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On The Trail

On The Trail: Roadside rambler

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Two phone calls, a month apart, reporting separate sightings of a New England phantom, added perspective gleaned from a morning trip to my old stomping grounds, and here I sit, molding it into an outdoors tale for the sports page. So let’s begin with the apparition, otherwise known as mountain lion or catamount or panther or puma or, heaven forbid, Eastern cougar — an agile, secretive and potentially dangerous beast … 0

On The Trail: Wild apples, bees and stuff

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Good news for deer hunters: From what I’ve encountered, there’s a bumper crop of wild apples. I guess it all starts for me in the front yard, where, just off the road at the driveway outflow, stands an old, tired, scabby, partially hollow apple tree I cannot identify. In nearly 20 years of observation, this mystery apple tree, which may soon be identified … 0

On The Trail: Cream-caddis delights

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I see this as a dredging chore. That is, write in detail about a skill I honed years ago, have not used in many years but am confident I could master quickly if I decided on a whim to dig out stored equipment and head to my old lower-Deerfield River flyfishing haunts. And … 0

On The Trail: Springtime buzz

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Illuminated in a high, bright morning sun, it and a refreshing south breeze in my face, there it lay, clear as day: my trodden trail carved into a short March-brown hayfield, the thin, angled depression still easily discernible after a long, cold, snowy winter freeze, no foot-traffic I’m … 0

On The Trail: Lessons learned

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

There’s something about flowing water that I find liberating, metaphorical to human thought and emotion — be it the rattle or roar, foaming riffles descending into roily runs and step pools, the gentle swirl of frothy eddies. All of the above are likely spots for lurking trout when … 0

On The Trail: Hermit tales

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mention in last week’s “Fish tales” column of a haggard roadside hermit familiar to travelers earlier in my lifetime along Route 5 and 10 between Greenfield and South Deerfield drew additional anecdotal information from near and far that’s worth reporting. The feedback started right off last Thursday morning, … 0

On The Trail: Fish tales

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The cardinals have been singing their happy song this week, brightening my outdoor morning chores with the dogs as the snow cover shrinks. Who knows? Perhaps those beautiful red birds, too, can hear the brook gurgling through widening gaps in the thick, punky ice out back, massive, foot-thick … 0

On the Trail: Scabby mess

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Whether it was winter’s final roar or a soothing song of coming spring depends upon your perspective, I guess. But to my gray tiger cat sleeping peacefully across my lap on a bright, spring-like Monday afternoon, it was threatening indeed. Visibly alarmed, she rose to her feet, jumped … 0

On The Trail: Legal issue

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Midday has passed, it’s cold as a witch’s dark heart, wind blowing, ice getting harder and slicker by the second — and the phone rings. The caller-ID informs me it’s old pal Killer, a hunting buddy who spent many a day with me chasing pheasants and deer, more … 0

On The Trail: Live & learn

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

March is near, the deep-freeze just won’t let leave, and I’m dry-docked, thinking about place — my place and that of my ancestors, the one I chose not to leave and continue to learn about by the day, the month, the year, and when things get really exciting, … 0

On The Trail: The key factor

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Isn’t it refreshing to discover that indeed an old dog can learn new tricks? I rode just such an updraft earlier this week while reading with interest a fascinating R. Dale Guthrie book titled “The Nature of Paleolithic Art” — cutting-edge analysis of deep-history art forms, such as … 0

On the Trail: Snowed in

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

More than a month, now, sleeping in a La-Z-Boy recliner, and the winter doldrums have set in. I’ll get through it. Always have. So why dwell on it? Which brings me to an interesting development brought by unexpected visitors. They left their tracks overnight Tuesday along the wide … 0

On the Trail: Devil’s dance

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Here I sit, dry-docked, sparse snow waltzing through gray peaceful sky peering down. The dogs are disappointed, our daily walks temporarily on hold because of deep snow and a base too icy to get even a four-wheel drive with aggressive tires off-road to park. I’ve heard more analysis … 0

On the Trail: Humdinger

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I remember well the wry grin worn by last week’s new crescent moon slouching east and facing west in the southern sky. I now know that sly, waxing sliver of amber energy building toward next week’s full Snow-Moon climax brought with it winter fury … and local suspense. … 0

On the Trail: Cougar Spatz

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh no. Not again. Of course, I should have known better. Doesn’t cougar chatter always draw feedback? Sometimes from faraway places you’d never imagine? Although, really, I can’t claim this one came out of the clear blue. No. In fact, I had given thought of hitting this man … 0