Hi 48° | Lo 24°
On The Trail
Archer Steve Roy of Turners Falls displays his tropy, 9-point, 215-pound whitetail buck shot Monday morning in Northfield.
Submitted photo

On The Trail: Death rut

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A trophy buck has fallen in Northfield — one the hunter will likely never top, or forget. The archer who slew the 9-point, 215-pound racker Monday morning is Steve Roy, a GCC strength and conditioning instructor who grew up in South Deerfield, attended Frontier Regional School, graduated from Franklin Tech in 1978 and has lived most of his adulthood in Northfield, now Turners Falls. And, oh, what an interesting tale he had to tell about tree-stand observations from nature’s classroom during the breeding season or rut, when big bucks like the one he killed can get all jacked up and downright goofy when confronted by … 0

On The Trail: Indian bummer

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bittersweet has pushed its yellow skin aside, adding a softer shade of red to the abundant Christmas berries populating our local wetlands. Both wild ornamental berries will, over time, be snipped here and there by human gatherers seeking materials for holiday wreaths to hang on front doors, and fall floral arrangements to place in vases, stoneware crocks or old, scarred walnut trenchers centered … 0

On The Trail: Swamp busters

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bird season in the Happy Valley is glorious yet short for those who love it. With it comes cold mornings — windshield scrapers always at the ready — and crisp, cool afternoons; sometimes sunny, sometimes gray, some wet and soggy days, others dry and crunchy, some windy and blustery, others still as a walk-in freezer locker. An early-season bonus is the brilliant backdrop … 0

On The Trail: Fiddleheads, turkeys and spring mystique

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fiddleheads and turkeys are today’s topics, plus potential peripheral musings that can always develop. It’s that time of year, I guess, when nature’s magic pokes through the forest floor overnight in bright green color, or maybe furtively peeks … 0

On The Trail: Turkey talk and housecleaning

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Full Corn-Planting Moon is building as the landscape greens, turkeys gobble and shotguns roar from distant hills. Yes, it’s spring turkey season, a fine time of year for a man so inclined. And, word out of Montville, … 0

On The Trail: Splashback

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do rivers speak? Well, if you listen. Cool, sunny Sunday morning, 10-ish, variable wind gusting to stir small, random oak-leave tornados out in the open along the north wood line of a closed, two-acre meadow. A splendid day for a walk with the dogs — nose-dominant beasts that … 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