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Elena comes to town and everyone goes to the Adirondacks

DSC 2203On Wednesday I picked Elena up from the airport. She flew in to joining us all for six days in the Adirondacks. Matt and Em left for the Adirondacks that afternoon, but were overnighting at Em’s sisters in Albany before heading to the cabin in we would all meet up on in the Adirondacks on Thursday. Elena and I took a night alone to go to dinner in Doylestown before coming home to share a bed with all three dogs… It was as fun as it sounds.
Thursday morning I took all three dogs down to the kennel again. I was sad to be doing it again so soon, but they all seemed happy to get there. Excited to play with all the other doggies no doubt. Then Elena and I packed up and headed north to the cabin at New River in the Adirondacks.

DSC 2194Thursday afternoon we met up with Matt and Em again at the cabin arriving shortly after them. The cabin was fabulous and Em had already made room assignments (thankfully rather than the chaos that ensues when left to everybody picking themselves) and she’d laid out an appropriate “Life is Good” shirt for each of us as well. Mine for example had a guy walking a dog on it and you can see Mike and his shirt in the picture at left. We were all a bit weary and headed into town for dinner and drinks as bar named Casey’s that evening.

DSC 2177Matt and Em use to frequently come up to this area with their boat to go out on Lake George. So it was appropriate that on our first day we went out fishing on Lake George, although this time aboard a large pontoon/party boat that Em had chartered. The boat had plenty of room for everyone, including the non-fisher-persons. Matt had always wanted to go fishing for lake trout which requires some specialized equipment (down rigger) since they swim at 100 feet down. Our captain however kept pushing us towards fishing for bass DSC 2186and when we finally insisted we start fishing for Lake Trout we discovered one of the two down riggers on the boat was malfunctioning. So after a brief attempt we went back to fishing for bass. In spite of the fishing being less than stellar, the day was still pleasant with lots of scenery for everyone to enjoy. My favorite was definitely the boat houses, especially this one at right that was unbelievably gorgeous. Never mind the mansion behind it, I’d be happy just with the boat house.

The big planned event of the week for most of us was to go white water rafting, which came on Saturday. Em (the master planner) had booked us with Beaver Brook River Rafting which conveniently departed form The In at Gore which conveniently was directly across the street from our cabin. I’d never been rafting before and it was even more fun then I had hoped. DSC 1294Beaver Brook runs anywhere from one to dozens of boats on any given day depending on how many clients they have. This day there were just two boats, one for our group and one for everyone else. We got put with a guide named Lori who was just awesome. It turns out the owner actually does try to match up groups with guides of appropriate personality, and all I can say is his instincts were perfect. We all loved Lori who kept us happy, excited and laughing the whole way down. About half way down the river there is a long slow section were we were allowed to jump out of the boat and go for a swim, which of course I did. Then towards the end of the slow section there is a big rock sticking up in the middle of the river that we could climb up and jump off of. I love jump of rocks, as you can see in the picture. On the second half of the river we really started having fun as Lori guided us into a couple holes where we could get the raft in sideways and surf the water underneath. It takes careful timing and well coordinated paddling to get into the right spot, but we managed it several times in a couple different locations. It fun it sit there, not floating down the river, but bouncing around in the frothing water. I can’t really FH000009think of a way to describe it in words. I don’t know if it was just because Lori was so outgoing, but it seemed that all guides around here, even from different companies, are very friendly towards each other and as such were all saying hi to each other as they ferried their customers down the river. As we floated down the river we found out that one of the local guides was throwing a big party for all the other guides. Lori took it upon herself to invite us! We were all very flattered by the invitation and I was especially interested. I always love getting into the local scene outside the tourist zone and this was the perfect way to do it. The scheduled rafting adventure ended with a early dinner hosted by the rafting company where we all get to sit down and share food with our guides and the people from the other boat to recount the fun we’d all just shared. (Lots more photos over on the Flickr site)

That evening it took a little convincing to get my friends to go to the party. They worried it was just going to be a little local keg party and we’d be very out of place. In the end Elena, Em, Scott and I went to the party. We knew ahead of time that the party was BYOB and a band was going to play. The party was held at one of the other rafting companies, Hudson River Rafting, on a large deck that they have behind their building. We weren’t really sure what we were in for and at least I felt a bit awkward walking in with a cooler full of our drinks for the evening. Lori had said there would be other “Custies” (her endearing term for customers) at the party, and while that turned out not to be true, I’m glad she had. I don’t know we would have felt comfortable going if we knew we would be the only non-locals. Regardless after a few minutes of feeling a bit awkward we all joined in the fun and felt at right at home with the 50 or more locals. The band, Raisinhead, was great. As you could probably guess from the name, they played mostly jam band style music just like I used to love hearing in the local places around Colorado State Univ. back in the day. Think, Phish, Grateful Dead, etc… I spent all night dancing to the music with an occasional break to chat with the guides and company owner we’d met earlier in the day and hear their stories about life in and around the area. The party was an unbelievably good time and I am super glad we went.

DSC 2201Saturday was mostly cloudy with a few light sprinkles and on Sunday the rain started coming down more regularly so Rachel and Mike headed home looking for better weather, while the rest of us took a drive around the Adirondacks and through Lake Placid. It was great to be out driving around the Adirondacks in the van, although I think Matt and Em and maybe Scott too were a bit worried about my driving and the van’s reliability. As I say all the time, Poly (the name of my Vanagon) has only left me stranded on the side of the road to be towed one. Unfortunately that was on the way back from a trip meeting Matt and Em in Vail Colorado so it is a strong memory in their minds. All the other times Poly has “broken down” I’ve been able to fix whatever went wrong on the side of the road and keep going. We stopped for lunch in Lake Placid and walked around the small town. The town of Lake Placid was smaller than I expected being that it hosted the winter Olympics in 1976. Around town I noticed lots of Canadian tourists which got me thinking about my upcoming foray into Canada next month. We tried to find somewhere for dinner in Lake Placid but ultimately decided to head back towards the cabin. As can only be done now, we whipped out on of the laptop in the car to get wireless internet access and find a restaurant back near the cabin, which we then called and made reservations at. Thanks to my GPS we also knew down to the minute how long it would take to get back to the cabin and then to the restaurant. It turns out that given all the driving necessary we’d only have 10 minutes back at the cabin to shower and change before racing back to the restaurant. I think in the end we were a few minutes late for our reservation, but I’d blame that on the showers not the GPS. Dinner was at the Friends Lake In and was fantastic. Everything from the wine to the appetizers to the dinner to the deserts was just fantastic.

DSC 2206On Monday Scott headed out early followed by Matt and Em. In spite of the ongoing rain Elena and I decided to stay around and enjoy the cabin by ourselves. Most of what happened that day I can’t tell you about.

On Tuesday we headed back to Matt & Em’s house in Doylestown for a few days before joining up again with Matt and Em on their boat.

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