2017 September 24

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September 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Map: Red Hill Firetower

Map: Red Hill Firetower

Red Hill Firetower in Denning-Elevation 2,990 feet

The Red Hill Fire Tower stands 60 feet tall, has nine flights of stairs, and was constructed in 1921. This tower affords an unsurpassed view of the Catskill high peaks to the west and north, and the Rondout Reservoir to the southeast. It was the last fire tower staffed in the Catskills, closing in 1990.

Directions: Follow the yellow-marked Red Hill Tower Trail from Coons Road (formerly Dinch Road) just outside of Claryville-a moderate, three-mile, round-trip hike.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/76620.html

Durham: Vertical farming is a tall order

"First off, real estate in metro areas is cost prohibitive. While transportation and distribution costs would be nominal — and it would certainly meet the most stringent 50 mile radius of “locally grown” — land costs are a first-order sticker shock. Then there’s the construction costs of the automated facility itself — not to mention the garish monstrosity of a design from artist’s renditions I’ve seen. Moreover, year-round production is a demanding mistress. What sort of energy inputs (even with a partially green portfolio) would it take to maintain a facility at 68+ degrees year round, despite seasonal extremes outside?"

"It also seems to perpetuate this “factory farming” model (whatever that is) that we hear nothing but scorn about. Is this corporate behemoth going to throw smaller producers — like my fifth-generation family farm — under the bus on sheer volume?"

"Other questions are more nuanced. Does a vertical farm really shore up this urban disconnect? Perhaps knowing where food comes from. But what about the who, what, and why? We need to resolve a more complete picture and humanize the faces behind agriculture. Does a soulless automated system accomplish this? Although a network of community gardens would produce a fraction of the yield — wouldn’t getting one’s hands dirty do more to cultivate an ethic of empathy? Certainly a less measureable quantity than yield, but still important. Grassroots for sure."

"That’s not to say that vertical farming doesn’t make an effort to intersect with some genuine issues. Food deserts for one. But will this be resolved overnight by simply changing the vendor and transplanting them close to markets?"

Good afternoon! Sunny and 87 degrees on the Cedar River Flow. I don’t know what is more surprising, that it’s September 24th or that I have cell service in a fairly remote part of Moose River Plains. There is a northwest breeze at 5 mph. The dew point is 64 degrees.

This afternoon will be sunny, with a high of 85 degrees at 3pm. 16 degrees above normal. Maximum dew point of 64 at 1pm. Northwest wind 5 to 7 mph. A year ago, we had mostly cloudy skies with some clearing in the afternoon. The high last year was 68 degrees. The record high of 87 was set in 1961.

The sun will set at 6:51 pm with dusk around 7:19 pm, which is one minute and 50 seconds earlier than yesterday. At sunset, look for clear conditions and 81 degrees. The dew point will be 62 degrees. There will be a north-northwest breeze at 7 mph. Today will have 12 hours and one minute of daytime, an increase of 2 minutes and 58 seconds over yesterday.

Tonight will be mostly clear, with a low of 56 degrees at 6am. Eight degrees above normal. Maximum dew point of 62 at 6pm. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening. In 2016, we had mostly clear skies. It got down to 38 degrees. The record low of 29 occurred back in 1963.

Starting out yesterday morning, I had no idea that it was the fourth week of September and that the Great Moose Festival was this week. I probably should have known — I own a calendar or two, but this September has been one of turmoil with my mom in the hospital, a lot going on at work, and the recent stretch of absolutely beautiful weather. It’s autumn and the days are short, but I tell you, Saturday was a warm one. Somehow the Great Moose Festival made me sad, as I remembered going with mom there two years ago and picnicking at Moose River Plains. I bought here a cute little stuffed moose to give to her when I get back home. Hopefully that will help cheer her up. It’s just shocking how fast things can sometimes come to you in life.

Walked around the Moose Festival for a while, before heading up to Moose River Plains. Definitely a lot more color up in the upper reaches of Cedar River – Lime kiln Lake Road, but in other areas not yet peak. Maybe I should have waited another week but by then, the colors will likely be past, and who knows if this gorgeous weather will continue. All the evidence suggests that a big cool down is coming for later this week.

When I got to Moose River Plains I looked around for a campsite with a nice open canopy. Many of the really good sites, like Campsite 56 were already taken. I ended up setting camp at campsite 80. Not the furthest campsite from Otter Brook Road but it does have a great open area to look up at the stars, and it’s in the open plains, which I’ve wanted to camp in for a long time — my last time in the campsite like this was probably 2-3 years ago — because in the early summer these campsites tend to be real buggy to all the nearby wetlands.

I set up camp and managed to find a massive wasp nest. Tightening up my American flag I stepped into a ground wasp nest in the bottom of a stump, and the wasps went right for muscles on both legs. I haven’t gotten a good wasp bite since I was a child. It hurt like a mother. I made note of the wasp nest and then proceeded to move the flags.

One camp was set up, I drank some beer and decided against doing an awful lot of anything. It was warm and sunny, but honestly I was more interested in cooking burritos for lunch, having some cold drinks, and just hanging out. It’s just been tough lately, and I really needed to get away from it all. That warm autumn sun felt so good on my face by midday.

I really needed the break from the craziness of last week at work and all that going on in my personal life with my family. My trip is probably about escapism more then anything else, but I didn’t really feel like doing much. It’s just sometimes nice to spend a quiet afternoon up in the wilderness without being too busy. Not every day has to be a rush from point “A” to point “B”. I figured it’s nice to sip Corona before the warmth of summer is just a memory. Almost too hot to do hiking, but heck, it made it nice for staying up late in the evening.

From campsite 80 there is a nice little trail that takes you back to Moose River. It looks like the DEC just recently trimmed it on up. I hiked back there, then drove over the Moose River Bridge, and went for a swim / wash up in the Moose River. How often does it get up to 82 degrees at Moose River Plains in late September? Apparently it’s more common nowadays. The water was a bit cool but it was reasonably warm, and felt good with the heat and humidity.

After that I went for a drive along Otter Brook Road for a while, stopped and took some pictures, then went to Helldiver Pond to take in the sunset. Of course, there were tourists there in search for Harold. Not that he’s likely to be seen. I just like the way the plains look at dusk.

Got dark early at the plains, because it’s autumn, but got the campsite all lit up with the lights and a campfire going. At first I wasn’t getting gas to the gas latern, but it turned out I just had a loose connection and now things are working once again. The stars were really great from my camp, when I killed the lights. So that I wouldn’t fall asleep too early and miss the wonderful weather I did pop a five hour energy. I made it up until 11:30 PM again tonight.

Up here this weekend  there are a ton of people up at Moose River Plains this weekend. You have people up here enjoying the scenery, you have hunters out in force, you have people who came to town for the Great Moose Festival and are now spending the night in search of Harold the Helldiver Moose, not that they are likely to see him, but the tourism bureau promised he would come out and visit. I think it may have been the busiest I’ve ever seen it at Moose River Plains.

Sunday morning on my Moose River Trip started out quite beautiful, and after I ran to the outhouse I went back to bed. The sun didn’t make it above the tree line until after 8 AM. I made up eggs and coffee for breakfast and then got ready to head to Cedar River Flow for a nice warm day of autumn paddling.

Cedar River Flow is fantastic. Colors along the lake are almost peak although the mountains are kind of a greenish brown. I think it gets cooler down by the Flow. Some parts of Cedar River – Limekiln Lake Road are really beautiful. 

Looking ahead, there are 3 weeks until Average High is 60 when the sun will be setting at 6:14 pm with dusk at 6:43 pm. On that day in 2016, we had heavy fog, freezing fog, shallow fog, patches of fog, mist, mostly cloudy skies and temperatures between 63 and 28 degrees. Typically, the high temperature is 60 degrees. We hit a record high of 86 back in 1897.

Reality strikes once again….