As I work on this week's column, an ominous warning sounds from the radio: "A winter storm watch is in effect from Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon....the National Weather Service in Burlington has issued a winter storm watch for heavy snow across the Northern Adirondacks ....with the potential for 6 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow with temperatures near freezing through much of the event."
Earlier in the morning, I had been complaining to my wife about the plague of dandelions that had consumed our front lawn, and May hadn't even arrived yet.
I knew recent weather patterns had been just too good to be true. Usually, by this time of year, I'd be waiting for ice-out to get on the water and chomping the bit to wet a line. Instead, I've spent the past three weeks on the ponds, catching trout with reckless abandon.
The season's weather has been as fantastic as the angling and I've been forced to cover-up only with sunscreen, rather than the usual dose of bug dope.
Just yesterday, water temperatures on the streams finally topped the 50 degree mark, a barrier considered ideal for mayflies to hatch. However, it now appears hatching mayflies will have to compete with snowflakes for airspace.
Hopefully, the storm will pass without much disturbance. However, I'm willing to take whatever the weather has to offer, because I've been angling on borrowed time for the entire month of April.
The value of a flowing stream
In the course of my travels, I visit a lot of small towns and villages across the Adirondacks. I always enjoy meeting residents of the local communities and listening to their cares and concerns. Our local communities share similar problems ranging from aging populations to activities for area youth, as well as state mandates and a looming economic crisis.
I'll always maintain a certain affinity for the little village of Elizabethtown; it's where I grew up. Typical of other rural communities, the village has struggled in recent years with aging infrastructures ranging from bridges to waterworks and from energy efficient, office space to a new county jail.
Nestled comfortably in the mountain shadows of the Adirondack High Peaks, and within easy striking distance of the wonderful Lake Champlain, the tiny hamlet is graced with an abundance of natural attractions.
Possibly, the community's greatest asset is its most commonly overlooked resource. It is the most prominent natural feature and it fosters a connection between the High Peaks to the west, with the Big Lake to the east.
Scientists already predict, that in future years, it's a natural resource that will prove more valuable than oil. They're talking water, the type of fresh, clear, clean water that flows through almost every single, settlement in the park.
There is little doubt that eventually an alternative will be discovered to replace oil. But there is no replacement for fresh water. It is impossible to ascribe a dollar figure on the value of a single stream as no one can fix a price tag on the wonders of nature, the aesthetics of a caressing stream.
Elizabethtown has the Boquet River, which flows out of the soaring peaks of the Dix Range and meanders gently through the Pleasant Valley and the farmlands of Willsboro to Lake Champlain.
The Boquet is not the only river that runs through it, as there are also numerous creeks, streams, brooks, rivulets and cricks that regularly drain the nearby hills.
Over the years, running water provided power for the mills and innumerable pleasures for those that manned them. It has manifested its power in terrible floods and soothed many a worried soul, who sought solace from its gentle flow.
Fresh water is the lifeblood of our communities. It provides communities with inexpensive entertainment via fishing poles, swimming holes or a solitary paddle along a placid stillwater. It also drives the freshwater tourism that forms the basis of the Adirondack economy.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.