Thursday, July 05, 2012

An Anniversary, Part 3

Tom had wanted to take me up the Whiteface Memorial Highway to the top of Whiteface Mountain. Whiteface is the fourth highest peak in the Adirondacks, coming in around 4,900 feet above sea level. The memorial highway was started in 1929 just as the Great Depression was beginning, and was eventually completed in 1935. It was dedicated to the veterans of World War I, the Great War, just a few short years before the start of World War II.

The drive up the highway was enough to make me dizzy, if I hadn't been so enthralled by the magnificent views. Once you arrive at the parking lot at the base of "the castle" (the structure at the very top of the mountain), you can either take an elevator to the top or you can walk up.

The walk up is a little tricky - there are little strips of non-skid turf that have been adhered to the mountain to prevent people from falling, because really, the only thing between you and the base of the mountain 4,900 feet down is a handrail about three feet high.

We took Rosie up with us, and once we got into the castle, where there are numerous museum-style exhibits about the 1932 winter Olympics which were held at Whiteface, we went out onto the observation deck to look around.

On a clear day, you can see straight to the mountains of New Hampshire from that height. There is a rock wall that stands about chest high on me to prevent someone from looking down and falling, but Rosie, our crazy husky, jumped right up onto it!

Tom grabbed her and brought her back down again, and we tried to calm ourselves down. All we could imagine was Rosie jumping down the other side of that wall and slipping out of her harness!

On the way back down, we both noticed the smell of something burning in the Jeep. We thought maybe it was the brakes, since the trip back down that mountain is a little bit of a brake check.

Then I started to see smoke inside the Jeep.

It was coming up between the front seats. Tom saw it, too. "Holy shit!" And he pulled over at the first safe place he could find.

I, of course, jumped straight out of the Jeep without waiting to see where the smoke was coming from, and I ran around the back to grab Rosie.

Tom started digging down through the backpacks we had piled between us and found the culprit: the 1,000 candle-power spotlight that he used for his job as a park ranger had been switched on when we piled the packs on it, and the heat from the lamp had started to melt the flooring in the Jeep.

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful, as we made our way back to the heat and craziness of suburban northern New Jersey.

I started thinking about all of this the other day, because I realized that it's been nearly seventeen years since my first summer trip with Tom to the Adirondacks. Through all that time, I wonder how much we've both changed. I mean, seventeen years is a long time. When we met, we had both just left teenage-hood. Now we're both approaching 40, with a child of our own.

But sometimes when I look at the old pictures of him, I think he hasn't aged a day. Aside from the increased facial hair, he still looks the same as he did when we first met. Tall, blonde, and boyish, with that wry, sneak-attack sense of humor.

But we're still exploring, still discovering, still having crazy adventures that make our friends shake their heads and say, "Why did you do that, again?"

To be the best way possible.

1 comment:

Melanie said...