Following a prolonged, and snow covered, winter, which has been compounded by a record setting, rain soaked, spring; the summer season finally arrived on Tuesday, June 21.
Adirondack summers are likely the most fleeting of all our seasons. They occur as visitors and locals alike, join in an attempt to pack a year's worth of entertainment into just a few, short months.
As always, the season kicks off with high school graduations, and it departs with an exodus of part-time residents, summer folk and school bound, local kids.
However, sandwiched in between these predictable bookends, there is usually a whole lot of fun to be had, as the dog days of summer settle in.
An Adirondack summer offers a series of startling contrasts, where fun filled, hot, muggy days are often capped by bone chilling evenings, featuring brilliant, star dappled skies, where the silence is broken only by a crackling fire.
The stars appear to have fallen, as fireflies begin to flicker in the darkness, and the rising sun is often shrouded by the thick, morning's mist of lake fog. Soon, the mist clears to reveal yet another brilliant blue sky, which ushers in another day in a secluded paradise of deep woods, still waters and soaring mountains.
Soon, long lines of tourists will clog country roads and Main Street as well, and yet solitude can still easily be found, over the nearest hill, at the local swimming hole or atop a lonely ridge.
Hikers will fill the trails, seeking just one more summit, and paddlers will put up with yet another carry, to find their own, Lost Pond.
Friends and family will begin visiting 'Up North' again and summer will be in full swing with clambakes and bar-b-ques, s'mores and county fairs.
Beaches will fill up and boaters will be everywhere, which makes it crucial to use extra care. It is no wonder that we relish the season. It is a time that makes all of the other hardships bearable.
So get out and enjoy the summer today, and take a kid along for the ride! After all, summers are made for children, and best of all; they serve to bring out the kid in all of us.
Boats, safe boating are no accident
The U.S. Coast Guard recently released the 2010 Recreational Boating Statistics, as part of their ongoing efforts to educate boaters and to prevent boating accidents.
The report indicates the total number of boating fatalities in 2010 dropped to 672, which is the lowest number on record.
Unfortunately, the majority of these fatalities were easily preventable. Seventy five percent of all boating accident victims drowned, and eighty eight percent of the victims, were not wearing a life jacket.
This single statistic illustrates the importance of wearing a life jacket. Despite training and/or physical condition, even the strongest swimmer cannot take a single stroke, if they are unconscious.
Waterproof your greatest investment! If you're in a boat, strap one on! Drowning is the most preventable of all fatalities, yet it remains the most common!
Alcohol was the most commonly cited, contributing factor in a majority of boating accidents, and it was considered the leading factor in 19 percent of all reported fatalities.
Other preventable factors, ranked in order of importance include operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, and excessive speed.
Although boater education and life jackets are still the most important, life-saving tools available, boating under the influence remains one of the most difficult issues to address.
It is easy to understand. A cold beer on a hot day has long been considered a common ingredient of the recreational scene.
However, when mixing alcohol with crowded waters, big waves, strong winds and the hot sun; accidents happen. In fact, statistically, they occur about twenty percent of the time, in one out of every five outings.
As part of their ongoing, enforcement efforts aimed at reducing the number of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) fatalities, the U.S. Coast Guard and other partner agencies will be conducting joint efforts this summer.
The new initiative, Operation Dry Water, will be launched from June 24-26, 2011, with a national weekend of stronger and more visible patrols to help prevent accidents caused by excessive alcohol and drug use on the water.
Where to go, and what to call it?
Currently, over ninety percent of the US population live within an hour's drive of waters that are suitable for boating. Additionally, there are over 12.4 million, registered recreational boats in the country.
Recently, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced the top ten states for boating, based on annual sales.
According to studies, U.S. sales reached $30.4 billion in 2010, and an estimated 75 million Americans took to the water, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2009. The top five boating states, include:
1. Florida ($1.1 billion)
2. Texas ($812 million)
3. New York ($401 million)
4. North Carolina ($361 million)
5. Louisiana ($360 million)
6. Michigan ($350 million)
7. Delaware ($343 million)
8. California ($310 million)
9. Washington ($298 million)
10. Wisconsin ($292 million)
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org