Monday, July 27, 2009

The Adirondack Mountains

Everyone we spoke to about New York told us we should check out the Adirondacks, now we know why. A series of real mountains - like we have on the west coast - the range is encapsulated in the largest park in the US, taking up all of six million acres. If you can imagine Oregon mountains, expect more round from glacial activity, then you should have a good mental picture. These hills are no joke - over 46 of them are considered “high peaks,” reaching over 4,000 feet.

Having had a short riding day, we decided to hike the largest peak on our route, Blue Mountain. This modest mountain featured a vertical climb of 1500+ vertical feet and would only take a few hours to hike round trip. Once on top, we marveled at the view from the fire lookout perched atop the rocky clearing at the summit. From here we had a 360 degree view of the surrounding beauty, including Blue Mountain Lake pictured here. Upon returning to the base of the trailhead we wandered over to the Adirondack Museum, a must see local attraction that features local history and culture ranging from furniture, to lean-tos, to chainsaws, to canoes. Speaking of canoes, I’ve never seen so many boats lashed atop vehicles before. It seemed like every other car in the park had either a canoe or kayak (or both!) secured to their racks. With so many gorgeous lakes nearby I can understand why.

The following day we rolled into a small town just a few miles down the road from Blue Mountain. It was here that seaplane tours of the area were offered. Given the reasonable price, I found the deal too tempting to refuse and before you know it I had crawled into the passenger seat of a small Cessna aircraft. I introduced myself to the pilot and asked him how long he had been flying. “Counting today?” was Tom’s response. Very funny Mr. Tom the pilot. We accelerated quickly with the floats skimming the water of the lake and *whoosh* into the air we climbed as Tom pulled back on the controls. We buzzed around for nearly half an hour while our pilot/tour guide pointed out some local geography. Of particular interest were Blue mountain, Buttermilk Falls, Long Lake, and another fire lookout. Make sure to check out the photo page for pictures of the plane ride as well as a load of other new pics. As we came back down for our landing (right) Tom held up his hand in the center of the cockpit and prominently displayed a pair of crossed fingers. Again, very funny Tom. As we skimmed the water and eventually came to rest on the lake I could only think about taking another ride. “You made that landing look easy,” I said to Tom. ‘It’s not hard,” he replied. “Maybe next time I could give it a shot?” I asked. “By the third ride you’re pretty much good to pilot the plane,” was his response. Ahh Tom, what a joker.

That night we met up with Patrick, a competitive bicycle rider and mechanic. He approached us on the street and was quick to invite us to stay at his place. We gladly accepted and ended up crashing on his couch, watching Planet Earth videos (amazing stuff if you haven’t seen them) until the wee hours of the morn with him and his laid back roommate, Paul. Good times.

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