It ain't all pavement in New York


Don Barone

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” 

John Muir

Dateline:  Upper Upstate New York

I’ll be honest I’ve never been big on being out there inside the outside, prefer conditioned air to fresh air, carpet to grass, trees in the form of chairs and doors.

Sorry, it’s the truth.

For years I got all the nature I ever needed in the weekly email for Nat Geo.

I grew up on pavement and parking lots, we had a little town park next to the town pool, it had a couple trees, two picnic tables and several dozen semi hidden make-out spots.  It was all of the outside I could handle.

Or needed.

Rode a 650cc Triumph Bonneville Chopper from San Francisco to Miami Beach once, had enough of the outside for a lifetime.  Saw two eagles, several hundred cows, and one UFO, I’m good with out there.

Sleep by the side of the road on the ground in the desert and you get nature, and nature gets you back.

Then, Came, B.A.S.S.!

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”

Joseph Campbell

B.A.S.S. forced me into out there.  I’ve covered NFL playoff games where I wore so many layers of clothing it took me a halftime just to get down to the base level at the urinal, I’ve also covered those games in a dome stadium where I wore a sweater as the only layer.

Upon coming to B.A.S.S. first thing I checked was the schedule, no domes, great.

I’ve been rained on sideways, I was once rained on so hard the rain came from the ground up on me, how is that possible, or legal.

Do you have any idea what “dime size hail” feels like on a bald head…I do.  Steve Kennedy once told me “don’t move db there’s a tarantula by your right foot,” but it was so cold neither me or the extremely frightening animal bug thing could move, in fact I think it was standing next to me for warmth.  I don’t need to be a portable heater for prehistoric monsters.

Welcome this B.A.S.S. outdoors thing.

Here’s a truth, I was born and raised in the state of New York, always in the cities of New York State, Buffalo, three streets over the Buffalo city line in Kenmore, then, you know, back in Buffalo.

I saw New York State between the tolls of the New York State Thruway, with several hundred glimpses from every rest stop on the highway.  I was fine with that, but then way out there in the middle of the Thruway, B.A.S.S. made me actually EXIT the road.

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”  

William Shakespeare

Who knew, in between the thruway exits, it ain’t all pavement and parking lots.

To be honest I had never been in Upper Upstate New York until B.A.S.S. brought me here, several times now.

Let me give you some facts about where I’m at in case I get a bonus for being factual, but this is for all of you who think New York is just NYC, or to a few of my friends who think New York is just Manhattan.

Here we go:  

We are fishing, actually they are fishing, I’m writing and taking photos, in the shadows of the Adirondacks.  ADK Park can do this, it can fit all of New Jersey inside its borders, The Boardwalk and E Street Band included, and still have room for some of Delaware, somewhere.

It is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and Olympic parks COMBINED.  Oh, and it’s free to get in, which in New York state may qualify as a miracle.  You could stick over 400 Manhattan Islands in this place, but between me and you, it might ruin it but you could get a killer deli sandwich with a view.

And you know, they grow things out here too.

A QUARTER of New York State, is farmland.  Who knew.  Over 7 million acres, some 35,500 farms.  A million and a half heads, and the rest of the bodies, of cattle, which might be cows but I’m not up on farm terminology.

Dudes if you like apple pie this joint has 40,000 acres of apple trees which I’m told by a NYS Ag semi-spokesperson equals 14 trillion pies, or at least that’s what I think she said while laughing at my entirely serious question.

Ag folks are tough to pin down.  Also found out they somehow get $25-million dollars of Maple Syrup out of Maple trees, once again no figures break that out between how much bread comes from syrup as opposed to  those little brown maple leaf candy things.

I was also told they produce 14-BILLION pounds of milk, but when pressed to back up that number nowhere could I find whether the milk was weighed in glass bottles or the lighter waxed plastic cartons.

I’m telling you, AG people are like anglers when you try and get an actual weight or size measurement.