I’m on another Hobbit Adventure, traveling through and filling in some blank areas on my own personal internal map of the world. I am guiding 23 teenagers on a 3 day canoe trip across Lake George! It’s an amazing sunny warm day, the kind of day summer is supposed to be full of, but this summer has been miserly on delivering. Excitement reigns everywhere, bubbling out of all the participants, babbling into the clear blue sky and sparkling blue water. Loaded down with camping gear, we pull off the beach and paddle into the mayhem that is Lake George: wind, sun, colors, and sounds accost us from all the pleasure boats, motor boats, pontoon boats, tour boats, boats dragging para-sails into the clear bright sky, boats flinging water skiers tither and yon, jet skis whizzing, and multi-million dollar waterfront mansions in private developments. Here we are, bobbing up and down on the whims of the waves, watching the world go by slowly, to the rhythm of canoe paddle blades slooshing through the water.
After dinner, with more than an hour before sunset, and few hours before darkness, we load the canoe and drive to Colgate Lake. It has been a few years since my husband and I have been in our wedding canoe together, but this is a perfect opportunity. Summer solstice, longest day of the year! We carry the boat to the water, hop in, and gently paddle away into the sunset. It is slightly breezy on the quite lake as we paddle out to the middle where I turn around in my seat so we are facing each other. We float and talk, listen to the birds, insects, and frogs, look for fish and turtles, and watch the glowing yellow sun slowly descend through a cloudless pale blue sky behind the western ridge line. We are on the far side of the lake, now where sunlight still touches the water, back where we started is in the first evening shadow. Peaceful, and tranquil, we paddle back across the lake. As we are loading the canoe back on the car for the short drive home and white tailed deer bounds across the path, enters the trees, then turns to watch us a while before walking into the grassy field on the other side of the trees. A perfect Solstice paddle for the first day of summer!
Rainy wet day in the Adirondacks, we are herding 60 some odd high school senior girls from New York City down a slow moving section of the Hudson River. They are having a lifetime adventure and loving every minute of it! I am the sweep boat, making sure everyone is accounted for and goes where they are supposed to go. My long green kayak is sitting on a rock bar that juts way out on the inside of a meandering curve in the river. I had to run across the bar to the other side of an island to help a couple of canoes get unstuck and back on course. Walking back to my own boat on the ankle to knee deep rushing water I start noticing the cobbles I am traversing. Wow! So many colors, shapes, sizes, and crystalline structures! I start picking some up for a better look, and get totally absorbed in the amazing variety of rocks surrounding me. A few minutes later, back at my boat, I drop several large heavy specimens into a cargo compartment and hope they don’t shift while I’m paddling. Grey and white marble with green streaks corners smoothed round, egg shaped granite with sparkling mica, quartz with large sharp crystals. I send encouraging words to the girls floating by as I climb back in my boat to help to next girls stuck on the cool rocks!