Ever set out for a weekend trip having certain activities in mind and then things turn out completely differently? That's exactly what happened to us during the first weekend of July in the Adirondacks.
We left Montreal around 5pm on the Friday to head to our go-to camping spot; The Alpine Club of Canada campsite in Keene, New York. I discovered this campsite during a physical education class at John Abbott College, and have been going back multiple times a year since. Jonathan also learnt of this area through the Outdoor Adventure Club at the same school. He went on to become an assistant on trips and even won the Doug Anakin Scholarship for outdoor pursuits. It's crazy that we did not cross paths during our time at John Abbott, but being just 1 year apart in age apparently meant we weren't in the same circles. Needless to say, the ACC site will always hold a soft spot in our hearts.
The drive down went smoothly and we set up our tent well before the sun set. We joined other ACC members around the communal fire pit. We chatted it up with a Concordia alumni (originally from Missouri), a New Yorker, a French ex-pat, and a group of university students from Gatineau. It was a fun eve of the 4th of July. Perhaps a bit too fun.. as the next morning we felt less than stellar. Words of wisdom; always excersize caution when trying new alcohol. We had bought a very dark spiced rhum and although it tasted fine, it resulted in major headaches the next day. The hike that we planned on doing that Saturday? Hah.. yeah that was not going to happen. To add to it all, it was a very gloomy day, with risk of thunder showers. We decided taking a dip in the nearby river would help us get going... I mean it was 'Muricah's birthday afterall!
We changed into our bathing suits and drove down to the Ausable River. To say the water was cold would be an understatement.. but we took a dip nonetheless! We perused the area (checked out of all the environmental mitigation work they did following the aftermath of hurricane Irene in 2011), sat on big rocks, and were amused by the free-range chickens hanging out near our parked car.
Afterwards we got back into the car and headed to Lake Placid. Our initial impression of the city was one of surprise; it had a very Swiss feel (I later researched it... turns out it's an Austrian influence). We were also in awe of the amount of inns, motels, and hotels. Tourism truly is the backbone of their economy. We had lunch, roamed the main street, and took a few pics of the wonderful view over Mirror Lake.
We heard thunder and beelined it for our car. Luckily we arrived just before the downpour started. We then set out to Wilmington to visit the High Falls Gorge and lucked out once more as the sun came out for an hour. At 12$ each we were a little hesitant at first, as we were told it was just a 30min loop. The sound of roaring water still enticed us; we paid and put on those tacky entry bracelets. The site is very well manicured and despite the sounds from the road nearby, it felt like an oasis.
Definitely recommend visiting the gorge after heavy rainfalls; the sound of the thunder of the water is amplified by the rock surrounding it. As soon as we finished the loop, the rain started up again. On the drive back to our campsite we decided to take our time and stop at some of the lookouts. The beauty of the Adirondacks still marvels under grey skies.
We arrived back at the campsite to find our tent had flooded. No way were we going to be able to sleep in there. We took everything out, put the back seats down in our GT, and set up in there! Jonathan's tiny tent lasted a solid 14 years. Unfortunately the time came to retire it. This is what our little drenched, saggy tent looked like:
I am a notoriously light sleeper. So roughin' it in the back of the car where I couldn't fully extend my legs and with the pesky mosquitoes constantly buzzing in my ears.. I probably got 3 hours of sleep total. Needless to say I was up at first light. I managed to convince Jon to help me pack up and get an early start on our hike. We were at the Marcy Field parking lot by 6am. Sure, not sleeping well sucks, but seeing the sun rise over the mountains with its rays glistening in the grass makes you forget about your lack of shut-eye (See title picture above too).
We quickly ate and then started our hike up Mt Blueberry. We chose this trail because it is a short one yet has great views at the summit. Departure time: 6:45am. As soon as we began we heard a rooster making its morning calls; pretty neat way to start the hike! We crossed many bustling streams and stopped momentarily at view points on the way up. We summited at 8:15am.
The way down took just as long due to muddy conditions. Once at our car we quickly changed and started our trek back home. We chose to take the scenic route back and drove by the Ausable Chasm, as well as along Lake Champlain.
As soon as we got home, I threw everything in the wash right away and proceeded to take a much needed 3 hour nap. Although the weekend hadn't gone as planned, we ended up having a blast!