Five years ago I was working in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York State with the Department of Environmental Conservation as what was called a “back country steward”. Essentially this meant that I spent my workweek in the forested mountains surrounding Lake George in the eastern Adirondacks. Some parts of the Lake George Wild Forest have numerous visitors, especially on weekends, having fairly simple but worthwhile hikes and easily reachable car camping sites, the most obvious of these being Dacy Clearing Road area. Other parts of the Wild Forest are rarely visited, even by other DEC staff.
The 4th of July Weekend took me to one of the off the beaten track portions of the Wild Forest. In fact, from when I reached the trail head to when I returned to the house a group of us had rented I saw a single person over the four nights I was out there, and I only saw him as he canoed on a pond I was camping beside, we never spoke at all.
That weekend I came quite close to getting seriously hurt. Now obviously if you’re camping alone in the forest there are some risks, but I also had a variety of tools for maintaining trails as well as some for measuring campsite impacts, and these tools included a pair of “loppers” basically very large pruning shears that are intended to punch through tree limbs that need removing.
Somehow, and I’ve wondered about it for years now, the blade broke off and flew within an inch or two of my left ear. I could have been cut, or had it strike my eye, and then would have been SOL. Assuming I could get radio contact where I was it would have been quite a slog for EMS to reach me. From the trail head the trail stopped being a lumber road after perhaps 500 to 1000 yards at the edge of the first of several beaver ponds and dams. The day before I had broken the loppers I’d hiked in carrying my gear. And like any reasonable person when the opportunity came to avoid having to wade through the pond by walking across the top of the dam I took advantage of it. Such an opportunity wouldn’t really be there for an EMS crew, it being far too narrow to get a medical ATV across. After that it would have been just a simple task of going up the trail and eventually finding me. But still, not the best situation.
Aerial of Long Pond Aerial Of Long Pond in Horicon
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