Hobbit Adventure

4-4-2018

After another visit with Squeaky, my husband and I decide to go for a drive down some roads neither of us have traveled before. We are actually looking for a nearby state park just for the fun of it, but without a map or GPS. We are just following our noses. The road follows a small busy burbling creek. I watch as the cold water hurriedly tumbles over rocks and logs. The stream and road diverge and we pass a wetland, still brown and grey from the past winter, but Red Wing Blackbirds dart unseen, but distinctively heard among the tall brown cattail stalks from last year. Past the bog, is a hemlock forest, dark and dense that gives way to a deciduous forest branches still bare, but with early spring forest floor plants poking their timid greenness up through the brown leaf litter. They will all flower and die back as the trees leaf out. We pass some houses with unique artsy alcoves and adornments, then a gated driveway with signs to discourage trespassing, then more forests and wetlands. Eventually we do find the park we were looking for and drive through, looking at all it has to offer. We want to come back on a warmer day to hike the trails and paddle the lake. Our little Hobbit Adventure was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon together.

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Blue Birds!

1-21-2018

Well, as you can imagine, there is a lot of anxiety associated with breaking a bone and with starting radiation therapy. This amount of internal anxiety gets expressed externally as odd, and depressive behaviors which leads to marital strife. After a angry and loud argument I took off in my car. My car is a stick shift, very hard to drive with one hand, but I didn’t care. I just needed to get away, feel the breeze in my hair, smell the fresh air, and calm down. I drove slowly, and stuck to the back roads. Started taking random turns down roads I had never traveled before. The air was warm for January, what’s left of the snow was melting, ice accumulating in the shadowy areas. I ended up on a one lane dirt road through state land on the back side of a mountain. Amazing hobbit adventure! It was like a small piece of West Virginia Appalachia had time warped to upstate New York. Driving through someone’s back field, last years tall summer grasses matted down into soggy brown boggy mud, an old split rail fence, falling apart and only still standing because that is what it has done for 100 years. A small movement caught my eye, I let the car roll to a stop and watched. Small birds darted up and over the fence, a flash of brilliant blue with a hint of a rust smear around the throat. Bluebirds????!!!! This early????!!!! I sat a watched until they had chased each other out of sight. Bluebirds, one of the first signs of spring. Exciting to see, but winter is only just getting started. It may feel and look like spring right now, but there will be much more snow and cold before winter lets us go.

 

Year In Review!

12-31-2017

2017 was generally a good year. Last December I decided my New Year’s Resolution for 2017 would be to have more adventures. I believe I have lived up to that resolution. When making it I knew that not all the adventures would be grand ones. I wanted to have small adventuress, ones that happen in every day life that make it interesting, fun, and stimulating. Of course when one is purposely trying to find new experiences, looking for Hobbit Adventures, one runs into misadventures as well, and there have been some of those too.

The adventures stared last December when I cut my hair, yes it was an adventure for me (my hair was waist length and had not been cut since 1994), and that set the tone for the year! I now have a shaggy pixie bob which I still love a year later.

Next I started Flippin’ Gypsy on Etsy. I make colorful, whimsical, scarves, hats, jewelry, and decorations. I have only sold one thing so far, but I’m having fun with it. I have a ton of ideas too, so I’ll keep it going this year.

Other small adventures include: this daily blog, becoming a snowshoe guide for Windham Mountain, raft guiding for Beaver Brook Outfitters, and moving my summer base camp to their property. As a Beaver Brook guide I did several overnight trips in the Hudson Gorge, staying at campsites I had never camped at before, guided a paddle trip across Lake George, one across Sacandaga Lake then hiking to Fawn Lake, one from Blue Mountain Lake to Raquette Lake and hiking into Sargent Pond from Tioga Point, working at the Thurman Canoe Center and guiding several paddle trips down the Hudson from there, guiding a high water trip down the “Lower Gorge” of the Hudson (a section I had never seen before), and guiding a raft trip down the Sacandaga River. I made some wonderful new friends and rekindled some old friendships working there as well.

Other small adventures include, in no particular order: all the solo walks, hikes, and paddles, seeing the middle of Kaaterskill Falls, seeing North South Lake frozen, hiking to Westkill Falls with my husband, paddling Brown’s Tract with my friend, paddling Lake Durant, checking out several state parks I had never been in for paddling potential, bike riding with my mother, jumping off the big rock into the creek, breaking trail in 3 feet of fresh snow with snowshoes, riding the chairlift, buying my own snow pants, playing in the waterfall at the end of South Inlet on Raquette Lake, jumping off the big rock on Blue Mountain Lake, knitting everybody’s holiday gifts, snuggling with the cats, lounging in the hammock in the sun with absolutely nothing to do, hammock camping (the best!), planting and harvesting the garden, walking across the trestle at Railroad Rapid (no trains on this track), participating in a protest march in New York City, practicing yoga on the porch every morning before rafting, seeing a moose at my tent twice, inheriting a raft and two duckies and using them, doing flips off jump rock on the Hudson trip, and many many more!

The three grand adventures were the whirlwind trip south for July 4th to run the Shenandoah with friends I hadn’t seen in over 10 years, the raft guide reunion on Blue Mountain Lake, and the epic trip to South Carolina to see the total solar eclipse with my sister which included kayaking from the swamp out to the ocean.

Misadventures, preventable: twisting my ankle while rafting back in June (still not back to normal yet), scraping my foot on a rock while swimming in July which didn’t heal until September when I quit getting my feet wet (left a cool scar), burning my foot with boiling water while camping in September (also scarred), getting eaten alive by insects in SC (I broke down and bought some actual Deet repellent), receiving several tic bites and having to go get the Lyme prevention antibiotic, all the times I froze my tush off in the rain because I wasn’t dressed warm enough, getting slightly lost in the woods on top of Windham Mountain while solo snowshoeing in a snow storm as night was falling, almost flipping my raft in a hydraulic in high water and having half my guests swim.

Misadventures, beyond control: having the well water go red and silty all spring and summer (I carted water from the Adirondacks home every week for us to drink), loosing my grandfather last August at 96 years old, I love him and miss him, being diagnosed with breast cancer and then lumpectomy surgery to remove it (early detection saved my life!), and getting bronchitis 3 times in 3 months.

So now that 2018 is here, I think I will keep a good thing going, my resolution for 2018 is to keep having adventures, take the back roads, try new things, take a walk on the wild side, keep life stirring, lively, provocative, intoxicating, groovy, and full of zest. Even the little things in life are worth enjoying!

Windham Path

12-22-2017 Magic Moment:

After work I took a quick jaunt over to the Windham path. I had noticed the parking area a couple of years ago, but hadn’t yet checked out the path itself. A few weeks ago, my husband and I were in town at a store and saw that part of the path went through the field behind the shopping area. So today I decided to go see it for myself. It was a cold, grey, and blustery day, spitting snowflakes from the surrounding dark mountains like projectiles. The sun had set some time ago and darkness was slowly falling. The path winds over a field, through a small wooded patch, and then along a creek. I did not walk the whole two and a half miles because the temperature was dropping and the the weather was deteriorating rather quickly, both of which I wasn’t really prepared for. It is a good walking or dog walking trail, with a wide crushed stone path, gentle grades, and pastoral views. I do want to come back again and walk the whole thing. It could be a nice alternative to the walk I do up the road and back at my house, easy to do after work as it is just down the road from the ski slope. Just need to dress warmer and bring a head lamp!

Rail Trail

11-24-2017 Magic Moment:

Went to the doctor this morning at my husband’s insistence (he is tired of my coughing waking us up at night). I’ve had a lingering infection since the surgery, I was hoping it would go away on its own, but its been weeks now, and I’m sick of using the inhaler several times a day. Yep, bronchitis again. This time I’m taking a steroid along with the antibiotic. I think I can kick it this time.

So this afternoon,got my snow tires put on today. We have a tire guy in Grand Gorge and his garage is right next to the Rail Trail along the headwaters of the Delaware River. Although I have driven down this road to Roxbury a hundred times, I had never been on the trial before, so I decided to walk while waiting. Took some more pictures today too of the wetland while the steeply slanted cold yellow afternoon sun set behind the mountains. Again, I had the trail completely to myself and was able to focus on small usually unnoticed images up close and personal. I also found the curves of the steep valley walls to be impressive as they were thrown into dark purple shadow and silhouetted against the bright yellow sky where the sun was quickly disappearing. It is awesome to be able to go on impromptu walk-about hobbit adventures.

Lake George

7-18-2017

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.

Canadarago Lake

7-13-2017

On the way home, my husband wanted to visit a venue he would be photographing a wedding at in a couple of days. It was a historic old inn and restaurant on the shore of Canadarago Lake. Quiet and peaceful with a huge local colorful history, I could imagine the happiness of the bride and groom as they say their wedding vows looking out over this tranquil lake from the raised deck. When we have more time, I would like to come back and explore this lake by kayak or canoe, early morning or late evening when the animals and birds are active and the people are not. But for now, standing on the deck, smelling the damp earth and the clean water, feeling the crisp breeze and the warm sunshine on my skin, listening to insects humming in the trees, I feel content.