Tuesday, July 03, 2012

An Anniversary of Sorts

I'm having a hard time getting warmed up for my blogging duties today, so I thought I'd start here...

Yesterday, as I was on my way to the chiropractor, I drove past High Falls Gorge in Wilmington Notch, and it made me think of the first time that Tom brought me to the Adirondacks for a summer hiking and camping trip.

It was right around his birthday (this time of year), and Tom had just come back from seeing his sister in Las Vegas. We had this bright idea that we would load up the Jeep and leave around eleven at night, drive all night, and then hike up St. Regis mountain and watch the sun come up.

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans and all?

Sometime around two a.m., we were just wrecked. We knew there was no way we were going to actually be able to finish driving all night, so we started to look for a motel where we could crash for the night. Problem was, we had Rosie, Tom's husky, with us.

We found the Grand Prix Motel around exit 13 on the Thruway. (They closed it up and tore it down a couple of years ago.) The rooms were in a separate building behind the front office, giving us the opportunity to smuggle Rosie inside.

Tom paid for the room, then came back out to the Jeep, wrapped Rosie in a cotton blanket, and we smuggled her inside.

Once inside the room, she took off like a maniac, sniffing out the corners, looking for places to pee and mark her territory... (She was just that kind of dog.)

We finally fell asleep around 3 a.m. When we awoke a few hours later, Rosie was doing her early morning howl. Tom grabbed her and hustled her back to the Jeep while I packed up and we were outta there!

We made the hike to the top of St. Regis mountain with no problems, although we missed sunrise by several hours. We were totally exhausted. It was lunchtime, and we tied Rosie's leash to the fire tower so she wouldn't take off on us, ate lunch, and then settled down for a little nap on top of the mountain.

That afternoon, we hiked back down and drove to Lake Placid to meet up with Rob and his then-girlfriend for another evening hike to where we would camp. That was a whole new adventure!

We had planned on hiking into the High Peaks Wilderness to a place called Indian Rock, where Rob knew of a lean-to. But I really wasn't used to this much intense hiking, and I was starting to feel it. I was anxious to get to the lean-to where we would be able to pitch our sleeping bags for the night.

But when we actually made it to the lean-to, we discovered that there were already seven - seven! - other people who had settled there for the night. So we had to move on.

Rob knew of another place where we could camp for the night, and by now, I was so exhausted, I was starting to panic. So when we came to a huge cataract, filled with a hugely rushing river, I had a melt down. I watched Tom and Rob's girlfriend jump across it - probably about five feet - and when it was my turn, I just knew that there was no way I was going to make it across. The river was raging from the recent tropical storm that had just blown through. I was exhausted, and my legs felt like jelly. If I tried to jump across that river, I was going to fall, smash my head against a rock, be swept away, and drown. I just knew it.

Rob to the Rescue. He turned his back to me and said, "Come on, get up."


"Climb on my back, I'll get you over."

Now, the only thing that could possibly have been more dangerous than me trying to jump across that cataract by myself would be if I climbed onto another person and then HE tried to jump across with me on his back!

The exhaustion clouding my judgement, I hoisted myself up onto Rob's back, piggy-back style, and held on for dear life as he lightly sprang over the cataract.

My initial relief at actually making it over the river without any bodily injury was quickly replaced with the urgent need to lie down in my sleeping bag and lose consciousness. After we set up our tent, I bid the others good night and curled up to go to sleep. I was even too tired to eat. I have vague recollections of hearing Tom and Rob outside playing "Who Can Make a Bigger Flame With a Campstove", and the last thing I thought was that I would wake up to find that they had both burned off their eyebrows...

To be continued...

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