It took a while, after a long hard winter, but Spring finally arrived at the end of April. For a while, it looked like we weren’t going to be able to get out to the field on time, and even if we did manage to get out there, getting on the lakes would require an icebreaker. Fortunately, the ice broke up during the third week of April, and there were some warmer temperatures to help things dry out. As the Memorial Day weekend approached, the “bad thing” about spring in the Adirondacks appeared: Black flies.
Anyone who has lived up here will tell you about them, and yes, they are even worse than mosquitoes. They don’t carry the disease that mosquitoes do, but repellents generally are not effective against them. This past weekend was an education for a lot of first-time tourists up here, and the local hardware stores were doing a booming business selling bug nets. I know all the bad things about DDT and other insecticides, but more than a few of us wistfully wish we could carpet bomb the area with them around this time. It’ll be another couple of weeks before they finally disappear until next year.
On another gripe, one of the assumptions I’ve been seeing a lot of web sites – particularly news sites – make is that everyone is just begging to watch videos in addition to reading the text. It’s annoying even on my home system, where I don’t have a data cap, but out in the field where I do have one on both my internet connection and cell phone, it’s beyond that. It eats up that data faster than anything, and there’s not a good way to shut down the video or the ads that go along with them. As a result, the days when I used to check the news and sports when I’m staying out in the field are now gone. It’s too expensive to add to the already large cost.
A final gripe, there’s been a “rebranding” around here. The Adirondack Museum has decided to rebrand itself as “The Adirondack Experience: The Museum in Blue Mountain Lake,” along with changing its logo. This has gone over like a lead balloon with not only the locals, but apparently with a lot of donors. When you’ve had almost 60 years of building a reputation as one thing, a change like this isn’t going to be very successful, except for the marketing group that came up with it. To top it all off, the “Adirondack Experience” web site already existed, it belongs to the Hamilton County tourism bureau, so they had to change to something that no one is going to remember. I give it about a year or so before they change it back.