Just Back From
When I was young, I adored the Adirondack wilderness for its most obvious and accessible experiences. I particularly loved the expansive feeling in my chest when I stood on a bald mountain summit and surveyed the distance. When I was in my twenties and trying to make my way through the 46 highest peaks, half of which are trail-less, I disdained the easy and sought adventure. One of the most fun hikes of my life was climbing Allen Mountain on a cold and rainy day with a group of friends, which involved 20 miles of bushwhacking through stubby spruce trees that tore at our bare legs, a swamp, nettles, slippery rock faces to scramble up, and no view at the top. The climb took all we had and we were giddy by the end. I will never forget it.
That summer, we swam a two-mile lake from end to end and toted sleeping bags up to the summit of Hurricane Mountain to sleep on top. Now I see my three kids exiting phase one (beauty seeking) and entering phase two (adventure seeking), as I move to phase three (peace seeking). My favorite thing now is to be camping with my family on the most isolated lake, completely disconnected from civilization and yet fully in the world. There we constantly watch the sky: to see if the lake will be ruffled for sunrise or still and misty, to predict when the rain will hit so we can time our boat excursion just right, to decide when to call the kids back to the dock from swamping the canoe before the thunder rumbles. We scan the shallows for loons and the bushes for bears. And we forget everything except the eternal.
A few of Indagare's favorite wilderness retreats:
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