“I was thinking about the lagoon in Central Park...I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over. I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something.”
-Holden Caulfield, The Catcher In the Rye
Since my very first visit to the Lake Champlain Region, I’ve heard about Champ — our favorite local resident lake monster. As winter has crept in (and out, and in, and out again, and then back in…), my literary brain couldn’t help but think of the above words spoken by Holden Caulfield, America’s most annoying teenager that we hate to love and love to hate.
For those of you who either need a refresher or have never read this J.D. Salinger 1950s classic, here is the one-sentence synopsis: a teenager named Holden gets kicked out of his prep school for having bad grades and, rather than go home and get into trouble with his parents, wanders the streets of New York City, desperately searching for some form of companionship in order to feel less alone while simultaneously being rude and complaining to everyone he meets. There you go — that’s the entire book in a nutshell. (Shameless confession: as I get older, I love Holden more and more).
During Holden’s travels, he thinks about the ducks often seen on the pond in Central Park. Holden asks anyone and everyone where the ducks go in the winter when the pond freezes over (which, naturally, is Holden's way of asking if the ducks are okay once they lose their sense of home in order to find out if HE will be okay now that HE has lost his sense of home).
With the ice forming along the shoreline of Lake Champlain, Holden's worries play in my mind as I think of our dear friend Champ and where he goes when the lake freezes over. The only natural decision was to reach out to the world to see what they thought. Here are some of our favorite answers from our team at ROOST and friends of our greater Adirondack community:
Champ bundles up and goes sightseeing around the Ausable Chasm, cocoa in hand!
Janelle Jones (Content Coordinator at ROOST)
The scientist in me says Champ acts like a fish and spends his/her winters along the bottom of the lake. As a cold-blooded creature, Champ's metabolism slows way down when the temperature drops, so the elusive lake monster spends its winter laying low at the bottom where the warmer water goes as the lake cools higher up the water column.
Glenn Pareira (Advertising Sales and Service Coordinator at ROOST)
He goes to Scotland to visit his second cousin, the Loch Ness Monster!
Eric Adsit (Videographer at ROOST)
Champ swims deep into the lake and makes a nest in the shipwrecks where he hibernates. He’s like a hermit crab; the bigger he grows, the bigger the ship!
Champ grabs his trusty crampons and a headlamp before hiking up Coon Mountain to watch the sunset.
Savannah Doviak (Special Projects and Whiteface Regional Marketing Manager at ROOST)
Champy meets Loch Ness half way in Iceland to enjoy hot springs with the elves and trolls.
He obviously spends his winters at Bridgeview Harbour Marina. It's right near his summer home in Bulwagga Bay!
I believe he stays under the frozen water or heads North! Think he’s smart enough to stay clear of us! That’s why he’s still around! Keep up the good work Champ! I hope we never find you!
Beside a warm fire after running in the snow!
Skiing in the Whiteface Region!
Jay Bennet (Data Analyst at ROOST)
Everybody knows she winters in Monstropolis.
And finally...*drum roll*...here are my thoughts about our dear friend, Champ:
Champ enjoys some holiday self-care and takes some time for himself. He loves going birding with his favorite pair of binoculars in Crown Point. He then swims north to Westport where he enjoys beer and cider tasting at the Ledge Hill Brewing Co. When the weekend arrives, Champ continues his journey north to the Essex Inn where he enjoys a cozy stay at any of the eleven available rooms. His favorite thing to do is cozy up by the fire while re-reading his worn paperback copy of Book of Sea Monsters by Nigel Suckling and Bob Eggelton. When he gets hungry, he moseys down to The Tavern at the Inn to his dinner reservation for one, sampling the delicious, ever-changing offerings on their menu while sipping on a glass of wine. At least that's what I hope Champ is doing, because it sounds delightful!
Wherever your winter adventures across Lake Champlain take you, keep your eyes peeled for Champ during your next getaway!