Jen Zahorchak‘s essay “Turtle Crossing” is a humorous, informative and entertaining entry in the Champlain Area Trails Travel Writing Contest. Zahorchak and her family moved to the Champlain Valley to get away from the negatives of city life and get closer to nature. She remarks that a turtle crossing sign helped them make the decision that their current house was the one meant for them.
Zahorchak uses an enthusiastic style to describe all of the positive aspects of living here in the North Country. Just being so close to nature is a huge plus in her book (and in mine)! There is a mouthwatering section in her essay where she describes the local food and mentions several of our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms. She also gives shout outs to many other local businesses and attractions such as Lakeside School, Live Well, the Whallonsburg Grange, and of course the Champlain Area Trails system (CATS).
Living surrounded by wilderness does not mean that our community is absent of culture. Zahorchak describes the myriad of options that are available to those who seek them out. She also obliquely references some of the more well-known successful residents of the Champlain Valley that are taking advantage of our beautiful home to further show that the small town stereotype is untrue. See if you can figure out who she is referring to!
Snapping Turtles in the Boquet River
I am pretty sure the turtle pictured in the accompanying photo is a snapping turtle. For those of you who don’t know–they bite! That one looks pretty small (and young), but I’ve heard that adults can lock on to a hand or foot and of course it’s painful, but also sometimes a lot of work to get it to let go. The adults can get pretty big and some very ugly.
When I was a child I was camping and caught a baby turtle that was a little bigger than the size of a kiwi. It was a snapping turtle, but thankfully much too small to hurt me. I thought I needed to save it because it was so young, so I kept it for a short time, and had it live in a litter box with some water. I don’t remember what I fed it, which makes me think I had it only about a week or I would have accidentally killed it…My grandma brought me out to the Boquet River near where I found it, and we let it go free.
Read the excerpt from Zahorchak’s essay below that sums up her points quite well. Also be sure to read it in full and check out the other stories in the contest. So is this the best for last? You decide! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite to win a $250 prize! May 31st is the last day to vote, so go do so quickly!
“…Some of us have been here for generations, some of us came to farm, or raise families or reconnect with the simpler things in life. Though our backgrounds are diverse, we have more commonalities than differences. Trust prevails. People are warm, kind, family oriented, forward thinking, and clever. Perhaps there is magic in this valley that attracts only goodies? Perhaps the CATS trails have woven a spell around us, holding us in their web of beauty. Or perhaps these people made lists just like ours, and didn’t give up until they found a home that was just so. Whatever the reason, between these people and this place, we have everything we need. We came for the wilderness but we stayed for the community. And the turtles.” [Continue reading "Turtle Crossing."]
- Snapper Snaps (tcllamas.wordpress.com)
- Vote in CATS Travel Writing Contest (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Valley of the Porcupines (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Celebrate Champlain Area Trails on June 2 (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Just Some of the Reasons Why I Love the North Country (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- A Local’s Look at The Dirty Life (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Best Kept Secret in Essex (essexonlakechamplain.com)