On Indian Lake

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.  

 The view after our hike. 

The view after our hike. 

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. 

 

Flying high

One of the pleasures of living on the East coast is the variation in the seasons. With Autumn come the bright hues and crunch of leaves, cable knit sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes. We ease in to Winter with temperatures that drop steadily, snow falls, and the buzz of the holidays. When it has been dark for long enough, Spring greets us with warm sunshine and fresh blooms. 

At last it is Summer. There are popsicles, roasted marshmallows, and late nights around the fire. Weekends are for the beach or picnicking. Weeknights, we grill outside greeted by warmth, a setting sun, and the smell of fresh basil from the garden.  There is an abundance of activities outdoors. My boyfriend James has a keen sense of adventure, which is aided by his appreciation of small things. Consequently, ordinary endeavors become grand adventures.  

One night, on a whim we went to the State Fair in search of a deep fried confection and a ride or two. Fortunate for us, there happened to be a traveling Circus group performing, the entertainers dressed head to to in red, white and blue, the picture of Americana. We grabbed seats next to a sweet family of six, and watched on in amazement.  

The first performer climbed a massive pole, and hung from the very top by just a wrist strap. In the wind, the pole swayed back and forth, as she stood atop and balanced with no net below her, and I ached with anxiety. There was a human cannon that flew through the air, and two young men that maneuvered a massive rotating apparatus with ease. A family of performers walked the tight rope, then rode along it on a bicycle. My heart beat faster with every step. Planes from the nearby airport roared overhead all the while, and  American flags waved as these talents were flying high against the backdrop of the evening sky.  

After the performance, we wandered, mounted the sky ride and caught a breathtaking view of the New York City skyline. James kept his eyes closed as he was reminded of one too many drills at high altitudes from his time as Marine. We had french fries with malt vinegar and a coffee milkshake to split, an end to a fine summer night.