.  We saw a whole flock of them swimming in the lake a couple of times.  For the first time in 30 years, we also saw flocks of geese flying and swimming in the lake.  Relative to bears, they did have some in the campground this year.  One evening about 11PM, we were sipping some great wine by the fire, when the ranger came into camp and told us a rather large bear was a couple of campsites down and heading our way & that it had been around that area for the last 5 nights.  She wanted to make sure we did not have any food out.  We all kept looking for it in the forest, but it gave us all the slip and we never saw it.  But I heard it padding around the tent for a couple of nights after that.   Because it was warm, there were LOTs of biting flies  and lots of bees—I used lots of bug repellent, but still got eaten alive.  We saw deer in the road a couple of times (unusual up there)--one ran right in front of the car.  Luckily I was going slowly and saw the 2nd one waiting at the other side of the road--so I stopped and let them go across.  We did see turkeys a couple of times--one flew right across the front of the car while we were driving. 

Since it was the end of the 2012 season and pretty quiet there, we saw more animals than usual. In addition, they had a very mild winter resulting in an explosion of certain species, e.g., chipmunks, wild turkeys, etc.. There was a great blue heron that we saw a number of times—many times in full flight. This was a year for wild turkeys.  We saw wild turkeys almost every day, including one time a flock of about 50 in someone’s front yard. We saw a bald eagle fishing on the lake. We heard loons a couple of times, but never saw them. We saw deer in the road a couple of times (unusual up there). We saw a large group of wood ducks on the lake (usually there are only Mallard ducks—wood ducks were extinct in the Adirondacks until the last couple of years). Of course, there were many ducks in our campsite. We bring bird seed for the ducks.   At first we were taken aback because there were only 4 ducks the first couple of days.  But they evidently spread the word that the Faglons were back and more came each day.  By the end of the 3 weeks 57 were coming for meals twice or more a day.  The chipmunks also like the birdseed and were vying with the ducks for their share.  One day I left the bag on one of the camp tables and the chipmunk just chewed his way into the bag and was gorging.  When I put the bag away, he kept hunting for it, jumping all over the place and giving me dirty looks that I hid it from him.  One day, I was sitting in the chair reading, and felt something first climbing my leg and then later climbing my rear and, low and behold it as the chipmunk wanting the birdseed again!  Because it was warm, there were LOTS of biting flies this year and lots of bees—I used lots of bug repellant and did get stung once.

 In 2011, we saw the great blue heron a number of times--many times very close standing on a rock or on the island in Lewey Lake.  We saw him both standing and in full flight.  We saw wild turkeys four times along the road, including once with 6 tiny baby clicks.  We saw two bald eagles flying after each other on the lake.  There were groups of loons on our lake.  One day, one of the loons was right by our campsite fishing at the edge of the water. We saw them many times up close, including one time flexing his winds and splashing win the water.  Loons are really large!  We saw deer in the road a couple of times (unusual up there).  We saw a large group of wood ducks on the lake (usually there are only Mallard ducks—wood ducks were extinct in the Adirondacks until the last couple of years). 

 In 2010, it was also quiet in the campground, we saw the loons, 2 great blue herons (a couple times in flight), an eagle on the island in the lake, otters in the lake, lots of ducks (both mallard and wood ducks), chipmunks.  One day when we were at the other end of the lake fishing, there was an eagle flying over us  and monarch butterflies kept landing on Tom's arm.  We had a real "quacker" on the lake this year.  One night it was quacking until midnight, violating the 10PM quiet rule.  Then it started quacking again at 6AM in the morning.   One day we had a "bird seed war"--35 ducks, 3 chipmunks,  and 2 little wrens fighting over the bird seed, quacking galore, chipmunk jumped up and bit a bird on the beak and then a couple of ducks, mucho ducks fighting, feathers flying all over!!

One afternoon, I took out peaches from the ice chest to warm up.  I covered the bowl tightly with foil so the chipmunks wouldn't get them.  However, a little later, I heard some "crinkling" noise and looked over to see "Theodore", the fat chipmunk, very carefully opening the foil.  When he got an opening, he crawled under the foil cover and bit hole in two of the top peaches.

A camper at a site by the bathroom had a huge Rottweiler dog in their site NOT on a leash.  As Diane came out of the bathroom, the dog started barking and ran across the road and kept circling me and barking very menacingly.  The owner ran over and tried to grab it and said I was making it nervous because I was standing still.  The owner could not grab it until it jumped up on me, to my shoulders and barking in my face.  He finally pulled it off me.  then Tom told me the dog tried to jump on him too.  They left that same day or I would have reported them to the head ranger.

We had a bear in the campsite at night and heard him rustling by the tent flap.  In the morning we saw tracks around the tent and paw prints on the car window--looking for food.

In 2009, it was pretty quiet at Lewey Lake and we saw more  animals than normal: a great blue heron three times right by our campsite; a bald eagle flying in front of our car; wild turkeys on the road; groups of loons on a couple of lakes; wood ducks on the lake; , etc.  Of course we also had our share of ducks coming for breakfast at 6AM--32 this last year.  We had three chipmunks; we named them Simon, Alvin and Theodore after the movie.  The one with a big butt (Theodore) came right up on the table  and stole food and ran off.  One day I had a plum tart cooling.  Theodore climbed up on the table, took a big plum out of the tart and ran off.  In addition, a small finch got trapped in our screen tent overnight and kept flying against the zipped up screen and panicking.  He finally was able to fly out when I unzipped the tent in the morning.

One night in 2008, we thought we heard something walking around the tent.  It took a big bite out of Tom's beach shoes hanging on the clothes line right outside the tent.  Tom had to tape them together with duct tape!  We heard later there was a big bear in the campgrounds that night.  We also found a bear track right outside the back of the tent. 

This is an area of the Adirondacks chock full of bears. The year that the garbage dump closed in Indian Lake (town about 20 miles away), the camp was full of bears at night. A rather large bear broke into our new locked car, ate a bunch of stuff, and spit out everything it didn't like. It came back for the next three nights and padded around our tent all night.

Wild ponies wander freely all over Assateague Island. One Evening while taking a walk around the dunes, Diane heard a thundering noise. All of a sudden a whole heard of wild ponies came stampeding over the dunes right at me. I had to jump out of the way quickly to avoid being trampled. A couple of the ponies left Tom and I a present right at the end of our camp. Luckily we always carry a fold-up shovel.

There are always lots and lots of ducks in the campsite and around the lake.  Last year, every morning we woke up to loads of very loud quacking at 6:00-6:30AM, only to look out of the tent door and find a whole single file row of ducks from the tent door all the way down to the lake---One morning I counted 48 ducks!.  How would you like camping with "Your ducks all in a row"??? 

The ducks must have been extra hungry last year,  because they kept trying to eat our fishing bobbers and our worms.  One afternoon, while fishing, the same duck grabbed our bobbers over and over, and just kept running off with them.  We would pull on the fishing line each time and find that the duck ate all our worms too.  The ducks and chipmunks also ate all the bird seed we put out for the birds....... every time all the birdseed was eaten and there was none left when the birds did come.   Sometimes the ducks fight over the seed---feathers flying everywhere!   Sometimes they just waddle into the screen tent and look at you until you give them some more!  In addition, one morning a chipmunk kept jumping and scratching all over Diane...on my head...on my lap...on my shoulder.   Can you imagine, snoozing on a chair by the lake only to be startled awake with a wild chipmunk on your head trying to pull out your hair!!!

We now take our cats with us camping.  The two oldest will just be 2 this month.  They are indoor kittens and had never seen any wild animals up close. They had their own tent with a fully enclosed screen room where  they could see everything that was going on.  They were mesmerized with the ducks and the chipmunks and birds.  The animals quickly learned that the kitties could not get out and get them so they came up very close to the tent  The cats spent hours in "crouch" position watching everything.  We could also let them walk around the campsite on leashes.  Of course, that worked fine if you went where the kittens want to go!  Imagine trying to hold on to 8 kitties on leashes when they all wanted to go in different directions--sometimes you just had to sort of drag them along.  But when the animals were around, you definitely got your exercise because the kitties would all want to chase the birds and ducks all over the campsite--with the animals quacking and chirping--the kitties on the leashes--and Diane and Tom trying to hold on while running to keep up.   In addition, with a tent of their own, they were alone at night (another new experience for them).  Every morning starting at daybreak (about 6AM) they started to bounce against the sides of their tent, scratching and yowling to get out into the screen room.  The longer I waited to get up, the louder the yowling!! 

We did nearly have one disaster, Marmalade learned how to open the zipper if it was not closed up toward the top of the tent.  One morning while I was giving them their breakfast, I had only closed the tent door half way and Marmalade unzipped it far enough to jump out and escape into the woods!!!.  Suddenly I realized she was gone and was in a panic.  I looked all over and finally saw a "splash" of orange color in the woods--There she was wandering almost to the next site, sniffing the forest floor and following some ducks in "hunt and crouch mode".  Luckily I ran and grabbed her and then learned I could never leave the zipper anywhere close to where she could get at it!!! 

In 2006, Diane discovered a HUGE, fuzzy spider (as big as your thumb!) in the car that must have been on a piece of firewood.  It looked like a Tarantula!!!  When trying to grab it with the long barbeque tongs, it scampered off and couldn't be found.  Every time, we went into the car, I kept thinking it was crawling on my head.  Unfortunately, it was hiding in one of the boxes, and we did not find it until we got home.  It jumped out of the box, and the kitties found it.  They tracked all over the living room until we could grab it with the tongs and throw it over the balcony!

 In 2007, a squirrel chewed a hole in a garbage bag and ran around the table and then off into the woods with a piece of pizza.  In addition, a mouse took up residence  the car to get out of the cold and was jumping around.  It hid most of the time and I could not find it.  I knew it was still there because every morning there were little chew holes in pieces of fruit and bread.  Luckily, it got out of the car before we went home.     

Equipment & Automobile Challenges

In 2015 we had some equipment challenges due to the fact we had to break camp the previous year in torrential rain and some camping equipment was impacted  because it was quite a while before we could unload the boat to dry out some stuff.  The ceiling of the dining tent got some mildew and I sprayed it with mildew remover before it was set up.  That, however, must have dissolved the water protection, so it leaked in the rain.  We then sprayed it with water sealer, but it needs more next year.  Also the zippers in the tent door got corroded.  I could not zip them. Thank God for WD40.  I soaked them in WD40, and in a few minutes I could pull them closed with a pliers.  Then I soaked them more in the stuff and they worked OK.  That would have been a disaster as you could no sleep in the tent with the door open all night.

 

In 2014, we almost left without the hardware box--what a mess that would have been.

 

 In 2013, we almost left without the box of cooking pots and implements--that would have been a disaster.

 

 In 2011, We had to get the zipper fixed over the winter on our screen house.  The woman would not work on it dirty—so we had to take it to the laundry to clean.  The canvas top just rotted in some places and it was really leaking the first night in the thunderstorm.  So luckily, we had a tarp and covered it –worked well for the rest of the trip.

In 2010, after the boat hitting Tom's head incident, we were trying to set up the new sleeping tent.  I bought a new ground cover that was very slippery.  First Tom fell over trying to walk across it, and then I fell on it.  So now Tom was sore on both ends!  Then, the zipper on one side of the dining tent broke and would not zip closed.   The case of our battery operated milk frother broke and we has to mend it with duct tape to be able to use it for the rest of the trip.

One night, Diane tried to turn over at night and fell off the 3 foot high air mattress.  Since we are all zipped up in a 2 person sleeping bag, I was smashed against the closed zipper couldn't get out.  In addition, I was now pulling Tom off the mattress too.  It was like a car going into the water where there is so much pressure you can't open the doors.  Well I was trapped and could not open the zipper to get out.  Tom had to move over to the edge slowly and lower me to the ground and release the pressure so I could undo the zipper enough to crawl out and then we had to arrange everything on the mattress again and both get back into the sleeping bag.  Luckily that happened on one of the warm nights. 

 In 2009, we bought a new “Instant-up” canopy this year to get a larger covered cooking area.  These things are supposed to go up literally in seconds.  We monkeyed with that thing for over 45 minutes and could not figure out what we were doing wrong.  The instructions on these things are never clear and always written by someone who already knows how to do it.  So I went to the ranger station and asked for help, assuming they knew what to do—you see lots of these things in the campground.  They also know us there (since this was our 27th year) and are always very helpful.  In a few minutes, two trucks with 4 guys came, and there I am, reading the instructions to them while they are trying to figure it out.  Finally after another 30 minutes, & a lot of laughs at the goofy instructions, and the involvement of 6 people, we got the “Instant-Up” canopy finished.  But something was not right, because the top cloth was not tight enough & rain was puddling rather running it off.  One night when it rained, I got out of the tent in the morning and found one whole corner of the canopy buckled under the weight of a water puddle and caved in on the ground!  We were able to pull it up (luckily), get all the water out, and get it tied to a couple of trees.  Unfortunately, it was 42F/6C that morning and when I pushed out the water puddle it fell all on me and I was soaked to the skin and shivering in the cold!  We also used duct tape to pull the top cloth tight so as not to have a repeat of the problem.  Of course the frame was all bent now and we ended up dumping it when we broke camp to come home.

 

We switched the position of the sleeping tent and the dining screen tent so that we could have the sleeping tent on flat ground and not keep sliding off the mattress, but this meant that the table was sloping down hill.  So we had to find two logs with a flat side about the same width to prop up the table.  Otherwise, it felt like you were eating on the Titanic with everything sliding to one side!

In 2008, when setting up, Diane  left the car doors open too long and the inside lights were on--dead battery.  Luckily we had cables and the camper next door pleasantly obliged with his truck to give us a jump

We purchased a "pop-up" canopy called Instant Shade to put over our cooking area, grills and stove and so that we could still cook if it rained.  This is a cloth top that goes over a folding metal frame.  The box and directions said that this could be erected in "minutes"---HA!!  Unfortunately, the directions were incorrect and told us to put the top over the frame and then pull each leg up to the correct height.  We pulled and pulled on the legs for at least an hour and could not get them to move.  We then found out that if we followed the directions, the cloth canopy made the frame so tight it could not be erected!!!  Just lifting the corner off the frame let us erect each leg in an instant!!  In addition, one of the locking bolts on one leg fell into the hollow leg and could not be removed--so we had to secure that leg in place with a thin tent stake.  People who write these directions should be forced to work them!!! 

In 2006, we kept having to spray the legs of the "pop-up" with WD40 to get them to open up because they got rusted inside from the from the rain the previous year.  When that didn't work, we had to turn it upside down and bang the legs out with a hammer!

 In 2006, we also had to break camp in the middle of a "monsoon" and take multiple tents home soaking wet.  We had to unpack everything when we got home to dry out multiple tents over the boat in the apartment garage.

Since had intermittent trouble with our Coleman stove the year before, I purchased a replacement fuel pump and valve just in case we, again, had problems.  Of course, the first time we tried it, the stove was dead.  Since we had the replacement parts, we were confident that this was not a set back.  Unfortunately, the parts were poorly manufactured and would not screw into the stove--so we had to spend a day driving almost 200 miles round trip to buy the only Coleman stove left in Hamilton County!!!

Our Coleman stove sprung a leak and a stream of fire burned down part of our screen tent. Tom pushed it into the middle of the campsite where it promptly exploded.

 In 2008, the new Coleman stove got a leak for some reason and was spraying fuel into the stove.  When we lit it after that, it started on fire with big flames.  I had to gently carry it out of the cooking area (burning) and put it on the ground to burn out.  After that it was fine--a bit charred, but worked OK. 

We have had at least seven air mattresses in 17 years. They are always springing leaks, and you find yourself on solid hard ground. The first one we borrowed from my boss and broke it--imagine trying to explain that.  Well, after 18 years, last year we decided that it was much easier to get into an air mattress on the ground than to get out of it and stand up again without really wrenching every muscle in your back and walking around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for two weeks. 
So last  year we took a bed frame and an Aerobed to get that thing off the ground!!  Unfortunately the bed frame had posts that gouged into your back even more.  Also the rechargeable air pump that blows up the Aerobed lost its charge somehow on the way to camping.  I had to recharge in the bathroom down the camp road--luckily it was still there when I went back for it 6 hours later!  In addition, we found out that the tent is now too small with the new bed frame--Have to get a much bigger tent for 2003.   Well, remember the bed frame that gouged your back in 2002---well in 2003 we thought that we could put mats over it to cushion the gouging.  We bought at least four different types of sleeping bag mats in different sizes and even a rubber floor mat.   We put them on the mattress frame in different directions to get the best coverage--but alas that didn't work.  So we threw the bed frame in the campground dumpster, and ended up with the mattress back on the ground!!!  In addition, we did get a bigger tent--a three room tent.  But unfortunately, Diane read the directions incorrectly and it kept falling down--took three hours to raise the tent correctly so it would stay up!!! 

As a result of the disastrous experiences with camp bed frames, we decided to get a battery- operated air mattress that was 24 inches high.  It seemed to be the answer to our prayers for being able to sleep in the wilderness.  Lo and behold, the first night on this huge very high mattress---it leaked so much air that Tom and Diane just rolled into the middle and were crushed and suffocated by the big bulging sides and eventually were on the ground again in the middle of this big mattress.  Being more than frustrated considering this was the first night on the mattress, Diane almost threw it out, but decided to do one last inspection.  Here there was a special mattress chamber valve that had to be reopened after inflating.  Once we found out the trick, the mattress was wonderfully firm for the rest of the two weeks.

One year, in a pouring deluge, our car motor wouldn't stop racing requiring Diane to walk over a mile to the one pay phone at the ranger station to call a mechanic. It took two trips and more walks in the deluge (covered up only with a garbage bag with holes for sleeves), and disconnection of the gas pedal, to find out that a piece of insulation had fall down and was locking the gas pedal at about 50 miles an hour. The mechanic cut it off with one of our steak knives.

In that same deluge, Diane's discovered her umbrella was a trick one. When you opened it up, the umbrella shot off and she was left holding the stick. We went to the local store for a replacement, and found two more trick ones that did exactly the same thing. We guessed we found out where we bought the first one.

One night the zipper broke on the tent door making it impossible to close it. Of course, it poured that night getting everything wet. We had to try to use safety pins the next night.

Tom always puts the little box that the fishing bait (worms) comes in into the cooler so the worms won't die in the heat.  One night, he forgot to completely close the top and the worms escaped their box in the night.  Luckily, they only escaped into the shelf which only had closed jars and could be washed out the next day. 

If you have ever had a screen house in the rain, you know that it does not keep out the wet because the rain just flows down the screen walls and get most everything inside wet.   Well last year, we got a new screen tent with storm flaps to avoid this problem.   The only chink in the armor was that we tried to assemble it for the first time, we had terrible problems, only to find out that the manufacturer had included  assembly instructions for a  different model !!!

Boating And Boat-Related Incidents

In 2015, Tom mentioned as we were coming out of the garage that it was the easiest time we ever had in hooking up the boat and trailer.  Just then I heard some loud scraping.  We stopped the car in the apartment lot and, low and behold, the trainer fell off the hitch and was dragging on the ground.   Luckily the chains to the car frame held and Tom had to get out the car jack and jack everything up and reattach the trailer to the hitch.  It appeared that we did not have the hitch latch fully engaged when we left the garage.  Easiest time hooking up the boat---Murphy at it again!!  Luckily it happened before we got on the road and hot on the freeway at 70 miles an hour!!  

 In 2014 there was the usual  drama in getting the boat started the first few times.  The first time, it was quite windy and it kept pushing up back to shore on the rocks until we got it started and I almost lost an oar under the boat.

 In 2013, we had a potential disaster with the boat.  The year before, we got a new winch for holding the boat to the boat trailer--so it never occurred to us there would be problems.  As we were driving up, I noticed the boat trailer seemed to be sort of bouncing in the front, which I thought was very strange.  Well, when we uncovered the boat, we found that the winch lock did not hold and the front of the boat was loose.  So it was not the trailer bouncing--but the front of the boat bouncing at 80 MPH down the NY Thruway--thank God it was well roped and bungied or the whole boat could have come flying off on the road!  The boat started relatively easily every day, except for one day, the pumping bulb in the line from the gas tank to the motor broke.  However, we were able to get it fixed at the marina about 10 miles away. 

 

Tom got me an electric trawling motor for the boat as a back-up and for moving around in shallow water.  The first time we tried to use it, the motor went on, but the propeller would not spin.  We found out that the “shear pin” for the propeller was missing.  Of course, no one up there had a replacement one.  So we drove to Glens Falls (about 60 miles) to a Walmart to get another one.  It worked fine except the clamp screws were too short and wouldn’t screw tightly onto the boat.  So Tom had to find a piece of wood the right thickness to “duct tape” on the inside of the boat for a base.  He will have to permanently attach something before next year.

 

We were our own worst enemies with starting the boat.  When we first got it into the water, the motor would not turn over.  It sounded like it was not getting any gas.  So we hauled it out of the water and to the Marina on Indian Lake only to find out that Tom had not attached the gas line correctly to the boat.  We had to haul it back and launch it again.  Then one day we were at the other end of the lake and the motor wouldn’t start—nothing—no sound or anything.  We thought maybe something had happened to the battery in the hurricane.  Luckily we had the new electric motor that very slowly got us back.  Then about ¾ of the way back to the campsite, I realized that I had not put the starter in neutral and that was why the motor would not start.  Luckily we had not been rowing!!   I guess you just can’t let either of us out without supervision!

 

Our boat sunk twice in 2011 when the lake rose about 4 feet overnight--first due to Hurricane Irene and secondly another weather front a few days later.  Luckily neither time did the motor go under water.  So with a lot of back-braking bailing, we got the boat working again.

 

On the last day when we took the boat out of the water, we could not get the trailer coupler latch that goes around the trailer hitch to loosen to attach it correctly to the boat.  It evidently had rusted in all that rain.  Luckily we had some WD40 and a pair of pliers in the car and after monkeying a bit, it came loose and we could get the boat out of the water.  We will need to replace that part of the trailer for next year.

In 2010, when trying to get the fully loaded boat trainer unhooked from the car at the site, the jack slipped and the trailer and boat fell side ways hitting Tom in the head.  He was bleeding profusely and I had to hunt all over the car for paper towels to stop the blood.  The campground workers and the man in the next site came over with a different kind of jack and got the trailer off the car and parked in the site to unload.  Tom stopped bleeding luckily and when we cleaned his head found only a small cut under his hair.  He was very lucky!  Unfortunately because the  cut was under his hair, the band aid would not stick and we had to put on neosporin and stuff paper towels in his cap. 

 Since we had the boat serviced very well in the fall of 2009, we were not prepared for any problem.  The first time we tried to  get it started, it would not start--No power going to the motor.  Tom took the battery cover off and found the service people did not  connect all the leads to the battery for the electric ignition.  After Tom fixed that, the ignition was OK, but it needed a lot of priming to get it started. Then later in the week, it would not start, and one of the camp workers thought it was the starter.  So we had to pull the boat back out of the water and take it to the marina.  We had to come back the next day with the boat a second time since their mechanic was not in that day.  Then  they found that the service people had not tightened a bolt on the starter very well and it had gotten very loose and fallen off.  So they found the bolt, tightened it,  we drove the boat back to camp, put it back into the water, and were fine the rest of the time.

 In 2009, we had a number of boat challenges. First of all we blew a tire on the boat trailer while driving on the NY Thruway.  Luckily we were going relatively slowly after a traffic jam broke up and the car in the right lane saw the blow out and let us get over to the shoulder without incident.  When road side assistance came and changed the tire, it turned out that spare was also flat.  Luckily we had 2 spares, and the man could change the tire a second time.  We also learned we had to upgrade our AAA to cover trailers.

When we tried to launch the boat, we had a dead battery and could not get it started .  tom took the battery to Indian Lake t get it charged, but the man there did not give it a good test.  After bringing it back 20 miles and hooking it up again, we found the battery would not hold the charge.  We had to go to another town 30 miles away to buy a new battery.

Once we got the battery resolved, we still could not get the motor started--it would turn over and not idle.  there we were, in the wind and the rain, for 45 minutes, soaked trying to get the motor started.  We found out later that the problem was old gas--left from the previous year.  Finally, we got that resolved, and on the 4th day, after much monkeying, the boat motor gave out a big belch of smoke and got started.  It worked for about 1 1/2 weeks.  Then on Thursday of the last week, the motor died out in the middle of the lake.  We were the only ones on the lake at that time and tried to row the boat back to camp. We were rowing and rowing for a long time and making very minuscule forward movement, when we saw another boat coming out.  With a lot of frantic waving on Diane's part, they realized we were in trouble, came over and towed us back.   We never did get the boat motor started again and took it out of the water earlier.  This time water had gotten into the fuel system and it needed a new fuel pump.  We got a really good service on the boat last fall, so all should be OK for 2010.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina also hit the Adirondacks three days after New Orleans.  Although we were lucky that there was no wind--there was 36 hours of torrential downpours.  The water just flowed down the mountains and into the valleys and overnight the lake rose by about 4 feet!!!  We lost our little sandy beach.  The boat almost floated off during one part of this, and luckily I caught it, tied it with the anchor rope and anchored it to a tree.  Unfortunately, when it was all over, the water had gotten higher than the back of the boat, poured into it and sunk the back of the boat.  Here we are with the back of the boat under water and the front sticking up into the air.  It took a number of hours to bail the boat out and get the whole thing on top of the lake.

The day before Katrina hit the mountains, it was rather windy in the afternoon.  We were out on the boat fishing.  Even with 2 anchors, the boat kept whipping around in circles.  Unbeknownst to us, the rope from one of the anchors got twisted around the motor.  The only way we could finally get it off, was Diane had to stand up and pry it of with a heavy wooden oar.  This took about 30 minutes--sore arms!!!!

One year when we still had the canoe with and electric motor, the charge indicator on the battery got stuck making it look like there was lots of life left in the battery. Of course, it died about five miles from camp and we practically broke our arms trying to paddle back against the wind.

A part on our boat trailer fell off making it impossible for us to figure out how to get the support up off the road. We had to leave the boat at home and rent a boat at camp.

Our boat has to be in neutral to start the motor.  One time Tom was having a lot of difficulty getting the motor to catch.  It's like pulling on a lawn mower.   All at once it just started at top speed and we almost ran into the weeds and the rocks---here it was not in neutral, but at the highest speed.  It was only Diane's keen reactions and quick turns of the wheel that saved us from disaster!!

Last year we had so much stuff loaded in the car that it was just barely off the ground.  As a result we could not get the support wheel on the boat trailer cranked down enough to swing it up for driving.  So as not to leave the boat home again, at 3:00AM, Diane remembered we had a fold-up shovel.  We had to find it in the over-loaded car and dig a hole underneath the support wheel to be able to get it off the ground.  Luckily we were in the unpaved visitor's parking lot. 

On the way home, both boat trailer tires blew out in the middle of no-where about 1 mile outside of camp.  We had to unhook the trailer and go into Indian Lake Hamlet 16 miles away for help.   It was Saturday afternoon and no one was open.  Diane begged as person at the only car dealership in the hamlet to help us.  They were just locking up. 

A couple of years ago, our 50 year old outboard boat motor died in the middle of the lake after making some very nasty death rattles and groans.  In addition, the skies looked like a thunderstorm was threatening  to start at any moment.  Luckily we rowed back to the campsite just before the deluge started! 

Twice last year, we had pretty heavy rain in the night.  In both cases, the lake water got pretty high overnight and somehow the rope holding the boat to the tree got loose and the boat floated into the lake.  Luckily there are some pretty big rocks close to the campsite so that we could walk out and drag the boat back in.  Can you imagine, if it had floated out in the middle, with the lake 50 feet deep at some points!!!  

In 2002, on the afternoon before we left, we discovered that somehow we had lost the plug for the boat.  This boat is over 50 years old and nothing on it is standard--so we found out.  Tom took it to our marine service dealer only to find out that no one there had ever seen a boat drain like this, nothing fit.  We finally rigged an expansion plug with enough duct tape so that it finally plugged the drain hole upon expansion--took quite a bit of monkeying before it actually worked.  We have always said: "Duct Tape Rules"!     We thought after we came home we would have the drain replaced with something "standard", to avoid this problem again.  It took a significant deal of hunting to find someone who would work on an aluminum boat this old---the place we found was about 45 miles away, and the man said it would be about $200.00.  So we had to empty the boat, hitch it up to the van and drag it to the boat serviceman. .  The only problem was that after about a month and a half, we called the boat service to find out when it would be done--only to hear that they had gone out of business, had never even started the work, and we had to go back the 45 miles, hook the boat back to the van (it had been sitting in a huge mud puddle all this time) and drag it back to the apartment.  Diane thought that since the old boat plug was threaded, maybe a plumbing supply house could make a new plug--so we found a place about 10 miles away.  We again hitched up the boat and towed it (in heavy traffic) to the plumbing place--only to have the man come out, stick his finger into the drain hole and then come up with the correct size plug to fit it perfectly--got 3 plugs--all for about $3.50!!!!"

 In 2007, when trying to start the boat for the first time, the motor flooded.  By his time we had drifted quite a ways out into the lake.  So we had to row back to shore so Diane could find the instructions on how to deal with a flooded motor!

In 2007, we came back to camp after antiquing and realized the boat was tied up in a different spot than it had been when we left.  We then found out that while we were gone a big gust of wind came up and grabbed to boat and it drifted out into the lake.  The campers in the next site came over and said when they saw the boat out into the lake, their boys swam out and pulled it back into shore. We were very lucky they saw it.

Personal

In both 2012 and again in 2013, I kept leaving my camp mirror in the shower building and/or breaking it.  Tom ended up buying every camp mirror in the lake store.  The owner of the store asked him if we was starting a collection!   In addition, I got new water shoes for in the shower and the boat--however, there was stitching on both that rubbed off the skin on both feet and I had to throw them out.  In the meantime, I had to wear a pair of Tom's size 14 mesh water shoes for the boat.  I looked like the clown in the circus.

In 2009, I bought a new sun block—one for babies so it would be gentle.  But I still got an allergic reaction and my face puffed up like Porky Pig!  At the same time something bit me on the cheek and swelled up so I looked like Porky Pig with a toothache!  Then I couldn’t use sun block, and put on a lot of make-up with sun block in it so my face wouldn’t burn, but I never thought about my ears.  So my ears got sun burned and now, I had a puffy face with a swollen cheek and red ears!!  Then a bee bit me on the neck on the boat (really hurt a lot & my neck swelled up)—Porky Pig with a toothache, red ears and a big swollen neck –glamour personified!!!

In 2008, when we unhooked the (fully loaded) boat on the first day, it rolled and hit Tom in the chest.  He ended up with a cracked cartilage that holds the ribs to the breast bone.  Had to drive close to 70 miles round trip for the doctor and prescriptions.  Of course, I also got an infected finger--more doctors and prescriptions.

In 2006, Diane got a tiny splinter in her thumb from a piece of firewood.  Even after getting the splinter out, her thumb got infected and swelled up.  She had to get antibiotics and a tetanus shot at the Indian Lake health center 20 miles away.

Last year, a big bug decided to take a dip into Tom's morning juice.  Unfortunately, Tom did not realize this until he felt it wiggling around in his mouth!!

One year I brought lemon scented soap. The black flies tried to devour me. They thought I smelled like a fruit salad.

There is a shower building at camp that always has mosquitoes in abundance. Can you guess where you get bitten that you can't scratch in public?

Tom is allergic to most bug bites. He gets goose egg sized sores about 1/2 hour after the bite that last for 4 or 5 days. After two weeks he often looks like he has some kind of social disease. We use a lot of Benydryl camping.

Tom had shorts with Velcro enclosures on the back pockets.  A number of times, he got himself "velcro'ed" to the screen tent and had to be pulled off. 

Weather

 In 2013,we had the coldest nights we have ever had.  Imagine sleeping in a nylon tent with a night temperature of 29 degrees F!

In 2011, our biggest challenges had to do with the weather.  Of the 21 days, it was sunny or just overcast for 10.  The rest of the time it was RAIN, RAIN, RAIN .  It rained the night before we set up and while we were waiting for the previous campers to vacate our site, but luckily stopped as were started to set up. Just as we finished setting up a horrendous thunderstorm with gusty winds came up as we went to dinner.  No fire that night!  Of course, last year Hurricane Irene came through.  We were evacuated out of the campgrounds at noon on the day before it hit.  We battened down everything as much as we could and went to a motel in Indian Lake (20 miles away).  Tremendous rain and 60 mile wind gusts of the lake.  The camp opened up on Monday morning.  We were the first ones back.  Huge trees were blown down all over the park and all around our campsite, but luckily not in ours.  Our 1 year old Cabella’s tent was structurally sound and completely dry on the inside—only a couple of stakes blew out.  Everything in the screen house was dry.  Even though we lowered it to the ground, the wind had completely mangled the “instant up” canopy we cook under, but even the stuff under there in the middle was dry.  We had to go to town to buy a new canopy, but we were going to throw the old one out at the end of the season anyway as normal wind bent the frame already in a number of places.  The lake had risen about 2-2 ½ feet and our little sandy beach was gone.  Our boat was sunk, but the water did not go over the top of the motor—so it was OK too—just needed an 1 ½ hours of bailing.  For most of that week, the campground was empty—maybe 5 or 6 sites full out of about 100--we were one of only 2 sites occupied on that part of the lake and no one was near us –very, very quiet.  We did have some beautiful days that week. Then when we thought we would be OK, another front came though the following weekend and rained for 3 nights and 2 days straight—more water than from the hurricane.  Again everything was dry—but our boat sunk again!!!!  We had to go to the laundry in town several times to wash and dry all the soggy towels.

While camping on the beach on Assateague Island, an unannounced storm hit with 75 mile an hour winds. Needless to say, we had to abandon the site, and the wind just broke the sleeping and screen tents. Unfortunately, the screen tent was the new one purchased to replace the one burned down by the stove explosion. The next day, everything was covered in a foot of sand. We had to dig out our stuff before we could pack up and go home.                                                                                                                                

Campsite after 8 hours of 75 mile an hour winds

Digging out the next day

                                                                                                                              
The summer in 2010 in the Northeast was very hot and very dry--that is until we went camping!  When we got there it was raining so hard for three days that we could not set up camp and had to stay 2 extra nights at the Adirondacks Trails Motel in Indian Lake.  Then finally the rain broke for 1 day and we decided to get there early since we had already checked with the campground 3 days earlier.  When we got there, we found squatters on the site and it took them 3 hours to leave after the ranger ordered them out!  So there went our early start.   We then had 8 beautiful sunny days in a row followed by a week and one half of very cold, foggy, rainy, windy, cloudy days with nights in the high 30s and day time temperature in the 50s!

In 2009, we camped for 3 weeks.  The weather the first week was miserable, cold, rainy and windy.  The lows were in the high 30sF at night--rather nippy in a nylon tent!  But the second and third weeks were glorious--warm and sunny--some of the best weather we ever had there

 In 2008, the weather was pretty crumby--it rained 8 out of the first 10 days.  For the first time, we had to set up in a thunderstorm.  That was not fun.  Fortunately, every so often there was a bit of a respite to pull more cardboard boxes of stuff out of the car.  All in all everything got up well.  The dining screen tent was a bit crooked, but the stakes kept popping out in the soaked ground.  We also had two torrential downpour rains at night with thunder and lightning.  One night it rained 2 inches over night.  Not fun in a tent, but our tarps held well and we stayed dry.  We watched the storm come in from our dining tent, while drinking Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux, seeing the lightning from cloud to cloud before it really hit hard ! 

The year we had rain 11 out of 13 days, we got caught in a torrential downpour and thunderstorm while on a hike about 2 miles from our car, and going up hill. The trail became a raging river, we got soaked so bad our clothes were falling down from the weight of the water, we took a wrong turn on the trail and had to walk an extra mile.

There is always a lot of wind coming into our campsite that blows over the poles holding up the tarps to keep rain off the tent. One time, in a thunderstorm, Diane was alone and had to hold down the poles to keep everything from blowing over. I got water in my watch and tried to dry it off on the lantern, but it melted instead.

We suffered through the "Storm of the Century" in our sleeping tent. It was a flash thunderstorm, with winds of 85 miles an hour, tornadoes, and tremendous rain. There was tremendous damage all over the Adirondacks. Our sleeping tent (replacement for the one demolished by the hurricane on the beach) survived. Our screen tent had to be replaced for now a third time in two years. Trees were blown down all around our camp. Indian Lake town was like a war zone. Eight campers were killed by trees falling on tents. We had to drive 40 miles to find electricity and breakfast. A morning we will not forget.

Last year we had a spot that was quite windy off the lake.  To keep everything from blowing over, (or so we thought), we tied all the tarps to the trees.  Unfortunately, however, one tree was a bit dinky and the rope pulled it right over in one big gust of wind.

In 2003, we had unusually great weather--it only rained one night in 14 days!  That night, however, it did thunder and the rain on the tent roof can get  loud.  The poor kittens were in the sleeping tent and absolutely terrified of the noise and kept running around in circles.   Finally after a number of hours of running, they got so tired that they climbed up onto the mattress, and crawled under all the pillows and into the sleeping bag and feel asleep!!

 

Cooking and Other Miscellaneous Adventures

In 2010, 6 people moved into the campsite across from us in the middle of the night--loud noises, hammers banging, doors slamming, a siren on the truck going off over and over.  This started about 1 AM until about 2:30 and then started up again at 6:30 in the morning.  Finally the ranger came over and told them to hold down the noise.  Luckily they were only there a couple of days.

Diane's purse was stolen out of the car in the middle of no where. The same night, Tom locked the keys in the car, and another bear (small one) visited our camp.

The year we brought a battery operated rotisserie for our charcoal grill.   (OK....OK not exactly roughing it...but we are gourmets after all!)  Anyway, we were going to grill a couple of marinated Cornish game hens.  So we put them on the rotisserie stick, but ran out of cooking string to ensure they were tight and would not just keep slipping.  Tom suggested we could try duct tape, but duct taping a Cornish hen just didn't seem too appealing.  So we ended up having to use some of the yellow nylon boat rope!!  Well, in the wilderness you just have to be creative. 

A few years ago, the town of Indian Lake kept having power outages.  Their electric system extends to the camp grounds.  Unfortunately when the power is out, so are the flush facilities and the showers.  That is just a minor inconvenience.  The big problem last year was being in the Laundromat in town, having just started washing the laundry, including the sleeping bags and pillows that had gotten really damp in the night.  Just as everything got all soapy, guess what........power outage in the whole town.  I waited for about 45 minutes and then had to load sopping wet,  super heavy clothes and camping gear into garbage bags and drive 30 miles to the next town with a Laundromat that worked!!  Do you have any idea how heavy sleeping bags and pillows are when they are completely soaked with soapy water?

We have been trying to have seafood appetizers every night for dinner.  When Tom went into the town, he looked to see if the local store has anything fresh.  One year, they had whole lobsters.  They were on ice in the store, with a single lobster in a mesh bag, and were not moving.  Tom naturally assumed they were fresh, but dead, and put it into one of the coolers on ice.  Imagine my surprise, when I opened the bag later and the lobster started jumping around on the table!  I had to use the long grill "tweezers" and grab it and put it on the grill quickly before it jumped on the ground!!

 

Updated July 16, 2016