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   hornets and the creek to Woodworth Lake
Friday, August 16 2013

location: northwest coast of Lake Edward, Fulton County, New York

Today's big adventure began with another canoe-based paddle in Lake Edward. This time we headed northeastward, first to a cape that juts southwestward from the northeastmost end of the lake. There's a small cabin on this cape with an almost ideal location, nearly hidden by trees a short distance from the lake and surrounded on three sides by water (43.125356N, 74.353666W). It represents Gretchen's ideal for a lakeside cabin, and she wanted to get another look at it.
From there, we paddled south and around the bottom of another cape into a bay in the lake's southeastern coast. I'd seen maps suggesting this bay was where I could find the outflow to a creek that we could follow upstream to another lake named Woodworth. We paddled to a place where it looked like we could land and then did so (43.122349N, 74.353323W). We hadn't made it more than a couple dozen feet from the canoe when I somehow noticed stinging insects attacking my right calf. I instinctively brushed them away and jumped from boulder to boulder screaming "Yellow Jackets!" (though I hadn't actually gotten a good enough look to identify what sort of hornet I was avoiding). Gretchen and the dogs, who were safely some distance away, added some further distance, and by the time I caught up with them I'd lost my pursuers. Initially the stings didn't hurt anywhere near as much as hornet stings usually do. I also couldn't tell how many times I'd been stung until the skin around the stinger punctures turned red and began to swell, and then I realized I'd been stung four times. That might actually be a record.
The pain from the stings mostly took the form of little tweaky feelings. It wasn't that bad; the worst part was the anxiety about what would happen if I were to have an allergic reaction. I've never had an allergic reaction to hornet or wasp stings, though on two occasions as a teenager I had to be hospitalized after being stung by Bumble Bees. I've never been sure whether or not the allergic reaction came from chemistry unique to Bumble Bee venom or from the sheer quantity a Bumble Bee can deliver. Having been stung four times, I was nervous that I might have exceeded a quantity-based allergy threshold. In the end, though, I had no allergic effects. Indeed, my leg barely even swelled.
While all that was happening, Gretchen and I were walking northeastward, towards where a creek would be if there was one. There was no trail for us to follow, but there wasn't much undergrowth and it was fairly easy to pick our way through the forest. Before long, we heard the sound of a babbling brook. The creek we were looking for turned out to be more substantial than I expected, and it was full of large granite boulders. Occasionally it was easier to jump from boulder to boulder in the creek than it was to get through the mud and brush of the forest. At some point, we passed trees marked with yellow paint, indicating we'd entered land owned by the State of New York as part of the Adirondack State Park.
Unfortunately, Gretchen had only brought flip flops with her, and for her hiking in them was worse than being barefoot. This meant that we were both hiking barefoot, though only my feet were tough enough for the occasional sharp sticks and other hazards. When Woodworth Lake proved a bit further away than perhaps she expected, Gretchen started wondering if all this barefoot bushwhacking was worth it.
But then we could see the forest canopy breaking up further ahead, and we hurried along until we came to a clearing that we hoped was a lake. It turned out to be a large, mostly treeless bog (43.125106N, 74.342594W). We'd walked about a half mile from Lake Edward and it wasn't clear where to go next, so we turned around and headed back. Later I would look at the map and see that a smaller creek leading to Woodworth Lake connects to the creek we were on right there at the bog we'd just discovered, and the hike to Woodworth was only a little over a quarter mile southeastward.

This evening Gretchen and I fired up the gas-powered grill and made ourselves a meal of veggie burgers and grilled red onions which we enjoyed out on the lake in the battery-powered raft. Later, after sundown and after we'd seen the final episode of the first season of Orange is the New Black, we burned all of our paper and cardboard trash out at the lakeside fire pit. Tomorrow we would be heading home, and the barbecue & trash ritual is something we began at Lake Edward almost exactly a year ago.

Gretchen looks at a tree on the walk back from the bog on the way to Woodworth Lake. Click to enlarge.

The bay fed by the water from Woodworth Lake, looking out across Lake Edward. Click to enlarge.

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