Campfire

7-30-2018

Spent another delightful summer day in the Adirondacks, lazing in my hammock up by the tent, in the cooler shade of the forest. Yes, when dinner time rolled around, I started another small camp fire to cook some more hot-dogs. Why is food cooked over an open fire so delicious? Does it tap into some instinctive primal hunting urge? A vestigial remnant of evolutionary survival left over from our earliest ancestors. But oh yes those wieners smell good sizzling over the dancing yellow and orange flames. And they sear up nicely with a crisp outer skin that pops when you bite it. MMMM, that hot-dog goodness. Endless summer is here! Relaxing by the camp fire watching the forest get dark around me.

Advertisements

Float Out

7-29-2018

Another summer River treat is the Governor’s Race float out. Every year, the Governor’s Challenge gets a lot of important people out of their offices for a couple of days and into the fun tourist activities that up-state NY has to offer. One of those activities is white water rafting. All the rafting companies contribute 3 boats with gear (helmets, life jackets, and paddles) and guides to take the Race participants down the Indian River to the confluence with the Hudson. It’s a big deal, covered by several media outlets and news stations. The Race participants end their rafting trip at the confluence and take a bus to town for a big dinner and award ceremony, many of the guides who raced go too.

That leaves a lot of boats and gear that has to go down the Hudson part of the trip (about 14 miles). Although people can exit the river at the confluence, it would be exceptionally difficult to get rafts up the hill and down the mile of trail to the parking area, so the rafts go downstream. A whole gaggle of us guides think it is great fun to take empty rafts down the river. We all float together and pretty much have a guide party all the way to take out.

It is a completely different experience guiding an empty raft. It is just you making it happen, and you have no one to worry about. The float out usually takes the rest of the day because we float through all the flat water, and with just yourself paddling, all you really are doing is steering. Of course with no weight in the boat, you can explore parts of the rapids you can’t get to (or wouldn’t want to) with guests. With no one else around, we goof off and do silly things that we can’t do when we are working. It is an exceptional amount of fun.

This year was lively escapade as well. We hung out with a couple of other companies, swam, floated, ate tons of good food, laughed, and generally clowned around. We even got off the river before dark (always a plus)! Good summer fun was had by all on the float out.

Music By The River

7-28-2018

Back up North! Another glorious and physically demanding day in the gorge, followed by hanging out with a bunch of friends down at the train station in town for Music By the River night. The band was kickin’, people dancing, kids running around, folks laughing and talking, a bunch of us hula-hooping, food cooking on grills, and generally a good time was had by all. Nothing excitedly screams “This is what Summer is all about” than watching a yellow and gold sun set over a distant mountain in a clear pale blue sky that turns purple as the stars come out, while hula-hooping to an awesome band at a free and local outdoor concert. The warm and soft endless summer days (and nights) are upon us!

Yard Work In The Dark

7-26-2018

Home today. Although it is still high, the water in the creek has subsided considerable, as it tends to go up and down quickly in response to heavy rain. I decided to do some yard work today. Mowing and weeding the garden, both of which desperately needed some attention. I like doing the yard work. It keeps me active and outside even when I’m at home. It is also nice to see the fruits of your labor. The yard and flower beds look fresh, orderly, and manicured when I get done. The garden needed the most love, as it was completely hidden beneath weeds. Most of the seeds I planted actually got dug up and eaten last spring, so I didn’t pay much attention to what was actually growing within the garden fence. But I see now that some food plants are struggling for space and light. Although most of what is growing was not planted by my hand. Instead it has sprouted from the compost I put down as fertilizer. Weeding a garden this far gone will take a couple of days, but I made a significant dent in the weed population. I actually ran out of daylight while weeding and didn’t really want to start just because it got dark. Then realized I still needed to be all the equipment away and tidy some other stuff up. Yard work in the dark is another summer time phenomena in my world!

Roaring River

7-25-2018

Although the Adirondacks did get some rainfall, it was really only just enough to get everything wet. The Catskills on the other hand got a deluge. My husband sent me a picture of the Eastkill creek that runs through our property, and my eyes popped out of my head when I saw it. The whole creek bed was full, not flood stage over the banks, but close. Although it was just a photo I could hear in my mind the roar of the rapids as the chocolate milk colored water surges over the rocks in its hurried urgency to get downstream. I can see wooden debris floating in the torrent, bobbing chaotically in the frantic current. I can smell the distinct odor of wet earth, fertile and musky as the inundated ground overflows adding its muddy contributions to the cataract below. I feel the ground rumble and vibrate as rocks are tumbled along the stream bed with the powerful push of the roiling boiling waters. Understanding the true power of water is an awe inspiring experience.

Smoke Drifting Through Trees

7-24-2018

I started a small campfire up at my tent today. I walked all around collecting from the amply supple of burnable sticks on the ground. Most of it is damp from yesterdays wetness, but if I get a small hot fire going with kindling then it can dry out the bigger stuff and it will burn too. That is exactly what I did. Over the course of the afternoon, I managed to burn most of what I collected. This fire ring I built is small, about two feet in diameter, mostly for camping ambiance more than anything. Although I did cook some hot-dogs on a stick over it for lunch. I have found that a small fire needs more continuous maintenance that a larger fire. The smaller fuel sticks burn down faster and need to be replaced more often. It was kind of fun to keep the fire going; placing the wet wood around the small blaze to dry before pitching it in to burn. I sat in my camp chair warming my feet on the hot rocks, reading, and daydreaming. Then moved over to the hammock to swing and daydream some more while I watch the ethereal blue smoke drift lazily around the trees in the calm air. The tangy smell of burning embers made me feel tranquil and in complete harmony with the world around me. Watching the smoke waft around slowly meandering through the tree trunks, I felt as if I truly belong in this place, these woods, here and now; my being expanding and contracting with the smoke on the breeze, lingering and then swirling away into the heavens.

Rainy Day

7-23-2018

So the sky dawned overcast, drizzly, and grey. I stayed snuggled under the blankets in the tent listening to water drip onto the tarp and watching it drip from the trees for an hour or so before actually getting up and out of bed. Then I only got up because I had to pee. That was a cold and wet endeavor. And then I climbed right back under the cozy blankets. I read for a while and daydreamed, but finally hunger drove me out of my snugly cocoon and down the hill to find food. It may be a rainy day, but the water is just dripping not really raining. It isn’t the kind of rain that brings the river up, but it is the gentle kind of rain that gives everything a needed drink. After bumming around for a while, I decided to go for a rainy day paddle out on 13th lake. I had the whole lake to myself. The mountains were obscured in the swirling misty low clouds and the sky and lake reflected each other’s steely grey demeanor. The air wasn’t too cool once I was paddling and I was comfortable wearing just a bathing suit, but of course I have paddle clothes with me in a dry bag as well as munchy food which I munched on while I explored the shoreline. I took a couple of hours to slowly paddle around the whole lake, looking a flowers, insects, and birds. All in all is was an excellent way to spend a rainy day.