Kaatscast: the Catskills Podcast
Aug. 31, 2021

Outdoor Guides of the Catskills: The “Adventure Experts”

Outdoor Guides of the Catskills: The “Adventure Experts”
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On May 11, 2019, the Phoenicia Library presented live, Outdoor Guides of the Catskills: The “Adventure Experts” -- this is a recording of that presentation, featuring Will Soter, co-founder of Upstate Adventure Guides and the president of the New York State Outdoor Guide Association (NYSOGA); Legendary fishing guide Hank Rope, owner of Big Indian Guide Service; Lifelong angler and expert guide Cliff Schwark, a founder of the Catskill Mt. Chapter of Trout Unlimited; and Patty Rudge, the first woman to serve as a full time NYS Forest Ranger.

Since the early 1800’s, New York’s guides have been leading visitors into the wild areas of our beautiful state. Back in the day, colorful characacters like Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps and other local outdoorsmen plied their trade as fishing and hunting guides to the wealthy robber barons of the Adirondack Great Camps. By 1924, New York required guides to be licensed, in an effort to reduce fires, enforce conservation laws, curb hunting abuses and enhance enjoyment of the outdoors. Today, the tradition continues, and licensed guides are available for outdoor adventure opportunities like whitewater, rock climbing, snowshoeing and nature studies, in addition to fishing and hunting.

Thanks to our sponsors: the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway and the Catskill Center



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Welcome back to cats cast, the biweekly podcast featuring history interviews, arts and culture, sustainability and the great outdoors in the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley. Since the early 1800s, New York's outdoor guides have been leading visitors into the wild areas of our beautiful state. Back in the day, colorful characters like Orson old man, Phelps, and other local outdoorsman plied their trade as fishing and hunting guides to the wealthy robber barons of the Adirondack great camps. By 1924, New York required guides to be licensed in an effort to reduce fires, enforce conservation laws, curb hunting abuses, and enhance enjoyment of the outdoors. Today, the tradition continues and licensed guides are available for outdoor adventure opportunities like whitewater rafting, rock climbing, snowshoeing and nature studies. In addition to fishing and hunting on May 11 2019, four local adventure experts got together in the Phoenicia library, to tell us about the history of guiding what it takes to be a guide, How to choose one and how to get licensed. And we heard about some interesting personal experiences to our panelists were will Sodor, co founder of upstate adventure guides and the president of the New York State outdoor guide Association, legendary fishing guide Hank Roop, owner of big Indian Guide Service, lifelong angler and expert guide Cliff shark, a founder of the Catskill mountain chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Patty Ridge, the first woman to serve as a full time New York State Forest Ranger. This event took place at the Jerry Bartlett angling collection on the second floor of the Phoenicia library in Phoenicia, New York. This episode is sponsored by the 52 mile Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, following New York State Route 28. Through the heart of the central Catskills for maps, itineraries and links to area restaurants, shops and accommodations, visit scenic catskills.com And by the Catskill center, founded in 1969, the Catskill Center is committed to the protection and preservation of the environmental, cultural and economic resources of the Catskills. They believe that the vitality and prosperity of the Catskills depends on wise stewardship of our natural resources, thriving local communities and robust collaboration with others. Their work includes the Catskills Visitor Center to public land preserves, advocacy for the Catskills and Albany, regional collaboration, natural resource protection, and more, learn more about the Catskill center and become a member to support their work in the Catskills by visiting Catskill center.org. The Jerry Bartlett angling collection presents sporting legends of the Catskills, outdoor guides of the Catskills, the adventure experts presented Saturday May 11 2019, at the Phoenicia library. My name is Beth Waterman. I'd like to thank you all for coming today. Such a beautiful day outside, I appreciate your presence here. I'm going to pass around a sign in sheet for anyone who would like to be notified for future events. If you're already on our mailing list, you probably know it and don't need to sign up again. And I'm also including some copies of our recent newsletter. We published a newsletter once a year and it came out in April. And it gives us a rundown of what we did in the past 12 months or we have two programs coming up in on July 27. We're going to be doing macro invertebrates and in the stony clove the stream that's right outside the library here. And this is a program for kids but it's as much for adults as it is for kids and everybody has a wonderful time. Aaron Bennett who is an environmental educator who grew up around here and studied in the finish Elementary School learned about macro invertebrates there and is been fascinated ever since and he he does a wonderful exploration in the stream and then we identify them on tables and and learn about what those macro invertebrates can tell us about water quality. So that that's going to be from 11 to one on Saturday, July 27. And then in October Edie and Judy van putt are coming in They do a program about Hudson Valley painters, where they have researched and examined paintings from the Hudson River Valley School and isolated some of those to deal with fishing. Quite a few of the painters were passionate fishermen. And so this this is an interesting show and an interesting look at our history that was recorded by these famous artists. So that'll be in October. And then we just got a grant to do two more programs in this series, sporting legends of the Catskills. This is the ninth in our series, the ninth program, we started in 2016. And all of these programs have been recorded thanks to silver hollow audio and photographed thanks to Mark Lodi and posted on our website. Thanks to Stephanie. So they're archived for the future. So we have a broader audience than people who were just here today. The only other introduction here, before I get to the speakers, is I'd like to credit the Ashokan watershed stream management program for providing the funding for this program. And making it possible for us to archive and record the the presentations. And Mark Lodi has offered to say a few words about the Shokin watershed stream management program because he works with them on a regular basis. So first of all, is that people in the room, I think, know that. This is New York City's watershed, right, these Casco rivers, they collect five different reservoirs. The Scopus runs into the Shokin resin that provides 45% of New York City's drinking water. And that water is delivered unfiltered, which is a rarity. And that is a determination by the Environmental Protection Agency as to whether or not this municipal municipality can deliver water I filtered. And they issue what's called a filtration avoidance determination of fad. And there are only five cities five municipalities in the country that have a fad. One is San Francisco, Boston, New York, Syracuse and Portland. So we're in a very exclusive, unique club. But that's testimony to the purity of the Casco water system here. Well, in 1996, I think and the Fed is awarded for five year determination. So in 1996, Mayor Bloomberg lobby the EPA to issue a tenure of fat from New York City, and the EPA said they would give us a 10 year fed, if we did took more steps to clean up the turbidity in the surface Creek, which was running pretty pretty intensively and pretty regularly up until up until the Shogun Watershed Management Plan to address this. So I get to refer to my notes in the Ashokan watershed stream management plan sprung out of the 1997 memorandum of agreement between New York City and the watershed communities about how to manage this watershed so that New York City is guaranteed pure drinking water. But these Catskill communities can thrive, thrive economically and thrive with our truck population or maintaining our wilderness. So the Memorandum of Agreement was born in 1997. And, and out of the memorandum of agreement, the the EPA required New York City to create these three management plans. So this one for the A Shokan watershed, which is the soapless Creek and all its tributaries. There's one for the scorer, Harry, and there's one for the Neversink Rondout. The first one was the Shokin watershed stream management plan. And they really started it sprung into the 1997 Memorandum of Agreement, but it really started from 2003 with a survey of the Broad Street hollow drainage which is a tributary width since that time since 2003. New York City has and this primarily New York City money has spent $20 million in stream restoration. Swing move that meant in some cases actually building rebuilding mountain sites is actually a partnership between the Kaskel CC Casco cooperative extension, the Ulster County Soil and Water, Ulster County Soil and Water and in the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Most of the money comes from New York City Department environmental protection. It has been determined that if New York City loses their fad, and they have to build a water filtration plant for their 9 million people now we're getting fresh, clean water unfiltered 9 million people. The numbers keep going up when this first came up, it was going to be a $16 billion build out and a $2 billion mo a non maintenance and maintenance police me admin and maintenance and operation MNL. Now I think they're saying it cost $22,000,000.40 $4 million. Hear me? No. So it's the New York City's deep interest of maintain pure waters up here. So hence the Shokin watershed stream management plan. So what do they do? They're concerned about stream stability. They've taken great steps to mitigate erosion, and consequently turbidity in the surface Creek, maintaining a water quality so this water is being directed directly to the directly to the New York City taps. I told my flyfishing clients this morning who are from New York City, if you are if you pee in this river, you're drinking it in about a week. Don't be in a river. So immediate it is. And the primary example is the Stoney Cove Creek, the turbidity. The the tributary just up the street here was supplying 30% of the turbidity in the Ashokan reservoir. And after by think about a $5 million build out and in some cases actually rebuilding mountainsides and installing French drains recontouring replanting. They've mitigated the Stoney clove contribution down to just about nothing. So, education, stream management, landowner, education, landowner cooperation, stakeholder cooperation, we have an access to recreation committee at which I'm chairman. We have a grant committee, we've given away $12 million in Smith grants. 12 million, sorry, I'm coming wrapping up $12 million in Smith grants in the last five years, they're negotiating for $12 million for the next five years. So I'm not sure those negotiations are complete. But the plan is to continue the program for at least the next five years. And I want another thing we're doing for example, you see, they are sponsoring the safari program so far is the shandaken area flood assessment and relief initiative. We've done a complete survey, LIDAR survey, flood flow survey of the entire shandaken community, we know exactly where the floodwaters are gonna rise, how high they're going to be, what type of event how much time that would take how much property will be impacted? What is the value of that property being damaged. We have a complete mapping of the town and we have flood mitigation practices in play for example, there have been I think about I think it's been about 12 properties that have been bought out they've been flooded stressed either bought up by FEMA primarily and either reverted to town ownership or New York City the P ownership forever while so they're actually increasing the the wilderness area along the Cypress Creek and increasing access also, there's a grant committee, there's a stakeholders committee for your for the Committee's. Today's program falls within the purview of this Shokin watershed stream management plan because it deals with stewardship and environmental education and AI. Without further ado, I'd like to introduce our speakers, the outdoor the, the program today, features guides, the adventure experts are here with us today. So I will just introduce all four of them briefly. Then we'll have a conversation and I encourage you to ask questions whenever you would like and afterwards we'll have some cookies and networking and hang out down the hall. I think the guides brought some things to show and so we'll have a little show and tell. So starting with Cliff Shuar cliff is a lifelong angler and licensed has been a licensed guide since 2005. Member of nice, Olga, I believe, and Cliff was one of the founders of Catskill mountain Trout Unlimited, which was the first chapter founded in Kingston in the 60s first chapter in New York state. So Cliff has a light long commitment to environmental conservation, and recreation. Patti Frage was a New York State's first full time female for a stranger now retired. And Patty works with the guides program as a water safety instructor will Sodor is the President current president of New York State outdoor guides Association, nice Soga. And he's going to tell us about that organization. And he's also a full time professional guide, which he'll tell us more about with with upstate adventure guides, and Hank rope, big Indian Guide Service. Hank moved up here in 1991 has been a full time professional guides since then. And Hank is a life member of nice ova. So without further introductions, Cliff, we'll start with you. Thank you. I'll start by giving you a little wealth of my fly fishing history and how I got into guiding which will be needed into discussions with the rest of us here. I had a very good friend who had a grandfather who had a camp on a woodland Valley Stream, he would run into his camp. And eventually he built a motor camp up on a silver hollow stream, Werner Creek. And as a young boy, young teenager, I convinced my parents to give me a cheap flyer on outfit. And I used to walk there and fish during the school years when I'm still in school. I grew up during the weekend. So I would fish from as much as I could Friday night, and I would be gone all day, Saturday. And all day Sunday, I take a sandwich and that's elastic see me? And I guess you'd say I was a fanatic. When I kept doing this. And eventually, we got weekends. And then I would fish Friday night, all day, Saturday, all day Sunday. And so basically, I use you could say I was self taught. I learned, I guess the hard way. I learned by experience by just kept doing it, too. I figured I figured it out. We'll be very honest with you. I've been fly fish for seven years. I still haven't quite figured it out. And I'm still working. I'm still trying to work at it. Okay. So yeah, so I've been going for 70 years, with the exception of, you know, I was in the military. And when I was in college, other than that, I've been pretty much steady fly fishing than I had been, I was teaching friends how to fly fish, I was teaching classes at t u, and giving the lectures to organizations and things like that. And so I wasn't doing it as a professional guide, I was just doing it. Okay, I decided as I started getting ready to retire, I thought that would be a good retirement for me. So I started developing a course today schools, various schools, and then got my guiding got my guiding license, when did they get that I got that in 205 2025 And so I started as soon as I retired, I started guiding professionally and and I blogged your organization also. So and I did it primarily because I had so much heat so many years of experience and knowledge of the sport 70 years worth i i thought i would like to share that with other people. And give them the knowledge and the love that I have had for the sport. And pass that on. By passing it on to which we're getting people into fly fishing. You start to get conservation as an environmentalist, because they're the type of people that are now protect your streams. So I never I never really did it for profit. The bucks were nice, and I use them to finance Western trips or buy some fancy fly rods and things like that. But as that all pop song goes I was only using it for the love and that was basically it was never a profit. I thought that audio and I I retired in 2017 bad knees, bad shoulder everything's everything's starting to wear out. I am 85 and and my bowels started with you can't have those things and take people on a stream. That's absolutely taboo. I thought I just give you Six things that will probably open up the discussion, what I think it takes to be a good guide. One is, you got to know your subject. Obviously I do. If I don't after seven years, I never, I never will. But I'll give you just a brief story. I was at a team meeting, a young lady approached me. She said, I understand you're a guide. I said, Yes, I am. She said, how do you become a guide? Well, I said, you gotta go, you gotta go to the state to do some studying. You got to take a test, and so forth, so forth. But she was very young. I said, Well, what do you want to be a fly fishing guide? Yes. I said, How long have you been fly fishing? She said, I started last month. Well, obviously, I didn't say what was on my mind. I never saw her again, which was fine. But anyway. Second thing is you got to be good, a good and patient teacher, you come across all sizes and shapes out there, a lot of people are not at all familiar with the environment or walking in streams, walking on rocks, or being in the wilderness of some people very uncomfortable. So you got to be very patient with these people, because some of them are just plain classy, this fact, and, you know, teach them to fly cast and things like that it can be, it can be very difficult. So you got to be very patient with these people. You got to be physically capable. You know, I was, I was I was talking before that, you know, you got to be able to carry a backpack in if you're going into an erotic back people backpacking people into the ponds, you got to carry canoes, and you got to be physically ready in case something happens to the person, you're responsible for these people. As obviously, I have my balance, I can't guide anymore, I wouldn't even think I could. And I don't have the strengths now. But you never know what you're going to come across. And you got to be prepared, then the next item is you got to be prepared for unexpected emergency. You just don't know what's going to happen, for instance, and I always asked people, do you have a current heart condition? Do you have this? They have that? So I'm ready in case? Are you allergic to bee stings? I always carried when you're not supposed to do this. But I always carried that pen with me just in case. It wouldn't have asked for to do that. I'm not authorized to do that. But if a guy said he kept beasting is throw started swung. I'm gonna hit him with that. I'll make that decision right there. But, but you never know what you're going to get out there. So that's one of the things you got to be in it. You got to be honest with people, you can't tell them look, yeah, I'm a great guy. I'm gonna get you 100 fish today? No question. Nah, don't do that. All your promises, you'll do your best to give them a good time. And you'll teach them the best you can, but you got to be reasonable. And then you got to give good value. I use you were out to people that go out with me, because I'm experienced out there. Most of the people, they tire because they're trying hard to learn to cast walking on rocks and walking in a stream and or not. And I got some good stories later, that can talk about some of these some of these events, okay. But I, if at the end of the day, and it's getting dark, and a fly start coming off the water. And I know it's time to go home. I won't do leave. If they don't want to leave, I'll stay there. Because that's I think it's only fair. You can maybe all day you haven't had any success. And now you're going to I'll stay there till they say uncle. And so anyway, that's that's, that's my little pitch in the beginning here. And I'll be glad to when if time permits. I got some stories I think you'll find humors and so on so forth. So okay, thank you, Cliff. Sure. Another pleasure to catch 100 fish a day. And I'm going on June 1 Well, anyway, I kind of got hurt How do you become a guide? It's it's an easy thing. Well, back when a while back when I decided to be a guide. I was going up to the Knights Shogun rendezvous. And this was what they said. If you ever been a boy scout or Girl Scout read this book, and that's the test. And it worked for me now today. Things are different. You have to have a license. If you're going to take any money to fish hunt, Camp hike, whitewater raft canoe, kayak, rock, and ice climbing all those categories, and the DEC looks at it and says, Well, if you're going to take somebody out, and they're going to take you out and buy you a nice dinner, technically, you need a guides license, okay? The the tests are given every month in DC headquarters. The best way to take this test is to wait until March and go to the New York State outdoor guides Association, because you can get your safe boating your water, which you need, believe it or not, you need water safety if you're going to guide rock climbers, so figure that one out, right. And if you go to the Ron de veau, they're also gonna do a little better than they did years ago, and not tell you to be a boy scout. They have a practice exam. It costs you a few bucks, you're gonna go there on a Thursday night, spend Thursday, Friday. And I always think you just pay for the banquet, we always have a really good time. When you take the exam, this little lady up in Albany, Colleen, she's gonna send you all your paperwork that you need. And programs run actually by the Division of Forestry. And that's who she works for. Same people at provide us with the forest rangers. And Colleen has been working there too long to mention, but she does all the paperwork, which is real efficient is real good. But so the DEC isn't really one overlooks the guides. But they will ask you for your identification. If you're a guide, you need your guides license, you need this little brass doohickey over here. And and you have to have it displayed. So when you're guiding, you need your physical license, you need a copy of a current CPR card, and a current first aid clock. Now in order to get all that stuff, they'll let you take the exam and then put it in later on. And when you finally do that you also need a note from your doctor on their paperwork. They don't just take a scribbled note. And yeah, and the doctor has to say that you're capable of being a guide. And when you finally get to the point you're going to take a test it's going to be 50 questions and 20 other questions on what your specific guiding is going to be such a handle on how long do you get for the test? I knew a pay attention. But it's half a day, right? Yeah, I think they give you way more time than anyone's ever taken. Okay. I don't pay attention to it. I'm usually they are doing something else. Time flies at the rendezvous. If you if you want to be a guide, you have to be as Cliff already brought up, you have to be I think an outdoor person. And you have to like people. That all goes together. What else are we got here? Once you pass that exam, Colleen is going to take about a week to send you your guides license. And she's She's a great girl she does. I don't know how many people know her up there. But when you renew your license, she also takes care of it boy, and she tries to come to our line. They vote. Anybody have any questions? They want to ask me about what you actually have to do? Is the license good for? Oh, good question. Five years. So I'm on my fifth renewal. I think something like that must be getting time waiting for somebody to give me a retirement party like clap. It's good for five years and every five years, you have to have another doctor's notice. However, every it's going to be every two years now that you have to have CPR and First Aid. They expire at the end of two years. They just changed that this year. You don't want to hear what it used to be. It's two years. And so if a mental blank my friend ex friend Bruce Fowler told the total the gameboard down in in Marketo. Can't think of his name and told him pardon, Volker. No, no, he said Anyway, anyway, Bruce told him that when you're gonna check the guides license, you have to make sure he has CPR and first aid. So here he comes out of the bushes. I'm down there with a with a customer. And he's waving to me, you know? Yeah. Okay, so I walk over, and he has to see my license, and I show it to him. And then he says, I need to see your CPR. And first day, nobody ever asked me that until Bruce went and told them about it. But if you don't have it, you're guiding without a license. So it's something that you have to remember to keep up. And another advertisement, you can get that if you go to nice silgan Come to the rendezvous and you can get your CPR in first day. You can also take it in local hospitals given by the Red Cross. I took it once in Kingston hospital. That was a mistake. It was all day long. And the test was like that long. Because it was for nurses. And it was a tough test. You know? Anybody have any questions? That's about it for me? No, I think, you know, we've heard a lot about nice. So Gus. So we'll let's let's hear from you, as president of this organization. Yeah, sure. So I'll kind of go way back to the beginning of how the guides Association actually got started and kind of gonna go through a brief overview of how it got to be where it is now. So about 128 years ago, the guides Association first form and that was kind of in response to the train and 1887 making its way all the way up to Saranac. So, kind of like we're seeing today with social media, all of a sudden, people were outpacing the ability to connect with knowledgeable people out in the field. So there's Scene A is no longer a jarring stagecoach ride that only the hardiest, most avid anglers or hunters would would need to take undertake to to get to this in the heart of the Adirondacks back then. So there was a big rush of people getting up there. And naturally, there was people trying to cash in on it saying, oh, yeah, I know where you can catch fish, I know where you can get game. And they were going out with with guides who weren't real bonafide guides, and it started to really impact the reputation, not just of the area, but of the industry as a whole. So 128 years ago, the first meeting of guides came together, and they said, you know, we've got to, you know, figure out what we all agree upon, because there's different things based on different disciplines. So if you're a hunter, you may have, you know, some different concerns than an angler. So they really looked at what are the things that we all can can rally around. One was, you know, promoting the professionalism of the guiding industry that you can find a knowledgeable person who is physically capable and knowledgeable in a particular area or, you know, activity. The other was, you know, helping protect the resources, they understood even back then, as they saw things, you know, are starting to be just exploited that if they didn't work with their partners in the event forest commission, now, DDC that the resources could be exploited to the point that the very bedrock of their, you know, industry could be undermined, you know, without healthy fisheries without abundant game, without, you know, protecting the forest, the lands and waters, there's nowhere beautiful to take these people. So it was very, you know, even back then it was understood that they needed to play their role in protecting the resources. Flash forward to the early 1980s. And there again, was a rush of people getting outdoors, this time, there was different activities that started to become popular. So people going further afield, hiking clubs, and and people getting the guides license, that we're bringing, you know, bringing people up to the high peaks to bag peaks. So there was more more in popularity around backpacking and things like that, getting people further afield. And there was some concern about how easy it was to become a guide at that point. So NYSERDA was one of a bunch of different organizations that worked with the DC to help kind of figure out what qualifications they would minimum qualifications that would need to be and they actually helped develop the current licensing exam. And actually, we're still working with the DCA today to kind of reevaluate the standards of what certifications we need to hold. So it's, it's been a part of the the guy's history to to make sure that you know, the public is aware that there are people out there and you know, what they really look for in a guide and not just someone who has all of the props in a seminar. It's got a bunch of fishing poles and and you know, yeah, I live near the river I've been you know, I've grown up here all my life. I know where to find fish. Well, that, you know, you might be an expert amongst your friends, but are you an expert and do you know how are you physically capable of and are you prepared heard for those unexpected things as Cliff mentioned, there's a lot that goes into it. You know, for me, when I first became a guide, I had already been leading hikes for the hiking clubs and friend of mine just happened to stumble across a guide called me up, you know, frantically and said, hey, you know, we can get paid for this. I met this guy. He's a guidance. Yeah, like hunting and fishing, right? He goes, No, no, no, no, I'm like, Really, people pay to go hiking? Like we do this for free. So no, no, no, and call this guy. So I called him up. And he told me and he, you know, CPR, first aid, water safety. And then you take this exam, and you know, I'd already had all those, they're kind of set to expire. And I hadn't taken water safety since I'd sailed a number of years back. So I said, you know, let me go to this rendezvous. You know, nice Olga's, holding and I can get all that stuff done in one weekend. And right after I got the, you know, the the exam, I kind of felt like, I crossed this threshold from being the expert in my friend group, to all of a sudden being someone that everyone viewed as an expert, and I didn't feel like an expert yet. And that's, that's for me, were nice, oh, that really played a role. Because I had these veteran guides that I could ask and say, hey, you know what, I'm doing this, and I've done a trip like this before when I let it for the hiking club, but I feel like I might be missing something. What are other things that I should consider? And it was great to have people with, you know, decades of experience, say, you know, did you consider what would happen if, you know, if you're out for four days, and you haven't been able to check the weather? How are you going to, you know, keep on top of that. So just being able to have have, you know, people who've actually lived those experiences over and over again, to really help me, you know, kind of get my feet and get me on the right path was one of the biggest benefits for me of being a member of your organization. So I'm trying to understand you nice, so good. D C, licenses the guide, correct. They they give the exams. And what is nice Olga's role, so necessarily as a professional organization. So we provide additional training for our guides. So we have seminars at our annual rendezvous. We also hold the training certifications. And then we have different committees within our organization. So we work with DC and other partners, other organizations throughout the lands and waters of New York State to see, you know, can we gather information from the field to get to those folks who are doing the legislating to provide better protections for the resources or sometimes better protections for the folks working in the industry to make sure that people were taking out are safe. So you know, we have a legislative committee, we have standards and Education Committee, we've got all these different committees that work together information throughout the different different regions, and across the different disciplines and activities. And what are the recreational activities that are licensed? So those are the ones that Hank mentioned before. So it's hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, rock and ice climbing. Whitewater, yeah. Yeah, whitewater rafting. But interestingly enough, and if it's okay, just to kind of break in like this, is, I understand that you do not need to have a guides license, if you simply want to take somebody for a paddle on flat water, and you charge a fee. There is an endorsement on the license, but it is not a licensed category as it's interesting. It's very interesting. And it's, it's something we're working, we've been nudging to get included. There's currently a Senate bill out there that will kind of raised the bar for the standards of guiding that request a little bit more of guides. Going back to what Cliff mentioned, and this is part of the national code of ethics is that that truth and advertising that accuracy and the information you're presenting to your customer, that you actually, you know, have a contract that outlines the services that you're providing and the things that they can expect. So that's that's one of the things it's included in that there's some other aspects to it that hold guides to a higher standard as far as being safe out there, and you know, paddling is one of those things because just because there's not dynamic water, not whitewater doesn't mean that you can't do yourself went way over your head. And I was such I was thinking about recently on a on a paddling trip I took just two weeks ago. And I and as I was thinking about, Wow, if I went in this water right now in the middle of a lake, I would really need those folks in that other boat to get me out because I and I wouldn't, I wouldn't be able to swim myself to shore because the water so cold. So flat water paddling is not as is not something that should be taken lightly. And it really should be included in the licensing program. One advantage of your organization also put out a yearly magazine. Personally, I've gotten a lot of jobs through that. Yeah, I'd say how do you find out about me? And they'd say, Well, we toilet magazine? Yeah, yes, still to this to this day, just like the original Adirondack guides association. So in the 80s, when there was that second boom that the organization reorganized and became a statewide organization. And, you know, we still promote awareness of the industry, but we also promote awareness of our members. So we make sure that folks, you know, who are looking to hire a guide can find a guide that's in their region, and that guides in the discipline. So we have a public, we have publications, and then we also have our website. And folks can go on there, they can, you know, search for guide by activity, they search for a guide by region, they can also just put in a request that says, On this date, I want to go to this area, and I want to see this thing. And here's how many people and it'll go on to all of our members and the members who feel like they're best qualified, can send them a reply, which is a really, it's a great resource for folks looking to connect with someone because otherwise it can be kind of a an endless search. And usually, the only thing that pops up at the top of the list is, you know, the thing that's advertised the most. So this is a great, great way to really get folks into the depths of of each one of these regions or activities. Yeah, as a former forest ranger, what would you say is the value of having a guide? What I would say is that anytime users come to the backcountry, wilderness areas, or wild forest, the better educated they are, the better everyone's going to come out at the end. You know, so having had a guide, even if it was just a telephone exchange, or a an exchange of maps, and information and brochures, those people then come to the Preserve, prepared, they have a wonderful time, they share that wonderful time, and it becomes a tremendous domino effect in the right direction. When we don't have enough educators out there, whether they're guides or Rangers, or some type of environmental educator, then things frequently start tumbling with a very small misstep, and they go in the wrong direction. So when we have guides out there fishing guides, hunting guides, those are the two that I would see the most. I did see some backpacking guides in my tenure, but not many at that time. I think it's a building. I think it's it's growing now. But those folks that were out there with a guide were undeniably having a much better time than if they had not had a guide with them. Because it isn't just the the formalities of the information that gets shared. It's the pleasantries. It's the relaxation, it's having lunch together, how many times I would walk up on a stream and encounter a guide and with their client, and usually they weren't fishing. They're oftentimes just sitting, Brookside more or less, and it would be lunch hour that I stopped in on, and they will be having the nicest relaxed exchange. And if that isn't the way to celebrate the back country, I don't know what it is. So it was just something it was a really good reminder to me of, of a beautiful exchange. And that's really what should be going on out there. So I only have good things to say with regards to those kinds of relationships. I can say that when things go sour in the back country, they go bad very, very quickly. And it takes a great deal of resources to fix things, to bring things back to a level of stability, and then a recovery to get people back out of the out of the woods. So if we can get people in the woods with good information, good guidance, good skills. Part of that is communication. The communication was touched on earlier how well you need to communicate before you start you're guiding, really sharing upfront, what it is that you can provide? And does it match the expectation, when things would go poorly is when an expectation would be high. And if not a guide, but who's ever in charge of a group is trying desperately to meet that expectation, and it's not reasonable, whether it's the weather that's moved in, or the group dynamics, the size of the group, many things can start to tumble and go wrong. And usually when one thing goes wrong, other things fallen poorly behind it. And that's when the rangers would end up being notified. And then a whole group of us would have to go in and and try to stabilize, find the problem, stabilize the problem and then evacuate the problem. So that would be how I would get involved in a situation where things have gone awry in the back country. I have to honestly tell you, I don't have any stories of something going awry with a guide in there. Isn't it's not in not in the Catskills not in region three, I can package it like that. I know that I brought a few props with intention is that as everyone needs to know where they're going, and it's kind of I say this somewhat tongue in cheek, but you need to have really good skills. It's not always with a map and compass that I use this as a as a prop, you need to know where you're going when you're guiding. You need to know what your real goal is with your clients. Is it to catch X number of fish isn't too bad, the largest buck? Or is it to make sure you get to the top of that ice climb regardless? And I say all with that emphasis, because I want you to know what the answer is. The answer is no. case you aren't clear on that. That's not a good back. That's right. That's right, you need to get back. And you need to be able to shake each other's hands at the end of the day and say, well, we gave it a good try, and a really good try. But everybody came home at the end of the day, and not to be morose. But I will tell you that I've had the terrible position of being in a emergency room and having to speak with family when somebody's past, in the back country. It is an awful position to be in. And I share it like this each time I teach a water safety class, you don't want to find yourself in that position. There's no way you're going to make those decisions to continue on your adventure. At any risk of having to make that kind of phone call at the end of the day. Nothing's worth it. It's just retreat. And we'll try again another day. Another time. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, Cliff mentioned being a patient teacher. And sometimes, what's giving you that frustration is not the client, sometimes it's the conditions out on the ground, you know, you can plan a perfect itinerary and sit down and plot it out on the map. And, you know, the, it warms up in the snowshoe trip. Now all of a sudden, you're snowshoeing through mashed potatoes. And it's slowing you down to about a mile an hour or more even worse. And sometimes. So you just look at it. And you start to realize you're not making your milestones. And there's there's lessons, there's things that you can teach the person in there, and you can keep them excited about what's happening without making that goal. And as Patty said, The important part is not getting to the top not you know, filling that bag limit, it's about bringing that client back safely. And happily, and hopefully with a little bit of knowledge of where you know, where those things went wrong, you know, that kept you from that goal, but not where they went so wrong, that kept you from ever trying again. And it's you know, it's a really humbling lesson, when you get out there, and you're all excited, and you think you've made this perfect plan, and you're gonna, you know, tackle that challenge. And nature gives you that little reminder that you know, there's some other variables you need to consider. And that's where really, you know, paying attention and being aware, not getting wrapped up in that excitement, because it's a very exciting job. So it gets easy to to go right along with the excitement of the client. Oh, yeah. But you know, it's our job to pay attention to those little clues that sometimes add up, if we're not paying attention to be a big issue. And the back country is not the place where you want any issue. So, you know, being mindful, being aware of paying attention to those small things and knowing when to say, You know what, I think we're going to make an adjustment here. And you know, when that client gets back to the car, and they still have all their fingers and toes, and they're not shivering and cold, they're happy, because you know what they could be on that way back, they can start to, you know, they start to get a sense of you know, why you made that turn around, maybe when you made that turn around? They're not quite feeling it yet. So they're kind of like, I don't know, I know. But when they get back there, and you know, all their fingers and toes are not frozen. They can really kind of see and, you know, pointing out why you why you made that decision and what factors are starting to stack up against you, not only helping to justify why you made that decision to turn around, but you're helping to educate that person so that they can then recognize those things when they go out on their own. You know, I always tell clients, I said, you know, I'm not looking to make you a return customer over and over again, I'm looking to help you become better at doing this. And maybe you come back and discover another thing with me. But really, you know, I view our role is as if somewhat of an educator and we do have to be patient, whether that's with the client or the conditions that we find ourselves in. I find that there's the level of experience people in the wilderness, in some cases are just as zero. I can remember I had two policemen from New Jersey, Trenton, New Jersey, and they had her two sons I had these people eight miles back in the Adirondacks. And it started to rain. And the kids were running around in a rain, then they get wet, they would back into the tent, change their clothes. They did this two times. And I said to the kid, I said, Look, you're going to route a close. She said, he said, That's not a problem. We'll put it in a dryer. actually said that. Can you believe that? Yeah. Now when you guide, hey, do you also, you're a fishing guide? Let's just make that clear. Do you fish with your clients? Never. Why? Well, to be blunt, you know, I'm blunt. For the guy is paying me or the lady is paying me. And if we go out in the water, and I catch three fish, and that person catches zero, what do we have? But I will say, Okay, let me show you how to do that. And more than once, and who knows how many times, you know, I'll demonstrate how to cast official come up, take the fly, and I just hand them the ride and say, virtual fish. That's the way I feel about it. I don't think the guide should fish. I agree. I never, I never fish. I feel strongly about that. I do too. And you know, I got caught. Just after many years, I was very surprised when you go down into that DP or below the five arch bridge. I was there with a client. And I didn't have a right to get a ticket EP guy comes along, and he wants to see the licenses, which annoyed me could have just gotten this guy out in the water and kind of left him alone. That was that was. So I said, Oh, he's gotta come in. And so I brought him in, give him a slice. I gave him my license. And he said, well, first of all, he said, what is that? I said, it's official license. Well, I've never seen anything like that before. I said, Well, what's the lifetime license? Oh, I didn't ever heard anything that he's argued me that I didn't. I hadn't. But anyway, he said, Where's your where's your fly rod? I said, I don't fish when I guide. And I know people out west do but I don't. And he said you're breaking the law. I said, Yes. I started to argue with him. Then I thought better that. And I got back home. He was he was absolutely right. You can't be on that property just just to hike and walk around. Well, they changed. The rules have changed this two years ago. I was I was breaking the law. You're supposed to have a law. I said, I got to ride the car. What would you go back and get it? No. He said so. Okay, finish up here. But don't do it again. Yeah. But I said, I said, How about if I have a drop line? You know, that doesn't count. So I used to carry a little pack rod in my backpack. Yeah. But they changed it. They have the city has a guides program now. And you can sign up for that. And if they like you, they let you go down there and take somebody down there. And you don't have to carry your rod. Yeah. When is your next water safety course and where? Well, I teach for safety classes on request, quite frankly. So if there are one, two or three, it doesn't really matter if you need it. I'll be glad to meet you. And I teach them up to the Pine Hill Community Center. I have one coming up in July in High Falls as well. Of course, the class itself doesn't cost anything. It's just the fee that you have to pay online. And I think that $60 To measure water safety lasts for a lifetime. You don't have to renew the water. So that is correct. What kind of guiding do you do? Well, I do primarily camping trips. So whether it's backpacking or canoe camping trips, I'll do long distance hikes here in the Catskills. I prefer to get off the beaten track too. So I'll go to areas that are a little less frequented by folks. I'm not going up to you know, check off the list of the 3500 peaks. I have done that. And I will do that on request with clients. I do have some clients that are you know, looking to check those lists and they'll they'll, you know, hire my services to that. But the favorite trips that I do and the stuff that I'll put on the on my calendar are camping trips. I've been going up to the Adirondacks to St Regis Canoe Area for a past couple years and doing canoe camping trips up there, which is just a truly marvelous how I'll just how far you can get back with, you know, not quite as much effort, you know, relatively easy hikes you carry a lightweight canoe a Kevlar canoe, when I use a 24 foot four person canoe, and it weighs about 60 pounds. So it switches less than my 15 foot aluminum canoe. So you can get pretty far back and you can get a, you know, a nice group of people back there and really enjoy some, you know, some pristine wilderness areas up there. And that's, I've noticed with groups, especially if they'll stay out, you know, if you have groups who have the time who stay out more than three days, once you hit that fourth day, there really becomes a transformation with people, they start to kind of realize, you know, those things that are kind of unnecessary in their lives back home, the things that are conveniences, they're nice things to have, which is why we have them, but they realize how much of that is unnecessary, and really, just, you know, what a few things they need to be safe and comfortable. And the nature kind of provides, you know, fills in those gaps with the beautiful scenery and those wonderful experiences they have. And, you know, they walk away feeling very, you know, fulfilled and satisfied. And one of the exciting things about being a guide is getting to relive those moments of discovery over and over again, I feel like I'm constantly discovering the same things, which is, it's neat, and I watch someone find something new. And then I'll catch myself doing it every once in awhile, I'll walk past something, and because I'll be excited about something that's a half mile off the trail, so I'll be kind of in a little hurry to get there. And someone says, Hey, wait a minute, what's this? Oh, good question. That's really neat. I just have already seen 15 of them this week. And I get to explain what type of moss something is, or, you know, what type of spring flower is coming up. And it's, it's neat to see that, you know, that excitement in their eyes and that curiosity and you know, kind of comes comes right back to me. So yeah, I find this this camping trips to be my favorite. If you have a fishing license guide, a fishing guide, you can. You can't take people on a hike. But if there's water at the other end, then you can take them on a hike. The rules are crazy. So I have a question for you. Do you find that there's a withdrawal phase in this culture that we live in right now? Where people are really connected to their smartphones? or iPads? or what have you? Do you find that it takes a day or two or not? I think it depends on on where the group is coming from. I noticed because I partner up with some guides who are based in in Manhattan or Brooklyn, and they'll provide the transportation and I'll run the trip up here. I'll run the trip up in the Adirondacks. And yes, so folks who are very immersed in that culture of constantly being attached, I was just on a trip where a guy's like, oh, well, I might. My battery's almost dead on this phone. And he pulls out another phone. He goes, I'll just use my work phone. It was like, Wait a minute. What do we need a phone for? And he goes, I don't know. I said, why don't we just put it back. And then that way you have it if you need it, and let's just see if we can make it through today. Without it. He goes, Oh, okay. You know, so it's Yeah, I do find, you know, folks, especially that are you know, I get folks who are just immersed in that with it, you know, whether it's part of their job, and they just have to stay connected. So they're just used to having these devices in their hands. And you know, that first, I had a group I took up to the St. Regis canoe wilderness. And luckily, I noticed it because one of the one of the one of the people in the groups right away took their phone out because we have signals like I said, I told everyone else i You must have been in the bathroom when we were at the rest stop. But I told everyone else to put their their phone in airplane mode because it preserves their battery. But I also knew that there was signal here and he goes, oh, oh, should I said, you know, for your own benefit, you probably might want to do that. But don't tell anyone else in the group that their signal here. So yeah, there is there is a little bit of a disconnect. But you know, when you get folks to either where there's an area where there's no signal or where there's, you know, if you if you can kind of trick them out of it by telling them their batteries will last longer if they leave it on airplane mode. Once they get through that. Usually by the time they get to dinnertime that first night. And you kind of sit around and you tell a couple of stories, you get people laughing they start to kind of really settle in. And I find usually after that first night the first night for people if they've never camped, especially if they've never camped is usually kind of uncomfortable because they're like, Okay, well I guess I'm gonna I guess I'm gonna sleep there. And then when they wake up and they they're still in one piece and they they realize wow, that wasn't that bad. And look where I am. Look what I you know, I unzip my tent flap and this is my view like that. They really start To embrace it more wholeheartedly, and then that that next night around the campfire, you get them sharing some of their stories from the day. And you get those little moments of people recapping things and and that excitement kind of builds. And by the last night, people don't want to go, they realize that oh, geez, I'm going to have to face all of these things that now don't feel like they're necessary. Like, Oh, I gotta turn both phones back on. It's interesting. Yeah, yeah. Want to hear a funny story? I used to volunteer a day on the stream through for an organization like to you and his dentist, and his wife, one one, me for a day. Well, these were two people that don't belong on a stream. But anyway, you got them and I took them out. And we I took them on actually Colebrook road there, right? Where it used to be an old metal bridge got washed out without flood, this nice, easy place to Wade. And there's fish there. And so I took them out. Well, she was a very small lady, which was actually good. Well, maybe a little bigger. This is a home guy. But yeah, she was very tiny. But anyway, so I always keep people that don't know how to fish and don't know how to walk in water. I always keep them upstream. Because it's easier to pick them up and away Biden and go run down. Well, he was up above her. And she was right next to me. And I was right close to her because she was very wobbly. And she was she was you can see she was scared being out there. While to make the story short, she started to go. And she did. And I reached over. And she was small. And I grabbed her by her vest, and I was holding her horizontal. And I said to him, Hey, Doc, above my tip. He said forget to tip he says let her go. But I don't think those people are became fishermen. But they had a nice day. They had a good time. And that was that was the key but and I'm thinking oh man, I gotta I was on the sofas with a lady and she had her little daughter with her daughter stayed on the stream on the on the bank walking along. And then she was fishing and she had she was picking it up pretty quickly. And she said, Oh, look upstream. Look at that big black dog going across the river. I looked I said, that's not a dog. That's a bear. She said, Oh my God. She says, We got to get out of here right now. I said, No, no, no. I said it's caught up in the mountain and whoop, buddy. No, no, it's gonna come down. It'll kill us. It'll eat my daughter. I said, No, she would not fish there. She said, You got to get me out of here. But put it back in the car. We went a couple of miles upstream. And the fish was she was terrified that bear was going to turn around, come back, kill us and then eat her daughter. I couldn't convince her otherwise, you know? You don't know what to say in those kind of circumstances you do the best you can. Now I got a lot more I gotta I took a guy out. Hydra two. I had developed to date course. On fly fishing. I was giving it out to Don Trevor's shop in Red Hook. Maybe some of you remember Don, he passed away this year, unfortunately. And so I had this just fell in the class. So a wonderful individual concert violence out in New York City. And so different the first day what I would do is I would teach you know, the the knots, the equipment, the bugs, and all that stuff. And then the other half of the day I would take them out on the lawn and teach them how to fly cast. And this guy picked it up very quickly and he was very enthusiastic have bought before he got there. A new rod reel lines. Best waiter spoofs. He had here everything and he had the best stuff. He was ready to go and boy he was he decided it was a pleasure to be with next day, part of the two day program. I would Take about a stream and put in practice while I was teaching. So took them out, I took them that exact same place. But what Colebrook Road, took them down there, got them rigged up, we walked out and he walked out into the water about the height of the top of his socks. I'm sitting right next to him. And he looks at me and he says, Cliff, I can't do this. I said, you can't do what? He says, I can't stand in water. I said, you've never stood in water. No, I can't do this. I'm going to fall. He grabs me. I said, You're not gonna follow him right here. You know, just just stand still for a while. You'll get used to it. Now I can't do this. I can't do this. I said, Well, he said, I looked down at what I said, don't look down water. Look horizontal. Look at the bank. Maybe that'll can't do this. I said, well, let's just stand here. So I made him stand there a little bit. I thought he get acclimated to it. But he has a kind of vertigo or something. He just could not stand it. He said you gotta get me back on the shore. So I go back and bum on. He's on. He's on his shore now. I said, Well, what do you want to do? I said, we you don't have to go in the water. We can go along the bank, you can fish. That'd be just fine. Now Now he says, That's not fly fishing. As I understand. You got to get out in the water. You got to do it the right way. I'm not going to do it halfway. I said we're hearing. He said, so. He said let's sit down and talk. And let's eat lunch. I said. So we eat the lunch. And they said, Well, what are we going to do? I said the days young. He said, I want you to fish like you're you're paying me to fish out right as that right. Now, as you said, Yes, I'm paying you and that's what I want you to do. So I felt pretty strange. I try to talk them out. But so I started I took his rod I started fishing, and then brother and just fish I was trying to teach them the same time. And I was showing them a different kinds of cast. You know how to mend your line, how to fish dry flies on top, how to fish nymphs underneath and how to use striking. I was doing all that stuff. Obviously, I after all these years, I can catch fish. So obviously I've want to get a fish. Well, I figured like you said there Hey, here take the rod. He wouldn't take it is that you caught him you. I said I couldn't get him to do anything. He kept walking along with me. Well, to make this make the story short. We ended up today. He's about an hour and a half of watching me fish and catch fish. He said that's it. That's That's good. It's fine. I see you sure is yes. So we go. I drop them off at dawn traverse. He goes his way down New York and I go back back home. He gives you the money. I just put it in my pocket. All I said to him, Look, half price. Pay me for a hit for the first day. You didn't do anything to say they will watch me fish. That's not right. So he's okay. I got home. I counted the money. Well, he only paid me for a whole day. There's an extra $100 in there. So I call him up the next day. And I said, You give you made a mistake. First of all, I said you didn't do what I told you to do. You gave me for the full two days. And I but I said on top of that you've given me $100 You've made a mistake. He said no, that wasn't a mistake. That was a tip. I say give me $100 tip. I said that's not right. He said let me tell you something. The two days I spent with you are the best two days of my life. I didn't know I didn't know what to say. I was dumbfounded. That's not like me. I can talk. I don't know what to say. I just said Well, thank you very much ever heard from again, but two best days of his life. He said well, that's beautiful. Well, that's what you you. You did your job. Yeah. Well, I just mentioned here that you give them you give them a an experience. Now this is a rare thing. It doesn't happen every week. Well, I I'll give you one that is so nice if you want. I had a call from a fellow in New York City. He said I understand you're a guide. I said yes. He said, you guarantee me fish. I said no. I said you So why not your guide? Your fly fishing guide? I said yes. But I can't guarantee a fish. He said, Well, what can you guarantee? I said, I guarantee you're probably a good time. And I'll probably be able to teach you some things. But I'm not going to guarantee your fish because I never know somebody say, I can't get fish myself. I've been doing forever. And what he says, Well, we'll see about that. I should right there. So thank you very much. Call somebody else. Yeah. I just got I just got booked. Well, I met the guy. I took them out while I've been him here on sofas. And he was just as irritable off the phone as he was on the phone. And he said, I just go, I know how to fit. I said, Well, I know how to fish. While we go down to the stream to the flies are hatching. There's a brown swab. I remember it well, small brown cat is underwater, and the fish are rising like crazy. I said, Well, I'm gonna get this dude's in the fish. And he said, I said what? Let me put the firearm for you here that they're taking. No. Now he says, I know what I'm using. I'm going to use a blue wave pattern. Now I've been very honest, I've used blue egg patterns up on the Salmon River for salmon with a blue egg, artificial egg with a blue tint to it. Not only yourself. I wasn't using and this guy he insisted. I said, See see what? They're all small fish out there rising? He says. I said no, no, there's some big fish out there too. No, no, no, I'm going to use the buoy. I'm gonna get the big ones of First of all, I didn't know how to fish it fish the egg. He fished it. So was just under the surface and flew eggs bumps along the bottom. I said you're not fishing, right? Don't tell me how to fish. What am I here for? Well, then he started getting pretty obnoxious. You don't know what you're doing. You don't know what you're doing. And he kept that up and got worse. Right across. The hall was on the other side. There were two young guys. And they were fishing. And everyone's what I hear what I'm saying. I got one. And then pretty soon the other guy I got what? I can see what they're doing. They're efficient on top, probably using the cannons and you're getting fish left and right. And he's a good kisser getting fish. Why aren't I? I said well, because you're using it. Single Leg. No, no blue. I go get him. Right. I want to go over there. He says. Okay, get the car, take Morocco over the bridge comeback. Put them there. Their kids have gone. Flies are still hatching. Fish are still rising. He's blue again. Because nothing over there. When they're over there. The bank is high behind him. So he couldn't cast as well. And he was getting hung up that got them even worse. I'm climbing. All right, I'm climbing trees on hooking him and getting brought up to here with him. He's up there with me beginning. So he said I want to go back over where we were. I said, Okay, there we go back over. I said, How about change over like, nope, back to the blue egg. Now he starts getting nasty. He starts cursing, his tears cursing at me telling me I'm not worth this worth that. And I said, okay, good luck. I'll see you. I just start walking, if you can leave me I said, Watch me. He says, I'm not going to pay you. I explained to him, we're he could take care of the money. And he understood that. So I got the car left, went upstream fish the rest of the day by myself. They never saw or heard from again. But it was a case of and I say this 98% of the people I've had out just wonderful people, just wonderful people you have you get as you learn as much from some of them. Some of these people I've had out were real celebrities. They're very, very famous people that you know, and you'll learn awful often. Some of them are the nicest, nicest people you ever, ever want to meet, but majority of people are nice. There's been a couple of bad experience that was one. But usually you can you can kind of tell like your experience on the phone. And that's when Hank says you know, you should have said you were booked you should have actually I had one one time fellow guide, he was booked. So he said hey, you know, I got this trip going out last minute. It's a it's a full trip. So it's a full group and I said, Okay, you know, I have that weekend off. Let me take it what are they looking for? They know they you know, they want something with a view and they want something remote. Oh great. I'll take them up to the balsam, like fire tower and then we'll go you know, hike down. You know betrayal to the Fallbrook lean to nice remote area in there they come past, you know, the headwaters of the beaverkill. And so a group comes out there and they're taking the tags off of their, you know, backpacks that they just got in the mail that morning. I kind of had a feeling because every time I'd send a list of questions in the email, I would just get back more questions and no answers. And I finally had to, you know, Alright, who's in charge. So I'm not emailing everyone. And one guy said, I'll be in charge, I'll take care everything for the group. And the day before I had to buy the food. I said, you know, I need to know. Does anyone have any allergies? Or are there any dietary restrictions, I just want to make sure I'm not killing on anyone out here because of imbibe peanuts and the trail mix. And no one can happen. That could be a problem any so Okay, we have one vegetarian. And then there was eight more questions. Okay, I said, this is this is gonna be interesting. Maybe I got this one because he wasn't booked me got. So I'm going to show up, they get all brand new stuff. And I you know, I showed them on the map where we're going, I asked me to convert it to kilometers, because they're not familiar with miles. So you know, kind of do the rough math on an AC. That's great. So we went up to the fire tower, right, we're, you know, probably just about to turn off the old road there and go up hill, and they go. So how much further is it? And I said, Well, all right. So let's review the plan. Again, because we go up hill here, we still have to go all the way back to where the car is and hike another four miles to get to where we're sleeping. You go, oh, well, that's fine. But how much further? Is it? Okay, so you're not saying that because you're tired? Oh, no, we're tired. So do you want to see the view? We can camp up there? There's a place to camp up there? Oh, no, no, no, no. So you know, we go up there fire towers and lost kids, it was a weekend, they enjoy the view. And I knew it was good thing to get the view in because it was going to be rainy the rest of the weekend. So we stop at the lien two up on the mountain there. And I say, you know, we can we can sleep here? No, no, no, no, no, we really want to go to the other place. Is it? Okay, you know, that's gonna be four miles from when we get back to the car, which is, you know, oh, yeah, that's fine. So we get back to the car, pick up some extra supplies, because packs were fairly light going up there. And I knew I kind of had to trick them. So there's a couple of primitive campsites along the way. So we pass the first two, and we get to the third one. And I told them that it was the first one. And they said, Oh, geez, and I had been there just the week before. And I knew there was a bear in the area. So they're like, this is a great place to camp. And I said, well, let's just get some water here have some snacks, I've filtered some water. And the one guy who, you know was kind of the leader of the group was like, Why isn't this a good place to camp? I said, Well, aside from the fact that it's going to rain pretty heavily and it would be kind of money. You guys put look somebody's been here you see the grounds all disturbed? Nice. Like yeah, somebody's been here. They were digging for food. And he goes, Well, who would dig for food? I said a bear. And he goes, Okay, guys, I think we gotta go follow this guy to the other digging there, yeah. Just interesting, kind of trying to manage those expectations and draw them along a little bit further. But uh, you know, you recognize those clues from from that point on, I recognize this clues in correspondence with people and, you know, when you when you don't get clear, you know, responses back that's generally they're not on the same page. They've just locked on to this idea, this ideal experience that they want, and they're not listening to any of the information in between. Luckily, that group, I was able to get him back there. And they were surprised that I knew that it was going to rain the next day. They're like, how did you know what was going on? i It's my job. I need to know things we're going to face out here. And I knew it was going to be this rainy this. So we don't have to leave the lien to today. So you don't have to if you don't want to they're like, great and they all went right back in their sleeping bags. All right, I said, I said I'll be over here tending the fire you, you let me know or sure short story from a high note about why I live here and why I'm a dried two day trip on the beaverkill with a gentleman that was a president of a bank in Florida. more money than anybody. He really had a lot of money or nice, fanciest anyway, on on the second day, he said I have to be out here at noon, because the chauffeurs come in to pick them up and take him to the airport in Sullivan County where his jets waiting to take him back to a meeting. So I said okay, about 1130 We have to go in 15 minutes or so. He said I'm just going to sit here. And the man sat on a rock in the middle of the beaverkill. And I kind of went into the woods a little bit got out of his way. Come back out later on. And I said sir, we have to go and he says to me, I envy you. You'll be back here tomorrow. Well, that's a wonderful way to end because I really think it's marvelous how much effort you all put into sharing the outdoors with the public. And obviously, sometimes some people are more grateful than others. Better, you brought a few things to share here, you did show until and then we'll break up for cookies. And okay. So right behind you here, yeah. If you would. So the first thing I brought is your classic guides pack. And actually, I had an opportunity to meet and make this pack with Beth you many, many years ago, I brought it because it is your quintessential experience is, in the old days, when you would go out with a guy. To me it reminds it goes back that 120 some odd years when you had the big money out of Saratoga, and Albany in New York City there by huge tracts of property up in the Adirondacks. And then they would hire an architect and engineer and then all the locals to build this beautiful home, which will be called a great camp in those great camps is where a lot of the original guides came from. Because these great camps had to be staffed, they had their caretakers, and they had their fancy cooks, and they had their housekeepers and their landscape people. But they also then had someone in the downtime, take the families that were up there for three weeks in the summer, to take them out for that exceptional experience. And what you would see unconditionally is they have their own guide boat that they made by hand, and they have a pack basket look like this. You were you were cared for in every small step of the way. And most locally, I can tell you, there's a beautiful trail that is on private property that goes up to one of our high peaks. It's also called the step trail or the ladies trail. It's also called the doctor trail. And that was the guides last name. So back in the late 1800s. Here in Chandi. Again, we had a guide, who took the time and the pains to build this step trail up this mountain. And the steps are perhaps this deep, because back in the day, when you had the women wearing the high collared dress, the high boots, and the multiple petticoats, how difficult that would be they couldn't be taken these even average steps, they could only master these small steps. And there was a step trail built all the way to just off the summit of this peak, just intentionally for these that kind of company. So above 3600 feet, there's actually an old spring, that is still it's hand dug its hand laid up with stone, and it's still totally locatable, and portable. I was just there the other day, it's a pretty special place. So we still have tangible evidence of guides out there. I brought this to remind people of the history that's parallel with the New York State guides history is really does history of the New York State Forest Preserve, which we are so surrounded by here, about 72% of the land in the town of shandaken is New York State land, and it is all protected. It's all forever wild. And the boundary lines are painted there first blazed about DBH diameter breast height. And then it's painted yellow. And that's one of my jobs was to paint those boundary lines. And this is actually article 14, which is of the New York State Constitution. And basically it says and I will read it the lands of the state now owned or hereafter acquired constituting the Forest Preserve, as now fixed by law shall be forever kept as wild forest plants. And that's article 14. It comes again along its parallels the history of the New York State guides. So that's what I want to share with you. Those are my props. Well, thank you all very much for coming. Spending some time on this beautiful day. This event was made possible with funds from the Ashok and watershed stream management program. Audio Recording by silver hollow audio. Cats cast is a production of silver hollow audio. Please be sure to subscribe wherever podcasts are found for free and automatic delivery every two weeks. Thanks to Beth Waterman for writing some of the intro material to this podcast and for hosting the live event. Until next time, you can find us on Insta grandma's cats cast. Thanks again to our local sponsors and to you our listeners for your contributions to the show. If you'd like to contribute, just click Support at cats cast.com. Until next time, I'm bredbury Thanks for listening 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai