The Adirondacks

I left Friday morning. My company for this trip to the Adirondacks is, as per usual my friend John Burroughs. “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs

I need to get up to the Adirondacks at least twice every year. The peace and solitude which I find in the mountains is the peace I need to recharge my batteries. I run into few people. My cell phone does not work and I am reliant on the solitude which this time alone offers me.

After a 20-minute drive from Indian Lake to Long Lake, I stopped at the Long Lake Diner for breakfast. Where else can you have an amazing breakfast of toast, omelet, freshly made home fries, coffee and a to-go coffee for less than $10?
diner

After breakfast, I drove to Tupper Lake and then on to Saranac Lake taking in the sights as I drove slowly through each town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later I arrived at the Village of Lake Placid. I usually bypass this area unless I am with someone who has never been. Instead, I stopped by the Olympic Training Center and ski jumpstopped by the ski jumps. The weather was so beautiful it made sense to take the elevator to the top to the 120 meter (394′) jump. The panoramic views are always amazing and when the skies are blue and the sun is shining, it is even more beautiful.

panorama

The next stop on the round trip is Whiteface Mountain. Unfortunately, at this late time of year, the  Veterans Memorial Highway to the summit is closed. It is closed during the winter because frankly, it’s just too unsafe to drive when it is covered with snow.  At its steepest, the grade reaches 8%. It was snowing at Whiteface just two weeks earlier.

As one approaches the base of the mountain one is met with another of the beautiful wonders of the Adirondacks., the Ausable River. I love to fly fish and find myself enamored with the peace of the cast. I watched this fisherman almost 30-minutes, lost in the silence which is fly fishing. On occasion, I’ll take my fly rod out and practice my cast.fisherman

“But I early learned that from almost any stream in a trout country the true angler could take trout and that the great secret was this, that, whatever bait you used, worm, grasshopper, grub, or fly, there was one thing you must always put upon your hook, namely, your heart: when you bait your hook with your heart the fish always bite; they will jump clear from the water after it; they will dispute with each other over it; it is a morsel they love above everything else. With such bait, I have seen the born angler (my grandfather was one) take a noble string of trout from the most unpromising waters, and on the most unpromising day.” – John Burroughs

waterfallsLast stop of the day was over to the Ausable Chasm. This is one of those areas when I would stop regardless of the time of year to bask in the beauty. If one keeps one’s eyes open, one can see many different things.

My planning this year suffered. The leaves were not only past peak but many of the trees had already shed their leaves in preparation for their winter slumber. There were, if one was to look, trees which held onto their leaves as if waiting for my arrival. “How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” – John Burroughs

ausable fall“The longer I live, the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and the wonder of the world.” – John Burroughsausable fall1
One of my favorite quotes from “The Art of Seeing Things” is this quote from Mr. Burroughs. “Love sharpens the eye, the ear, the touch; it quickens the feet, it steadies the hand, it arms against the wet and the cold. What we love to do, that we do well. To know is not all; it is only half. To love is the other half.” ― John Burroughs

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The Long Weekend

I greet you with both hands clasped together in gratitude.

I’m here. I arrived at my home away from home yesterday, the Adirondacks. I came “home” because I needed time to rebalance my life. This is the place where it is easiest for me. My phone does not usually work and there are many miles of hiking/running trails to be had within a few minutes drive.

adk

Puterko’s pizza was not to be had. The owners decided to take an ill-timed vacation. Their vacation was ill-timed in that I love this pizza and look forward to eating some slices when I arrive here. NY style pizza with the thinnest of crusts and delicious!!

I woke Saturday morning with the idea of revisiting some places within the Adirondack Park which I had not visited in several years. I look forward to fall every year. There is something magical in the colors which begin to slowly appear on the leaves of the trees which blanket the countryside. These same leaves, soon will fall from their perch and blanket the ground in those same bright colors. Those same colors will soon begin to fade and they will be forgotten with the first snow.

Henry David Thoreau says it best in his description of fall. “October is the month of painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year nears its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.” – Henry David Thoreau

trees

My first stops were Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. I stopped at one of my favorite put-ins on the Middle Saranac Lake and reminisced about past paddles on this lake. I stopped in Lake Placid for a quick visit. There is much history in this town with both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics being held. After a brief walk through town and a stop at a bookstore, I remembered what I struggle with when I visit this town. That memory was brought to the front of my memory when outside a wine store was a white Ferrari. Now I hold nothing against this beautiful car or its owner who I do not even know. It is the attitude of many of the visitors, visitors such as these with which I struggle. I took my book and made my way back to my car with a new destination in mind. As I walked, I enjoyed the light rain which fell giving the area a fresh scent.

As I walked briskly along the sidewalks in Lake Placid, this small town for which I have a love/hate relationship, I found anxiety beginning to rise. I needed to leave, to travel down the road and away from the throngs of people. I needed to return to the woods and the cathedral which is the woods with its silence and brilliant colors displayed for all who wish to see. Thoreau said, “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” I could not agree with this more.

I traveled to Whiteface Mountain and marveled at its beauty. The summit of the mountain was bathed in fog as the rain which has accompanied me since the start of this trip, remained. It was this rain and the accompanying temperatures which brought the fog. More beautiful memories were made this day. I remained at the base of the mountain not wanting to take the time to travel to its summit as “a lot of snow” was being forecast later in the day. Not to mention, I had a strong desire to return to the Ausable Chasm. I haven’t seen the chasm in all of it’s fall glory in several years and this was a sight I did not want to miss. Whiteface was otherwise bathed in the beautiful but fading colors of fall. The colors, had I arrived a week earlier and the sun had been shining would have been even more delightful to behold. Regardless, their beauty did captivate me. Several times I stopped in pull offs along the Ausable River to snap photos and to write in my journal.

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Not to mention, I had a strong desire to return to the Ausable Chasm. I haven’t seen the chasm in all of its fall glory in several years and this was a sight I did not want to miss. Whiteface was otherwise bathed in the beautiful but fading colors of fall. The colors had I arrived a week earlier and the sun had been shining would have been even more delightful to behold. Regardless, their beauty did captivate me. Several times I stopped in pull offs along the Ausable River to snap photos and to write in my journal.

journal

ausable

Driving back to Indian Lake from Ausable found rain continuing to fall. As I neared my final destination of the day, the rain became heavier and had begun to transform into sleet. Within several minutes the transformation was complete and it had begun to snow. My first snow of the year. I retired to my room to eat dinner, read and write. I heard a sound outside my window which carried with it the eerie feeling that winter in my neck of the woods would not be far behind. That sound was a plow clearing the street.

snow

On my solo drive home from the Adirondacks, I think about my return to my office feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. I think about getting into a car again Friday evening, this time with company and traversing the highways as we travel to South Bend, Indiana to watch the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame take on Miami University.

go-irish

Namaste