love and adventure

12 Jul

The inaugural year of our Adirondack adventure (back in 2010!), I was beyond nervous–nervous to canoe our stuff out to an island, nervous to be out of cell service, nervous to be someplace we’d never been doing things we’d really never done, nervous to have to forego showers and flush toilets for an entire week (on our anniversary no less!)…

And every year since then I CRAVE all of these things (well…I’d love it if our island had a shower, but you can’t have it all or so I’ve been told)…

This year has been the year of changing up traditions that we’ve had since we started dating/first got married 6 years ago.  This trip was no different.  No one came with us for the first time in 5 years.  Just our little family, adventuring together.  We often adventure together alone, but not usually in Indian Lake.  As we sat at our campfire on night #4, Eric and I found ourselves talking about how lucky we are to be able to spend an entire week together, just us, much of the time together alone on an island.  There’s no Internet to lose yourself in.  No TV to drown out the silence or pass the time.  No one to call to spend time with.  No where to go if you’re pissed at each other.  And I am fortunate to be with someone who will not only put up with me on an island for an entire week, but have the absolute time of our lives exploring and adventuring and living it up.

on a family adventure!

on a family adventure!

Contributing to our tradition change-up, Eric’s hip is still healing.  My legs have been hurting, particularly my calf (because I am an idiot and my solution to depression is either run away to the mountains for a getaway or run a gajillion miles, even though I can hardly walk without pain some days).  My heart is hurting from another failed cycle and from staring down the barrel of another cycle of painful, nightly injections.  I’m tired–not necessarily physically, but mentally and emotionally.  I was going to push myself to run a lot of miles, but realized that the smarter idea would be to take it easy this week (and hang with Eric and Dog-Dog!), do some nice family hikes and give myself some time to relax and heal up (physically AND emotionally if I’m being 100% honest with myself).

looking forward to washing my soul clean

So I planned some new hikes for this year–a bunch of “easy” hikes (although some of them are longer, they are flat by ADK standards) to ponds and waterfalls.  Things we’ve never seen because we’re too busy cramming in as many mountains as we possibly can.  It’s actually surprisingly difficult to find information about many hikes in the area if they’re not the “popular” ones, so I’ll be posting some recaps later about what we did/how to get there/whether they were “worth it” or not so much.  In my head, as I planned I kept thinking that maybe this would be a good recon trip for when we finally have babies/kids to bring with us (before they are old enough to climb mountains with their crazy parents).  We did a fair amount of discussing how this trip would change if we had kids, and I’m happy to report not much will (except maybe no Snowy Mountain until our kids were 8ish–we think that might be a good age to try to summit the mountain, but agreed that we could easily do the first couple of miles of the hike with younger kids without problems…)

We arrived on Monday to find Indian Lake sunny and hot.  We paddled our stuff out to the site without incident, set up camp, and spent the entire day swimming and relaxing in the water.  This year, we managed to book site 8 (I set an alarm reminder this year because the sites at Indian Lake Islands Park fill up FAST), which was the site we first stayed on.  It’s got great rocky ledges on the end, where you can sit partially in the water and just soak up the sun.  Picasso was in all his glory, running and jumping and swimming.

he's got mad hops

he’s got mad hops

<3 him, <3 beautiful summer weather, <3 clean and cold mountain water

The next day, we got up, paddled back to the mainland and drove out to the trailhead for Ross Pond/Whortleberry Pond and OK Slip Falls.  We had decided that Tuesday would be the “pond day.” We ended up hiking about 8 miles, mostly flat.  It was very buggy, very swampy, and overall not that exciting, but it WAS fun to be out with Eric and Picasso and see NO ONE else…the trails in the ADK in the summer can get VERY crowded, so you learn to appreciate the times when you can be alone in nature.  I was hoping for a moose sighting, due to the seclusion of this trail (and the ponds…moose like water, right?!?!).  Sadly, no moose.  But we stopped in Indian Lake, grabbed some beers, and headed back to the island for the night.

we thought we heard moose hitting Eric tried to lure them in by banging sticks together.  It was unsuccessful.

we thought we heard moose hitting antlers…so Eric tried to lure them in by banging sticks together. It was unsuccessful.

Wednesday morning, we paddled in and drove back to the same trail head for OK Slip Falls.  Our friend, Dave, had told us it was a cool waterfall, and everything I’d read online in my research said it would be well worth the hike. Sure enough, it was!  The trail was BEAUTIFUL (we are excited to go back and run it next year), the falls were AMAZING (some say they’re the highest in the ADK, others claim TFalls are).  About a tenth of a mile from the falls, the trail splits to go down to the Hudson.  I had never seen the Hudson, so we took that trail, too, which added 1.6 miles of hike, much of which was down and then back up a very steep trail.  It ended up being a 9ish mile hike, and it was LOOOOONG.  But well worth it.  We were both glad that this trail had been better than the previous day’s.

the falls are behind us

the falls are behind us

Thursday, it was kind of overcast and crummy out.  We waited out the bad weather, but finally gave up and paddled in anyway, despite strong winds and therefore some decent waves.  We had dubbed Thursday “waterfall day.”  We started out in Speculator, where I checked out the brochures in the visitor center (and used the grossest bathroom EVER–I mean…I was actually MISSING our pit privy, which is really saying something).  I already had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to hike this day, but we found an additional trail in a pamphlet I picked up.  We hit up some shorter, easier hikes, starting with Griffin Gorge.  It was disappointing and buggy.  I was nervous to try to hit up Auger Falls, since Griffin had been the opposite side of Auger Falls, and it was kind of lame.  But the Auger Falls trail was WELL worth the hike in.  After Auger, we took a very old, very bumpy side road to find Austin Falls…it was a bumpy trip, but the falls were pretty awesome.  We were going to check out a cave next, but by this point, it was starting to look REALLY overcast…so we headed back and as we pulled into the marina, it started to drizzle.  It rained the rest of the afternoon, evening and night.  We spent a lot of time chilling in the screen tent, playing cards (Eric hates cards but he was a champ).  We played higher/lower first (yes a drinking game), but then we realized the rain was not stopping and the drinking games were not sustainable.  We played WAR (and YES you CAN win!!! Eric did!!!).  Then I taught Eric to play rummy.  We had a pretty decent fire in the mist that night and went to bed early.

Griffin Gorge

Griffin Gorge

Auger Falls

Auger Falls

Austin Falls

Austin Falls

He won WAR! Did you even know you COULD win WAR???

He won WAR! Did you even know you COULD win WAR???

But then he lost rummy...and wasn't happy about it.

But then he lost rummy…and wasn’t happy about it.

Friday morning, we woke up for our traditional anniversary hike/pizza fest.  We hiked Snowy Mountain, and I did it the fastest I ever have!  I didn’t stop once, I felt great the whole time.  We hit the top, talked with the guy who had sprinted by us at the trail head for a bit (hooray for friendly hikers!), then we climbed back down.  Rather than go to Speculator for pizza, which is a 20ish minute drive, we decided to go 5 minutes to Indian Lake to find a pizza place.  IL is a SUPER small town, so it was kind of tricky, but the pizza we found was EXCELLENT and the people who owned the place were super friendly and cool.  If you’re ever there, Puterko’s Family Pizza is kind of the shit.  And Eric and I know our pizza.

the climb is tough but the views are totally worth it!

just a leisure f#&$ing nature hike

We had decided halfway through the week to rent a boat for Friday/Saturday this year–it’s always nerve wrecking to canoe your stuff back and forth because if you tip, everything’s lost.  Plus paddling all week (on top of hiking and swimming) is EXHAUSTING.  I joked about how we were showing our old age by renting a boat, how we were being super lazy, but this was truly the best idea ever.  We picked up a small rented boat and played around, checking out some new sites (next year’s trip will be AMAZING) and then coming back to our island to swim and play in the water.  We had a massive campfire (per tradition–the last night of camp you burn EVERYTHING!!!).

on our little boat. Picasso was not too sure about it, so we snuggled.

on our little boat. Picasso was not too sure about it, so we snuggled.

This morning, we got up early.  I had wanted to do some hill repeats on Baldface Mountain, but by the time we got there (it’s a boat access only trail about 2 miles from our site), we hiked up together and realized we didn’t really have time for a run if we were going to be off the site by 11.  We took in some views (Baldface is a pretty easy hike with some pretty incredible views of the entire lake), enjoyed being the only ones on the trail (or awake??), and then drove back to pack up camp.  We loaded the boat and then drove over to the nearby beach.  We spent a half hour or so there, playing fetch with Picasso and having a little lunch, before driving back to the marina to get on the road.

view from Baldface's summit

view from Baldface’s summit

hanging out on the beach!

hanging out on the beach!

While this trip was VERY different from the usual busy climbing trips we take in the ADK, it was also one of the best ones.  Year 5 of our annual camping trip was amazing.  It felt much lazier than ever before (renting a boat, no major mountains except Snowy, sleeping in til 7 most days).  But we still managed (between Tuesday and Saturday), to do 6 hikes, paddle almost 12 miles, hike about 30 miles, swim and play around on the island, and have some amazing adventures.  Tonight, as we ate some delicious Jammers (some things just can’t be replicated…), I said that now I felt ready to go back.  Then realized I’m looking forward to a night in our bed.  But with a shower, yummy food and a night in our bed, I’d be ready to head back.  Any time.  Indian Lake is an amazing place to spend time exploring.  And I am so lucky that I get to adventure with my love.

photo 2

And the best picture of the trip...never get tired of these ADK sunrises on the lake!

And the best picture of the trip…never get tired of these ADK sunrises on the lake!


One Response to “love and adventure”


  1. 2015 in review | shmeruns - December 31, 2015

    […] annual anniversary trip to the mountains.  Eric was injured, we were both recovering from bad doctor news, it was just the two of us, […]

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