Summit of Ampersand Mountain

Summit of Ampersand Mountain

Friday, October 31, 2014

Life In the Adirondacks: Ed Kanze extended Interview / New Episode of "Curiously Adirondack"

We have seen naturalist Ed Kanze wandering around White Pine Camp, but we haven't participated in one of his nature walks, yet. We plan to do that next time!

Here is an extended interview of Ed Kanze on Mountain Lake PBS (Website / Youtube Channel)

Ed Kanze's book mentioned in the interview, "Adirondack Life and Wildlife in the Wild Wild East" is available 

Other books written by Ed Kanze are described on his website. It is also possible to order books, also autographed copies, directly from the Author by filling in your information and the name of the book you want here. (Those joining us at White Pine Camp can save shipping by asking him to bring a copy with him when he gives his Tuesday nature walk at camp.)

Last but not least, the most recent episode of "Curiously Adirondack" is online now, called:

Intervale Lowlands: Biologist Larry Master Re-Wilds 135 Acres Near Lake Placid
Here is the video of this episode:

Here is the playlist of the entire series "Curiously Adirondack," starting with the most recent episode (currently the same as the above).

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Loons, Lakes and Erratics in the Laurentians

This week's post is the nexus of two of my loves but is only indirectly related to either of them. One of these is the Adirondacks and the other is Rush.

North of Quebec City you will find the Laurentian Mountains, which share types of rocks and geologic history with the Adirondacks. The Adirondacks are often mistakenly associated with the Appalachian Mountains as they appear to form the central northern continuation of these. But geologically speaking, the Adirondacks are actually the southernmost extension of the Laurentians. Both share a history that goes back anywhere between 500 million and a billion years.

Google Maps Screenshot of the Laurentians
I just found a really good blog post about the geologic makeup of the Adirondacks at "Written In Stone … Seen through my lens." There you can find a much more detailed and scientific examination of the region's geology. I "borrowed" the next image from that blog. In it you will see the green highlighted area which encompasses both the Adirondacks and the Laurentians.

Image from written in stone seen through my lens

My attention was drawn to the Laurentians this past week by Neil Peart, the lyricist and drummer of my longstanding favorite band Rush, thus my second indirect reference. Peart has maintained a vacation home in the Laurentians for many years and wrote about it in his most recent blog entry, titled "Science Island." Before I even got into the text of his story, I was immediately struck by the pictures he posted which for me have a lot of connective tissue with the Adirondacks. A typical characteristic for me is this juxtaposition of trees and rocks. Getting into his story, I sense this vibe of rejuvenation, recreation and harmony with nature which also mentally places me in a familiar scene in the Adirondacks.

I think that Peart is much more eloquent in describing "his" Laurentians than I am at describing "my" Adirondacks, so I would like to share two excerpts from his post that could have been just as fittingly written in and about the Adirondacks, even describing the sights and sounds on Osgood Pond, home to White Pine Camp.

Google Maps Screenshot of Osgood Pond

Two things in particular that Peart mentions are "erratics," and loons. Here are excerpts from his blog about each.

About the "erratic block:"
Near the wooded, boulder-studded shores of those four islands, a few tiny islets of rock stand above the water here and there. One of them has a steep cliff into deep water that was always fun for a gang of us to jump off of. Twenty-four years ago just one solitary fir tree grew on its crown, so it became known as l’Île de Noël. (Christmas tree, see.) One neighboring couple told me that in the early years, before there were many houses, an unnamed couple once made the beast with two backs there. So they called it l’Île d’Amour. A large granite stone, an “erratic block” (meaning dropped by a retreating glacier), on top of it suggested the shape of an eagle’s head to this bird-brain, so our family called it Eagle Rock. With a young boy’s natural reductiveness, Brutus’s son Sam called it Rock-on-Top-of-Rock.

Eagle Rock, photo from
 About the beloved loons:
One of the oft-celebrated delights of northern lakes is the calls of loons. In our area, each lake has a resident pair that returns year after year. Their vocal tremolos are familiar in movie and TV soundtracks, and even in pop music. (…) Their various songs are eerie, unearthly, and endlessly haunting, especially on moonlit nights, when they can fish and move around the lake, calling to each other. Olivia and I had been seeing “our” pair of loons often, with their new baby chick. That is always an exciting event on the lake, because loon nests often fail due to a rising or falling waterline, or predators. 
Most birds have hollow bones, but those of loons, one of the most ancient of species, are solid and heavy. That weight is helpful for diving deep in search of fishy food, but not for getting airborne—loons require a long laborious taxi across the water. Their feet are far back on their bodies, likewise good for swimming underwater (they also use their wings), but they cannot walk. The nest has to be right at the water’s edge, where they can push themselves onto it. If the water falls, they won’t be able to get to the nest; if it rises, the eggs float away.
"Riding Loonie-Back", photo from
Peart's discussion about loons and geology goes into further detail and is a great read, I highly recommend his entire blog post.

He also discusses different forms of recreation at his vacation spot, including rowing - another excellent outdoor activity which can be enjoyed at White Pine Camp.

"The Professor" himself (Neil Peart), photo from
I don't want to get too off topic, but there are a few details you should know to make some sense of some of the references in Peart's blog post. Peart tragically lost his first daughter, Selena, in a car crash. Then his wife became ill and died of cancer. The band of course was on indefinite hiatus after these twin tragedies. Peart has since remarried, has returned to these same woods and shares them with his wife, Carrie and their daughter Olivia. These details are loosely referenced in his blog post.

As is characteristic of his vacation posts, he does not focus much on the "Guys at Work," but the topic does come up as he visits Le Studio, the now defunct recording studio where Rush recorded several of their albums, including their biggest selling album "Moving Pictures" (1981).

I leave you with a song, "Between the Sun and Moon," with Lyrics written by Peart. I am sure that his retreat in the Laurentians inspired this song.  A few more points of significance: the video below was taken from the band's first concert after returning from their hiatus, in Hartford Connecticut on June 28, 2002. The song itself however was written before Peart lost is first wife and daughter. The concert was held one day after the passing of The Who's bassist John Entwistle. The performance of the song is the the first time they ever played it live and is dedicated to him.

Between The Sun and Moon (1993)

There is a lake between sun and moon
Not too many know about
In the silence between whisper and shout
The space between wonder and doubt

This is a fine place
Shining face to face
Those bonfire lights in the mirror of sky
The space between wonder and why

Ahh, yes to yes to ahh, ahh to yes
Why the sun?
Why the sun?

There is a fine line between love and illusion
A fine place to penetrate
The gap between actor and act
The lens between wishes and fact

This is a fine place
To hesitate
Those bonfire lights in the lake of sky
The time between wonder and why

Ahh, yes to yes to ahh, ahh to yes
Why the sun?
Why the sun?

Some need to pray to the sun at high noon
Need to howl at the midwinter moon
Reborn and baptized in a moment of grace
We just need a break
From the headlong race

This is a fine place
Shining face to face
Those bonfire lights in the mirrored sky
The space between wonder and why

Ahh, yes to yes to ahh, ahh to yes
Why the sun?
Why the sun?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Essex on Lake Champlain

When I posted about 10 things to do in the Adirondacks that don't involve (climbing) mountains, a friend at White Pine Camp informed me that I had made a glaring omission in neglecting Essex on Lake Champlain. He also mentioned that it might be possible to organize a private tour of the historical Greystone house.

Greystone House, photo credit virtualDavis

Essex is located on the shoreline of Lake Champlain, making it a nice place to visit if you plan to travel to or from White Pine Camp via the East. Essex is connected to Charlotte Vermont via the Lake Champlain Ferry, another scenic highlight.

Ferry Crossings by Lake Champlain Ferries

The Burlington (Vermont) Free Press has this to say about Essex, "you will find historic architecture, antiques, ice cream, art and jewelry." My friend at White Pine Camp tells me that it is an extremely well preserved town with no new structures built since around the 1890's.

For those interested in taking a closer look at the town, here is a locally produced google map with walking tour highlights:

You can find more information at the website Here are a few excerpts from the website of particular interest for visitors:
- about Essex, NY
- about Essex Architecture / Page 2
- about the Greystone

For those interested in more information about Essex on Lake Champlain, our friend at White Pine Camp recommends this book:

Available at and at

Curiously Adirondack Series - What Does The Moose Say?

And yet another new addition to the Curiously Adirondack podcast series. Ed Kanze and Josh Clement have posted a new episode of "Curiously Adirondack."  There are now five episodes online:

What Does The Moose Say?
Adirondack Exercise Club
Dirt, Food, and Friends: Fledging Crow Farm Celebrates The Harvest
Asleep Beneath The Sod: Saranac Lake's Historic Pine Ridge Cemetery
Slimed! Adirondack Kids Love Amphibians!

Ed Kanze, photo credit

Those joining us at White Pine Camp will have the opportunity to go on a nature walk with Ed.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Microbreweries in the Adirondacks

This week's entry is dedicated to a beer loving friend and contributor to the Beer rating blog "" As of this writing, has rated 781 beers, 497 of which in Germany and all of 10 beers in the USA. While I can endorse their strong rating of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, I need to point out that Shimandl and Co. have completely neglected the subject area of this blog.

Let's take a look at the Schimandl world brewery map as it now stands for the region in question:

Screen Shot from
My research shows the potential to significantly develop the coverage density in this area:

Screen Shot of Adirondack Microbreweries google map by the Author.

The source material for the breweries I have listed below comes from the website ""as well as a google map search of microbreweries in the Adriondacks region. I don't have any direct experience with any of the listings, which are listed according to their distance from White Pine Camp.

I plotted the results of my search on google maps:

View Adirondacks Microbreweries in a larger map

Here is a summary of the listings, with a brief description, address, contact data and website link:

Blue Line Brewery

Distance from White Pine Camp: 15 mi / 26 min

Blue Line Brewery LLC
555 Lake Flower Avenue
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

(518) 354-8114

"Blue Line Brewery was formed in the summer of 2012 with the intention of brewing Great beer in Saranac Lake, NY. The tasting room is now open for complimentary tastings and growlers to go. Come by for a visit and tasting!"

Photo Source:

Distance from White Pine Camp: 24 mi / 40 min

813 Mirror Lake Drive
Lake Placid, NY 12946
(518) 523-3813

Quote from their website:

"It began, like many microbreweries, with a homebrew kit and a love of beer. Not just a love of drinking beer but a real respect for the craft, the history, the art, and the industry, as well as a passion for the brewing process itself. Today, the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery has been brewing award-winning ales and lagers for more than 17 years and has expanded rapidly due to its popularity and quality, earning the respect of the brewing community and national media attention. Over the years we have brewed almost 80 different styles of beer and we brew almost 350,000 pints of beer annually, placing us in the top 7% of brewpubs nationwide."

Photo Source:

Big Tupper Brewing

Distance from White Pine Camp: 30 mi / 42 min

Brewing Beer and Coffee!

79 Demars Boulevard
Tupper Lake, NY 12986
(518) 359-9440
Photo Source:

Raquette River Brewing

Distance from White Pine Camp: 32 mi / 45 min

11 Balsam Street #2,
Tupper Lake, NY 12986

(518) 420-8461

"Raquette River Brewing offers a variety of beers brewed in the heart of the Adirondack Lakes Region in the village of Tupper Lake. From Pale Ales to Blonde Ales and an IPA, you can visit the brewery and sample and buy available freshly brewed craft beers."

Photo Source:

Distance from White Pine Camp: 57 mi / 1:17

697 Bear Swamp Road
Peru, NY 12972
(518) 643-2020

Photo Source:

St. Lawrence Brewing Company

Distance from White Pine Camp: 63 mi / 1:21

"Open since August of 2013, St. Lawrence Brewing Company offers a 3,000 square foot facility for both production and distribution of their craft beers. Sample and buy the selection, including Skinny Dipper (IPA), Ruby Canoe (Bock), and Barnstormer Bohemian Pilsner and of course seasonal brews throughout the year."

19 Commerce Lane
Canton, NY 13617
(315) 714-3200

Photo Source: St. Lawrence Brewing Company Facebook Page

Distance from White Pine Camp: 64 mi / 1:30

765 Mace Chasm Road
Open weekly: Thurs/Fri from 4-8 and Sat/Sun from 12-8

Unfiltered beers from unfiltered brewers.

"We brew a variety of craft beers and sodas in small batches with an emphasis on local ingredients and local economy."

I am guessing that this is the smallest microbrewery site that I have been able to locate doing a google search. I encourage you to take a look at their blog on tumblr.

Photo Source:

Paradox Brewery

Distance from White Pine Camp: 75 mi / 1:39

154 Route 9,
Schroon Lake, NY 12870

(518) 351-5036

The Paradox Brewery is a small scale microbrewery located within the Adirondack Park in Schroon Lake, New York. The brewery occupies a 1400 square foot log sided building.

Photo Source:

Adirondack Pub & Brewery

Distance from White Pine Camp: 103 mi / 2:01

12 Beers on tap, including our award winning "Bear Naked Ale". Our hand-crafted brews are brewed on site in a copper-clad brewery... you won't be disappointed! Brewery tours Saturday, 4pm.

33 Canada Street
Lake George, NY 12845
(518) 668-0002

Photo Source:

Distance from White Pine Camp: 112 mi / 2:11

"A couple of guys who’d never worked in a restaurant, never brewed beer, and never owned a business started a brewpub."

184 Glen Street
Glens Falls, NY 12801
(518) 743-9026
Photo Source:

Cooper's Cave Ale Company

Distance from White Pine Camp: 113 mi / 2:13

Brew Pub, lunch, dinner, outdoor seating. Ales, gourmet sodas & ice cream made on premises. Ice cream window. Gift shop.

2 Sagamore St
Glens Falls, NY 12801

Photo Source:

Mean Max Brew Works

Distance from White Pine Camp: 114 mi / 2:11

Nano brewery and tasting room. Ales and lagers, 8 brews on tap. New York State wine tastings.

193 Glen St,
Glens Falls, NY 12801

Photo Source:

Barkeater Craft Brewery

Distance from White Pine Camp: 120 mi / 2:23

5411 Shady Avenue
Lowville, NY

(315) 376-2337

In the heart of the Tug Hill Region of the Adirondacks, this nano brewery uses a four barrel or smaller brewing system, typically brewing only one batch at a time. Stop by and enjoy seasonal craft beer freshly brewed on site and chat with owner and head brewer, Dean Richards. All of legal age are welcomed to enjoy the Adirondac-themed taproom and share stories of the past and dreams of what the future may hold.

Also served are samples of Tug Hill Vineyards wine.

Photo Source: BarkEater Craft Brewery LLC Facebook Page

The Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce has an extensive listing of breweries, vineyards, wineries, ale houses and distilleries here. Their entry also includes a map in PDF format which can be downloaded here.

Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce Craft Beverage Trail and Map

Here is the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce map showing the locations of the
Adirondack Craft Beverage Members

Saturday, October 11, 2014

White Pine Camp on Google Maps

View White Pine Camp in a larger map