Monday, April 18, 2016

Unity at NCRC's Wilderness First Aid/CPR Refresher

North Creek Rafting Company (NCRC) works together to simulate CPR on a backboard. 
Several guides carry me and a mannequin while I perform chest compressions and Nate performs rescue breaths.
What a team! Thanks to Rick and Gretchen for sharing their rescue expertise.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A New Stairway to Check-In

North Creek Rafting Company's 10th year on the re-purposed farm seems like heaven to me.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Another Birthday Surprise - Puppy Pictures!

The Olberts surprised me with puppy pictures for my birthday!
One of these pups was baby Esther two years ago.
Is that Esther escaping? She was the runt of the litter but the first to do everything including escape.
Is that Esther?
Mica, the pups' mom, hops away for some time alone.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

40th Birthday Full of Surprises

How did he do it? How did Nate pull off a surprise 40th birthday party for me? Photos taken by Allegra Boverman
My old pal Wayne Failing made the trek to the Garnet Hill Lodge.
This is the moment I realized Thunderbody was playing the party.
Friends came from all over the Adirondack Park.
Guide Jason and his wife Kristen

Chris made a rare appearance with Thunderbody for the party. He usually plays with Giant Panda.
A special guest played the trumpet.
Noah controlled the sound board.

Danced with my moms

Eventually a maple bed called a small friend.
Betsy enjoyed rafting footage from one of our recent Grand Canyon voyages.
Nate surprised me by creating more edited videos from our Grand Canyon voyages.
Nate, you're the best!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ellie May Pelton 8/1/2001 - 3/15/2016

Ellie May, Ellie May, I Love You Ellie May. Ellie May You're My Best Friend. Yeah Ellie May, Ellie May    

"I explained to St. Peter I'd rather stay here,
Outside the Pearly Gate.
I won't be a nuisance, I won't even bark, 
I'll be very patient and wait.
I'll be here chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be. 
I'd miss you too much if I went in alone,
It wouldn't be heaven for me. " 
- Author Unknown

Ellie's final swim in North Creek, October 2015

On August 1, 2001, Jerry Garcia's birthday, a sleek "Shady" lady gave birth to thirteen multicolored puppies. The brown one with the pure ice cream-white patch on her chest and white toes was Ellie. There was another silky brown baby, solid brown though. The rest of the litter was a combination of yellow, onyx and gold sprinkled with white. These pups were born in North River along the Hudson. We scooped up Ellie at a tiny 7 weeks old and paddled across Thirteenth Lake in a canoe. Big Jed rode in between the thwarts with baby Ellie snuggled in a towel. We stopped at Elizabeth Point and watched Ellie take her first steps with her new family as Big Jed took dip after dip in the lake.

As Ellie grew so did her fur and love for the outdoors. She began swimming in any body of water as well as rafting. Puddles, ponds, lakes, creeks, and rivers that weren't frozen were all fair game for Ellie. It's hard to know what Ellie loved more - swimming in any water or running while we cross country skied. I bet Ellie and I skied somewhere between five hundred and a thousand times together. On rare days her feathered brown arms would attract snow balls the size of grapefruits. Her dad, Nate, groomed her fur often which was a challenge given it's length and her daily swims. Ellie loved raw carrots and broccoli. She loved berries of all varieties and would pluck them from bushes with her fox-like face.

I do know Ellie loved being in her yard best. She'd lay outside all day when possible. She never wore a collar and spent the last decade of her life like a free range chicken outside our farmhouse. She loved listening to the birds and watching the "black cats of North Creek" sneak by as she lay with one eye open ruling her yard. Ellie had the mane of a lion, a face like a fox, feathers of a bird, the grace of a butterfly and was as innocent as a porcupine. Her webbed feet were like fireworks exploding with fur.

The strangest thing happened as she lay on her death Paco Pad. Rondeau, our tuxedoed hermit cat, walked right over top of her a few times and sat nearby often. As I slumbered with her on the floor our last night together, I dreamt of a fox being followed by a cat. A deceased porcupine lay in my path after I said goodbye to Ellie after 14 and a half years together. Despite the hard blow this was, Ellie wants me to trust my heart to love animals as much as I love Ellie. As much as Ellie taught me how to live and love, she helped me embrace the dying process. I made the experience beautiful by being fully present for her with dim light, soft music, fresh water every trial with towels all around to lean on and elevate her head. Through it all I always knew what she wanted and needed. Ellie always wanted to be touched and cuddled. I repositioned her when necessary and soothed her with Bach's Rescue Remedy and Young Living's Stress Away. On March 15, 2016, Phil Lesh's birthday, Ellie "flew away".

Nate and I will think of Ellie often especially when spring rafters soon arrive. Many will ask about her. Ellie was our mascot and greeter. Her dream day was being mauled by rafters on a bus ride to the put-in followed by a raft ride down the Hudson. Ellie's entertained more rafters than most guides. When I think of the past, it is with gratitude for the joyous times Ellie and I had together. When I think of the future, it is with faith that life will bring such joy my way again. Esther now wears the brown crown.

Please read Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Cats and Dogs for help caring for your furry friends.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Keeping Up With The Big Dogs

My canine girls and I had a walking date. Photos by Alex Morland
Ellie covered a lot of ground.
Esther covered ten times as much territory as anyone on the walk.
Lamb Chop, in a dapper sweater, looked like a mini-dog near big, dark Stanley. Lamby's wardrobe is vast, see below, and that's just his winter attire!
Keeping up with the big dogs ....
....  and Lamby's a done chop.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Norman's Kill

Image result for len tantillo pen and ink bradt
Len Tantillo's pen and ink drawing of the old Bradt Sawmill on Norman's Kill
 A few weeks ago I was inspired by Long Lake Central School's fourth grade teacher Mary LeBlanc
 to create a meaningful lesson about the Hudson River for her students. Mary gave me the related Common Core vocabulary and simply said, "I want the lesson to be fun". I decided to create a game called "I have .... Who has?" and it took me all evening. I'd played this game with her class when they were in second and third grade with Nichole Meyette and they loved it. The game's content was the story of my family's history with the Hudson River. I am typing of the BRADT family history. BRADT is Norwegian for "steep". I climbed a steep incline staying awake well past my bedtime to discover my Norwegian roots. 

Before I married Nate and took the name Pelton, my name was Rebecca Bradt. I grew up in a suburb immediately south of Albany. Like many children, I was oblivious to the rich history around me. My Grandma and Grandpa raised my dad on the south-side of the bridge that travels over Norman's Kill and connects Albany to a suburb called Bethlehem. They lived within a short distance from the old yellow cobblestone path still exposed and winding toward the creek. That's about all I remember about this important area. That does not mean that's all I was told. I regret to type I must not have absorbed all I could have from Grandma.

When compiling content for the game "I have ... Who has?", I googled the name of the oldest BRADT ancestor I know, Albert Andriessen Bradt. Albert (1607-1686) was one of the earliest Norwegian settlers in New Netherland. In the early records he is often referred to as Albert "Norman". I was astounded to find so much written about him online. I surfed around to find out as much as I could about the man who brought my family to the banks of the Hudson in 1637. Come to find out they traveled on a ship called the Renssaelerwyck. Check out the ship's log I found at:

The BRADTS left New Netherland in September 1636. Albert's third child was born in a storm along the way and named Storm Van Der Zee, meaning "storm of the sea". They arrived at the mouth of the Hudson River in March of 1637. The ice in the river forced them to stay around Manhattan until the river thawed in April. On the 7th of April they made it to their final destination, Fort Orange, in present day Albany. Albert eventually moved to the banks of a creek to run a sawmill and attempt to grow tobacco. The creek was called "Tawasentha" (an Iroquois word for a place of the many dead) and came to be called "Norman's Kill". "Norman" is Dutch for Norwegian. "Kill" is Dutch for creek. I was surprised to discover the first tributary that pours into the Hudson River south of Albany was named after my Norwegian ancestor.

Last week I traveled to the sight of the old sawmill. My dad, mom, Nate and I meandered the grounds in the dry frigid winter air along the creek. There's an old foundation still standing. We walked around it. My dad didn't think it was the foundation of the sawmill. He flashed back to almost sixty years ago when he delivered newspapers to the house that stood where he believed the sawmill was. Now it's a parking lot surrounded by woods. We shivered as we read the plague about Normans Kill Farm. The farm is currently the largest cooperative garden plot within the city of Albany. Norman's Kill is 45 miles in length and empties into the Hudson River. It's the largest tributary to the Hudson in Albany County. The daydreaming began. I hope to traverse this kill or as much of it as I can on a warm spring day when the water is rushing and most thrilling.

 Read more about Norman's Kill at: