...by one of the shooters because he got home from a night out at about 0600 and slept until about noon. Oh well, I guess that is youth for you. I don't think he was out drinking either just hanging out with friends otherwise he would have slept longer and anyway he said he wasn't. Oh well, next week. Of course we had a long father son talk, it lasted about 6 hours - really it did. Sometime in the mid afternoon, I got him into the car but only after asking him a question in the house first. The question was: "North, east, south or west?". After asking several times and just telling him to pick one he picked north. That was our direction once we got into the Ford.
We headed up to Clarence Fahnestock (I would swear they have recently changed the spelling of this name) Memorial State park off of the Taconic Parkway and route 301, about 1 1/2 hours from where we live. Once there we parked at one of our favorite ponds and decided to take a hike, then proceeded to check out the pond on the first stretch of our hike. We spotted several Red Spotted Newts, most males with their enlarged tails for the mating season. We did see at least one female in the act of mating with a male as another male swam by to investigate or maybe to try to steal away the female for himself. We also saw quite a few sunfish, and I spotted what looked like some sort of a gar. I later checked and saw that only the Longnose Gar is found naturally in NY but they usually are found in rivers or streams. This could be a transplant or could be a natural but I suppose also could have been a pike or pickerel although I doubt it because it had that distinctive gar like snout and appeared to be silver in color. We also saw a couple of green frogs and a lot of newly hatched insects skirting the water's surface and providing food for the frogs, fish and newts.
On we went into the woods and up an unmarked trail toward another pond I knew of that is by my estimation about 1 1/2 miles into the forest. We got there after a short detour. The detour was simply us following one trail a bit too far without breaking off onto a smaller less used side trail that led to the other pond. While on our trek we came across an old abandoned and flooded mine entrance, a chipmunk or two scampering about, several small birds fluttering here and there, and a forest that was coming to life with new buds and leaves opening all around us. It was pretty amazing how almost bare the trees looked compared to some along the highway just 15 miles or so south of where we were in the park. That was great as it was because it gave us some views of the park we have not seen before. While Brendan may not remember the vistas all that well, I have been visiting Clarence Fahnestock State Park for many years, since I was about 9 years old or so. I love it there, it is truly a wonderful getaway from life in or around NYC. I have taken Brendan there before, but I do believe it has been too long since he was there with me for a fishing trip or a camp-out. Hopefully that will be something we can fix this spring, summer and fall.
We walked, we talked, it was good being together with one another after my having been gone for so long while I was in Phoenix. The bonding thing is always good suppose and when you can do it in wonderful surroundings like the forests of NY state then it is all the better. We finally arrived at that other pond, stayed for a short spell admiring the sound of some Canada Geese in the distance. at first, I did not see them at all but Brendan with his younger and keener eyes told me where they were and I finally caught a glimpse of them after having searched them out for several minutes. We watched the pond surface and saw several fish surfacing and even jumping. Whether they were jumping to get away from a predator like a large bass or to zero in on and gobble up an insect on the surface we did not know. While there we also heard the call of a few frogs. Two sounded like green Frogs to me though Brendan thought one was a Bullfrog. As we left we also heard another frog out in the woods, maybe a Spring Peeper but I am not sure.
We made our way back to the car only to realize we had stayed on the wrong trail when we should have taken another fork back some ways. It did not matter as I was sure this trail came out on the road on which our car was parked. In fact it brought us closer to our car than i thought it would have done. Thing was there were a few signs on the trail saying it was closed due to dangerous conditions. I suppose the fact that the two dams,on the upper pond near the road, were both out was the reason for the signs. We made our way over or around the one further from the road and the other one we avoided because it did look to be pretty dangerous and we crossed the stream under it on a bridge of stones that someone had been nice enough to have built. Only reason we stayed on that trail once we saw the signs was because we were so far from the one we should have been on and it was getting late enough to worry about darkness falling if we turned around and went back and had any other delay.
Once back on the road we headed right to the car only a short distance away, maybe even closer to the car than where the path began that we had first set out on. Not a bad mistake taking the 'wrong' fork in the trails as we did. We met a fisherman and his lady companion and their large canine friend. he said he had been trying for trout with no luck. I have fished that pond for over 45 years and have not once pulled out a trout or seen anyone else do it either. Maybe he was misinformed that it was stocked with trout, or maybe that is a new thing. I am sure that even if he did not catch any fish he had a better time than he would have had at work - unless maybe he fishes for a living.
After that it was homeward bound for us. Once we were back in the neighborhood so to speak, we stopped at a local Chinese restaurant and had ourselves a small feast. That made for a nice way to end our day spent together. Hopefully though, the next time we plan to go to the range we will actually do it. Still though, I have absolutely no complaints about how the day turned out and i think neither does Brendan.
All the best,