The purchase of my homes in the Adirondacks is a long and complicated story. I will keep it short. As my first marriage was ending in the early 2000's we had to sell our family vacation home in Big Bass Lake in the Poconos. That place was perfect. 2 -1/2 hours from our home in New Jersey. Four seasons of fun with lakes, pools, ski slopes, and, we rented it out to defray the costs. But it all ended when our family situation changed.
In part of my coping with divorce I searched for a home that I could call my own. A place where I could take my kids to enjoy fishing and vacations and the like. I had found the Adirondacks in the late 1980's and turned my brother and sister on to the region. My sister loved it so much she went to college there, moved there, bought houses there, and still lives there. So in 2004 I went looking and found a fixer upper (the blue house) on the West Branch of the Ausable in the town of Ausable Forks.
Fast forward. I had had the house, that has always been un-inhabitable, since 2004 and in 2010 my current wife and I purchased the home next door ( the green house ) from the county. So I had two homes on the West Branch of the Ausable. The idea was to bring people up on trips and have lodging for them and guide them on the West Branch and other waters in the area. Eventually, I thought, the town would thrive, we would retire there, the one house would be a "lodge", and the blue house would become a fly shop.
Let's just say that my ideas were, well, just not good.
Okay fast forward, well, just a reality check. Ausable Forks has always been a town that has fallen on tough times. The town was centered around the paper mill located up the street from my houses. When it went out of business the town, and it's people, took a turn for the worse. In addition, the town has suffered earthquakes, tornados, floods, fires, murder-suicides ( that is how we brought the green house ), and businesses that come and go leaving Main Street with empty storefronts and town dreams.
We, and our houses, took a beating when Hurricane Irene hit the region in 2011. Early in the winter of 2012 a pipe broke in the green houses and the water ran, and ran, and ran. It ruined all of the furniture, our decorations, and most of the floors, walls, and ceilings. We ran to get dumpsters and gut the house as best we could, and that is where they are right now.
It's not all bad as we have had several family vacations up to the houses both during the winter and summer months. But this chapter is now over. And I am okay with it.
So on this trip I brought my daughter and my dog and loaded up the truck with lawn mowers and blowers with the idea of tightening up the yards. There was a maybe, a big maybe, that I might call a realtor to see if I could list them on the market. It's something I haven't been able to do.
We pulled up and it was raining steady and everything looked depressed, including our homes. Main Street had lost a few anchor stores an "For Sale" and "For Rent" signs seemed to be in every other window. Across the street from our houses the burned out remains of a warehouse fire that occurred last year sat in a pile. The foundation for a dollar store to be built in its place is already in. It was at that moment that I knew it was time to list, and really sell. Over the next few days with the help of my sister we mowed the lawns and tightened up the yards.
On Friday, in a big rain, I was scheduled to meet the realtor down in the Forks at 1030. Before that I made some stops and fished the river before it came up. I stopped in Wilmington and fished below Lake Everest, and then in Ausable Forks and fished just above the junction with the East Branch. The East already had turned brown and trees were coming down the river. Luckily I had a little more time fishing the West Branch below my house. I fished for about an hour and felt like this may be the last time I fish "my stretch".
I have to count my lucky stars that I have such a great seven year old daughter. Not that the other four kids are bad, but Erin made the trek and hung in there as I tried to deal with the houses. Luckily her aunt, my sister, was able to spend time with her as I took the rides down to the Forks. We hunted snakes, fished, saw Monster's University, and played with my dog and my sister's dog, who are sister's themselves. We even got a boat ride on Lower Saranac Lake where Will introduced my daughter into, spin, and rubber worm fishing- darn nit! And, she even caught her own smallies.
On a side note, while heading back to my sister's in Saranac Lake I stopped in Ray Brook to check out Vince Wilcox's new fly shop, Wiley's Flies. In times when fly shops are closing its nice to see a new one open up.
One afternoon Erin and I stopped the Lakeview Deli located on Lake Flower for a sandwhich. As we left the deli my daughter pointed out the "bugs" hanging onto the siding. WOW! I took out my camera and went to work. Hexagenia Limbata are thick in Lake Flower, it's just a shame that trout don't hang below the surface picking them off.