To celebrate America's birthday, James and I explored a lake of hers in Upstate New York for the weekend. We arrived Saturday in time for a quick lunch of hotdogs and hamburgers before our kayak trip across Indian Lake. Having not worked my upper body adequately in some time, I immediately felt the burn spread across my back from shoulder to shoulder. Cold water splashed on my legs as my rowing partner cut through the water in front of me. The air was crisp and delightful to breathe in. After a mile of paddling... left, right, left, right, we docked our canoes and headed to the top of the mountain on foot.
The men said this was one of the easier hikes in all of Indian Lake, and the one with the best views. To me it hadn't felt very easy, but I made it nonetheless. The last 100 yards were nearly vertical, but with some reassuring words from myself to myself as I struggled for breath, I made it to the top and snapped this photo.
Once our energy was restored, we set out for the bottom, accompanied by a young family- a baby girl in her Dad's backpack carrier and a voracious bulldog. Three children were on their way to the top with springs in their steps and smiles on their faces. A short distance away we rowed to a series of cliffs, and I mustered the courage to jump off not once, but twice. The minute my feet left the cliff, I felt a moment of panic that I might die when I hit the bottom. Moments later I emerged from the cold water, unharmed and relieved.
For dinner, James made homemade chili and grilled corn over an open fire using his Dutch oven. The women had wine, and the men had beers as we tucked in to hearty, cheddar chopped chili served with tostada chips. We walked to the fireworks in town and grabbed a spot on the hill just in time for dark to fall. Before the firework display, a few youngsters released a lantern in to the air. I found it lovlier than the fireworks that followed but it was a fitting spectacle for Uncle Sam.
Sunday we woke exhuasted, and sore, but embarked on another momentous day. James and my uncle went on a hike that ended in fishing, while my aunt and I went to a charming little beach. After swimming, reading, and a short snooze, we visited some antique stores and were inspired by the skill of local artisans and their creations. Grilled pizzas were dinner with a slew of toppings - assorted peppers, onions, yellow squash, zucchini, and pancetta. I snuck in an additional swim as the sun was setting on the dock. We will be returning, and often, as I have been won over by the allure of the lake.
We adjusted our route home to pass through Lake Placid and watched some young hockey players skating on the ice where the Americans defeated Russia in the 1980's Olympics despite the incredible odds. After a ski lift and an elevator ride, we stood atop the launch pad for the Olympic Ski jump. Overwhelmed with admiration for America's athletes and the beauty of her lakes, we drove home grateful.