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Sunday, September 21, 2014
Speculator, NY ,
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This View of The Adirondacks -- 04/16/2014 By Jack Leadley Sr.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 - Updated: 6:41 PM

Sampson Bog Part II

A young French-Canadian named Louis Seymour came down from Canada and discovered in the West Canada Lakes area the best of the Adirondacks. "French Louie," as he was called, stayed at West Lake over 50 years. The woods and waters there, abundant with fish and game, made living there possible. Potatoes in his vegetable garden were an important supplement to his fare.

Louie kept boats on many of the nearby lakes. My 1903 topographical maps show foot trails from lake to lake going to boat landings. Louie got some cash income from "sports" using his boats. He may have had a boat on Sampson Bog.

Deer fed on lily pads. Venison was always welcome fare. I found of interest around the bog isolated pocket winter deer yards with 20 to 30 deer in each.

Always in March on snowshoes I'd find dead deer on the bog ice. Coyote kills. Eventually, the winter / coyote combination wiped out the deer.

One March I found an adult deer dead near the Sampson Bog outlet. I cut open a leg bone with my axe. The bone marrow was pink and jelly-like; no fat. That deer starved.

I cut out the lower jawbone and sent it to the Conservation Department's Wildlife Lab in Delmar. They aged it at 12-3/4 years, an old age and winter casualty. That was well before coyotes were so destructive.

In Speculator my neighbor and old-time Forest Ranger Halsey Page asked, "Was the deer near open water?" Yes, I said. He knew a starving deer would go to open water to die. The one I found had almost no flesh left, just skin and bones. Sad to see.

Again while snowshoeing down the bog's outlet, I came across another interesting event. I found a fresh beaver colony there. Going to the edge of the woods to cut some bait sticks I saw an ice chisel leaning against a tree. Homemade, the steel blade was made of a truck spring.

My friend over in Sabael, Bob Barton, had trapped the area and I asked him if it was his. "No, but probably Dan 'Tamer' Eldridge's of Indian Lake." It now hangs in my workshop. "Tamer" Eldridge trapped there before Bob and I.

Over the decades of travel on snowshoes seldom did someone follow me. An exception was a time, again down the Sampson Bog's outlet, when wife Joan and our friend, Stanley Schoonmaker, came along. It was Stan's day off from the drugstore. A waterfall on the outlet looked inviting so we stopped for lunch and toasted hot dogs. Stan came out with a pint of wine. "Have some Mad Dog?" he asked. Mogen David wine it was. Went good with hot dogs!

Most of the time, back in solo from anyone, I'd see a jetliner fly by about fives miles up. A wave and a call "Help!" got no response. I might as well have been on the back of the moon. God, more than just a co-pilot, must have been with me over all those years.

     

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