Despite a recent spell of sunny skies and warm weather, it's never safe to pronounce that winter has finally expired in the Adirondacks.
However, to date, average temperatures for the month of March have been about 10 degrees above normal, while rainfall has been far below average. I expect the normal weather will eventually catch up to us, but hopefully it won't arrive during the annual spring break.
Trees are beginning to sprout buds and flies are in the air. In my backyard, the pussywillows are out, which usually indicates that ice out can't be far behind.
It would be nice to access the ponds while a snowpack remains. I'd far prefer to skid my boat over the snow, than haul it several miles overland on my back.
All we need are just a few days of sunshine and 60 degree weather, combined with some heavy rains, and the trout season will be off to it's earliest start in recent memory.
"Leave the beaten track occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do so you will be certain to find something that you have never seen before.
Follow it up, explore all around it, and before you know it, you will have something worth thinking about to occupy your mind. All really big discoveries are the results of thought."
The above quote comes from a young Alexander Graham Bell, who sat in the gardens of his family home in Brantford, Ontario on a warm summer day in July 1874 staring at the Grand River. It was a day that inspiration struck and Bell finally grasped the principle on which his most famous invention, the telephone, would work.
Two years later, on February 14, 1876, Bell's patent application for the telephone was filed at the United States Patent Office.
He was granted the first telephone patent, U.S. Number 174,465, on his twenty-ninth birthday. It has been called the most valuable patent ever issued.
Three week's later on March 10, 1876 the first intelligible human voice was heard over a telephone, as Bell called to Watson, "Mr. Watson. Come here. I want to see you."
On a subsequent visit to his parent's home in Ontario, later that same year, Bell completed one of the three crucial public demonstrations to prove that the telephone was a practical form of communication. His invention would reshape the world.
In 1878, Rutherford B. Hayes was the first US president to have a telephone installed in the White House. His first call was conducted with Alexander Graham Bell, who was waiting for the call some 13 miles away from the White House. Decades later, on Jan. 25, 1915, Bell participated in the formal opening of the first transcontinental telephone line by talking on the telephone in New York to the same Mr. Watson in San Francisco.
Watson and Bell's initial telephone conversation of 1876 was transmitted a total distance of just 20 feet. By 1915 it spanned a continent and Bell lived to see the telephone deliver speech across the Atlantic and from Washington to Honolulu without wires.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, March 3, 1847, Bell immigrated to Canada in 1870 for health reasons, after his brother's death of tuberculosis two years earlier.
Bell arrived with his parents, and his sister-in-law, Carrie Bell, and settled in Brantford, Ontario. Reportedly, he developed the phone to help family members, who suffered from hearing problems.
At the time, his father-in-law did not agree with Bell's efforts. He claimed the device would simply be a toy and that "no child would be interested in playing with it."
However, since Bell's death in 1922, the telecommunication industry has undergone an amazing revolution. Today, cellular phones provide users with nearly instant access worldwide, while satellite phones have expanded it beyond earthly bounds and into space.
Sadly, in the current day, cell phones have indeed become one of the most popular children's toys. They have moved far beyond the intended purpose of simple communication, and are now used primarily as an entertainment device.
Telephone communications have advanced so rapidly and have become so pervasive that it is almost impossible to escape their presence.
And while there are a number of local communities that haven't been breached or reached via a new cell tower, the numbers are very few. For the remainder, my advice is to be careful what they wish for.
Last summer, on the summit of Mt. Marcy, I witnessed a gentleman screaming into a cell phone while making dinner reservations.
On another occasion, the deafening silence of the still afternoon was shattered as a kid on the opposite shore of a backwoods pond shared his cell phone conversation with every camper in the area.
While I fully understand the essential elements of safety that a complete network of cell coverage provides, I can't escape their invasiveness. Quite simply, there should remain certain places on this earth where a person can't be reached and where cellular communications can't intrude.
Beyond the fact that rude behavior knows no bounds, the fact that civilization can now encroach upon even the wildest areas on earth, makes these areas less wild, maybe even tame.
In 1878, Bell wrote, "It is possible to connect every man's house, office or factory with a central station, so as to give him direct communication with his neighbors." Years later, Bell came to realize the errors of his ways.
Eventually, he determined that civilization shouldn't be permitted to encroach everywhere. At the time he had already founded Science magazine and was the president of the National Geographic Society.
He had been hard at work in an attempt to develop flying and although he had amassed over 3,000 patents beyond his original, the telephone had finally palled on him.
On his seventy-fifth birthday, Bell stunned the world when he disclosed that he did not have a telephone in his own study. Further, he announced that there was no telephone in the Coconut Grove home of his daughter-in-law, where he spent winters working on fresh inventions.
When questioned why he refused to have a phone, Bell explained that he regretted the fact that he was responsible for an invention he considered, "the greatest single intrusion of an individual's privacy ever invented."
Years later, due to concerns over his failing health, he finally permitted a phone to be installed at his estate in Nova Scotia. However, he directed the phone could only be installed in the garage, so that he wouldn't be subject to the "device's infernal ring."
On Aug. 2, 1922, Alexander Graham Bell died. He is buried at his estate, Beinn Bhreagh, in Nova Scotia.
I wonder what the great inventor would think of today's cell phones, which are surely no longer, "a toy, that no child would be interested in."
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.