Sunday, August 31, 2008

Interlude: North Creek

31 August

On August 28 Jack and I drove to North Creek in the Adirondack State Park, New York. Don and Mary Anne, who have a condo in the mountains, rented out two more units and filled them all with Freewheelers and friends.

I took so many pictures with my cell phone that I ran out of memory. There's no cell phone reception in the house nor much of anywhere else around here, so it wasn't until we all went to dinner half an hour from here that I finally got a signal strong enough to send the pictures to my email account. From there it was easy; there's free wireless up here.

On our way up we stopped in Saratoga Springs. Bob and Norene (see, Norene, you don't have to stand on your head after all) were half an hour ahead of us and stopped in town, so we met them there for dinner. We walked around first, gawking at the expensive art glass and silver for sale.

Friday Jack and I went back to Saratoga Springs with Nancy while the rest of the gang went kayaking or to the Adirondack Museum. Jack bought books and wine; I spent a small fortune at a bead store, where I bought up nearly the entire stock of perfect handmade dichroic glass beads by an artisan who died one of those dramatic, drug-addicted artist deaths. Nancy, who had never been to a bead store, was in awe of the place.

Friday night was the first potluck dinner in Don and Mary Anne's condo. True to Freewheeler form, there was far too much food, enough to last until the second potluck dinner two days later.

Saturday Don and his friend from another one of the condos took me and Jeff on a bike ride through the hills to a couple of lakes. We only got rained on a tiny bit. We were so poky that Don's friend left us after about 20 miles.

Unlike the hills of Hunterdon County, the hills we were riding in were not topped with farms, so we rarely got a glimpse of how high we were. We did pass a road called "Vista View," bought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department (credit William Safire for that one).

None of the hills were any worse than the ones we get at home. Most were long but not very steep, and there were a lot of hard rollers. Towards the end Jeff took to calling out, "Thank you, sir! May I have another?" The cumulative effect got to us all.

Sunday Jeff and Marilyn shamed us all by climbing Noonmark Mountain in the High Peaks. They were on their hands and knees at one point, the incline was so steep.

Meanwhile Don led Mary Anne, Jim and Karen, Nancy, Jack, and me on a trail that started on the same hill as the Garnet Hill Lodge. First we climbed the Balm of Gilead Mountain and had our lunch on a rock outcrop high above Thirteenth Lake.

We climbed down again and took a trail to the water's edge. Don, Jim, and Karen, who were all wearing the sort of clothes that dry instantly, went into the water. Mary Anne and I went in up to our knees while Jack and Nancy stayed on shore.

We barely got home in time to shower before the potluck dinner in our condo. It was everyone's job to finish as much food as possible in advance of tomorrow's early departure. We did pretty well considering how much had been left over.

Mary Anne made brownies. I stuck a candle in the top of the pile and we sang "Happy Birthday" to Jack even though his birthday is a week away.

The party broke up early so we could all start packing. Tomorrow morning we're going out to breakfast then heading home.

It's been in the low 70s here for the past four days. Tomorrow is Labor Day, the first day of the winter season up here. Don says that in two weeks the fall leaves will be peaking. Winter comes early to the Adirondacks.

Now for the pictures:

At a rest stop on the way up we saw Jack's favorite mudflaps:

Before we had dinner in Saratoga springs we walked past a store that sold antiques, plumbing supplies, or perhaps antique plumbing supplies. Inside was a toilet only slightly prettier than the pink one we just got rid of in our master bathroom:

Horses are everything to Saratoga Springs. The race track is one of the town's main attractions. Here's a statue left over from one of those city-wide plaster-animal exhibits a few years ago. I took the picture the day we came back with Nancy:

So much for being artsy with a cell phone:

Real glass art with art glass in a gallery:

We went to sample the Saratoga Springs water that's made the town so famous. Yech! It tastes like feet. But that doesn't stop people from loading their SUVs with gallons of the stuff, as we witnessed.

It was good for Franklin Roosevelt, who used to be one of the many who bathed in the spring water. Here's what's left of the Roosevelt Baths. The buildings are crumbling:

On our way back to North Creek I had to jump out of the car for these wooden mooses:

Here's the side of the building where we were staying. Not much from the outside but inside it's both spacious and cozy.

Some pictures from the bike ride. White line, yellow line, asphalt, trees, and sky. Pretty much the same as every other road snapshot, but farther north. The only difference is that it's still August and the leaves are starting to change:

This is great. A scrap metal dinosaur eats a scrap metal pink flamingo while other scrap metal creatures look on:

More of the moose theme:

Marilyn's pump leaped off her bike and into traffic with dire results. Jeff gallantly carried the corpse:

We stopped in a desolate deli on a desolate road that could have been in the middle of the Pinelands, save for this odd flier by the door:

We stopped at Schroon Lake, although none of us knows what a schroon is. We'd have to make something up:

Marilyn being a schroon:

I let the group go ahead of me when I stopped for pictures of this river. People were fishing off the bridge, hoping to catch fish that could never survive in the polluted waters of New Jersey:

Farther along was a wetland worth stopping for:

It started to rain a little, so I tucked my phone into the plastic bag of stuff I carry in my jersey pocket. When we passed a store across the road fronted by a giant chicken statue Jeff thought I might want to stop for it. I didn't, because of the rain, but I ought to have. I stopped for this metal moose statue not far away, but the picture didn't really come out. The chicken would have, of course:

Towards the end we got a little view of the next ridge:

That night we all went out to dinner in Warrensburg, the next town over, a good 20 minutes by highway away. The women's bathroom was, uh, unusual:

The next morning was our hike. Here's Mary Anne wading through a sea of ferns on the way to the top of the Balm of Gilead:

Another picture from halfway up:

The view from the top, overlooking Thirteenth Lake:


Here's Thirteenth Lake:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blurry Kitten Blogging

27 August

The Cherry Grove Organic Farm CSA just got two kittens, Sid and Tux.

Tux is on the top:

Here's Sid on a bin of Swiss chard:

Tux is about to take a swipe at my cell phone: