Adirondack Waters Welcome Paddlers Back
SCOTT SIMON, host:
In New Yorks Adirondack Mountains, the state has been re-opening traditional canoe routes that have been closed for generations.�Paddlers are free once again to explore some of the most remote wilderness in the Northeast.�North Country Public Radios Brian Mann made the journey to Lake Lila and sent this audio postcard.
(Soundbite of water)
BRIAN MANN: Early on the second morning of our trip, I paddle with my brother Allen up a winding creek that flows out of Rock Pond.
Its a beautiful wetland on either side of the stream.�Every couple hundred yards theres a beaver lodge.�The sound of birds on both sides of the stream, its like a wildlife sanctuary here.�Its nice to be out early.�Yeah, the suns just rising at our backs.
There are millions of people just a few hours drive from this chain of mountain ponds and streams.�But today its just the two of us and our canoes.
(Soundbite of scraping)
MANN: We pull up on shore and hoist our boats on our backs, wading off through a swamp of waist deep mud.
Mr. ALLEN MANN: Try to kind of go around the margins of this pool here, it's deep.
MANN: There was a time when people used routes like this sort of like backcountry highways. To reach the most remote valleys of the Adirondacks, you still have to lug everything overland - hopping from pond to pond, creek to creek.
On this day, the heat comes up fierce and cicadas whine in the trees. We reach the next pond and to celebrate we throw ourselves into the black water, washing away the mud and sweat.
(Soundbite of water splashing)
MANN: Allen and I grew up in Alaskas north woods.�Were in our 40s now, but this feels like one of those summer trips when we were kids - when it seemed like we were the only people on the planet.
(Soundbite of thunder)
MANN: Its the last morning of our trip and its early. Im not sure exactly what time, but Ive been awakened by thunder.�So Ive kind of crept out of the tent and come down to the shore of Lake Lila.
(Soundbite of bird singing)
MANN: Theres just a tapestry, this incredible depth and richness of bird sound.
Allen joins me on the beach, arms crossed against the morning chill.
Mr. A. MANN: Its really pretty reminds me a lot of Alaska.
MANN: Already there are dashes of fall color, amber and ochre on the hillsides.�But as we break camp and load the canoes to head for home, a squall blows across Lake Lila, drumming up a last gorgeous smell of summer dust and pine needles.
For NPR News, Im Brian Mann in New Yorks Adirondack Mountains.