sunset_7th_lake_edit

Adirondack Vacation 2018

another much needed escape to the woods




The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.


From Robert Burns' poem To a Mouse, 1786.




I thought I had my act together. I really did. However...

...while packing final items for vacation the night before departure, I realized one of my prescriptions was running low and wasn't going to last through my ADK stay. A quick call to CVS reminded me of the date - Labor Day, a holiday - and that the pharmacy department had already closed. Options, like hitting a CVS in New York on the way north were considered, but fraught with potential doom. So the most prudent thing to do was just get the prescription refilled as early as possible in the morning, then hit the road.

That didn't go smoothly, either. Seems the prescription's refills had been exhausted and required the doctor to renew the 'script. Argh! More phone calls, more running around. More waiting for return calls.

My only excuse is that this was the first year I've ever had deal with prescriptions. Every previous year, the only such things I've packed were a first aid kit and some Ibuprofen for just in case. After my 2016 surprise birthday TIA and the resultant jumping through all manner of medical test and monitoring hoops, I suddenly had to shovel two prescriptions, aspirin, and vitamin B-12 down my gullet every day.

Long story longer, I didn't officially get on the road until 12:30 PM on Tuesday, September 4 - a full 5 hours later than I had planned the departure. In other words, I was just getting on the road when I had planned to arrive at camp. This was not a good thing.

Once on the road, I somehow managed to put things in perspective, accepted reality, and just enjoyed the trip. It certainly wasn't the end of the world - it was a slight delay, that's all. And besides - I was on my way to a week and a half of ADK camping!

Upon arrival, I concentrated on getting the tent, mattress, sleeping stuff, and lighting all set up and ready for nightfall. I don't recall whether I even got to setting up the command center on Tuesday. I did have some ready-to-eat grub for a late, late dinner - and soon thereafter it was time for bed. The rest of setting up camp could wait for the morning.

Wednesday, September 5 - A fresh, new day! But first, a little history:

W-a-y back in December when I was doing the online reservation, I was disappointed to see that my favorite site, 114A, had already been reserved! Instead of playing the Russian roulette reservation game waiting out 114A availability and possibly ending up with a terrible site, I noted site 121 was open.

I had camped at 121 before in 2008 - a whole 10 years earlier! So being familiar with that site, I decided to bite the bullet, secure a reservation, and just deal with not having a waterfront site this year.

Site 121 worked out very well. Being a "known entity", set up went well and the results were comfortable and familiar. On this Day 2 continuation of setting up camp, I was visited by a sewing needle dragonfly. He perched atop the antenna of my Grundig portable radio. I tried my best to get a couple photos, but unfortunately my hand wasn't very steady. Regardless, I still think the shots are kind of neat:


sewing_needle_01

Took another shot - an "insurance shot" - in case the first one didn't come out very well. As luck would have it, neither of them came out particularly well. However, it may have something to do with the target being too close to the camera and out of the focus range.


sewing_needle_02.jpg

Thursday, September 6 - Finally getting closer to having everything pretty much set up and fully functional. It's those mischievous little oddball details that only become apparent after some time. Just when one thinks everything is done, one (or more!) of those imps pokes its head up to say hello.

Can you spot any of those gremlins?


early_set_up

Of course my ADK camping wouldn't be quite the same without ham radio! New to this year's set up is the addition of the 1963 Vibroplex Original Standard bug. All three batteries held up well without having to recharge any of them. Better yet, upon returning home, they all charged up and held their charges just fine - always a relief after not exactly babying them while afield.


radio_set_up

On the antenna front, I'm happy to report nothing got left behind this year! Launching of the pull line went incredibly well, having had a wee bit of practice back in June when at the cottage for the month. The second toss of the weight cleared the top of the selected tree getting a good percentage of the 60 foot antenna wire in a straight line - the rest pulled down over the top.

After a few days I spotted a different tree that might make the entire 60 foot of wire a straight run, but would require tossing the weight well over an approximated 50 foot height taking diagonal factor into consideration. The antenna Gods must have been looking down upon me favorably, as my first shot of the weight cleared the very top of the target tree! After moving the antenna wire to this new location, it was quite the impressive sight. I even had more than a few visitors ask "How the heck did you get that wire so high in that tree?"

Though it didn't seem to outperform its predecessor, it was worth the effort if for no other reason than to know 50 feet plus could be attained with the launch system.

Finally almost have everything set up and ready for the duration: faithful 2000 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition, boat launched, tested, and moored, boat trailer tucked out of the way, command center, fireplace, and trusty Coleman tent. Home sweet camp.


day_two_set_up.jpg

Friday, September 7 - 55 degrees this morning, though feels cooler. Not bad at all! Another ADK camping standard: breakfast starter of a mug of hot, black coffee and a cinnamon fry cake from the Eagle Bay's famous Donut Shop! Both their cinnamon and plain fry cakes are The Best. Once you sink your teeth into these, you'll never crave Entenmann's or Dunkin Donuts again.


donut.jpg

After a ham radio contact with Bill, W9VC, in Richmond, IN, I remarked out loud and to no one in particular, "That's amazing! It's still amazing." Morse code works. Low power radios works. Inexpensive "make do" antennas work. Even after nearly 50 years of hamming, it's still amazing!

Whilst hamming away, I heard what I first sounded like rain starting to hit the tarp, then sounded oddly enough like CQ being sent on Morse code. Much to my surprise, it turned out being two woodpeckers hammering away on a couple of trees for their breakfast next to the command center! Now that's something I never hear back on Main Street in Winsted!

Today is the start of the Adirondack 90 Miler - a sometimes wicked, three day endurance paddle and carry. At 10:10am, I could see from campsite 118's shoreline that the first of the 90-miler contestants had just entered the channel from Seventh Lake! By noon, all 275 participants had embarked on the portage through the campground from Seventh to Eighth Lake. It was 66 degrees at noon - just about perfect for the 90-miler!

Those folks are going to sleep well tonight! And tomorrow night. heh heh.

In the afternoon I decided to stretch the old legs and take a good, long walk. Here are some of the sights along the way.

Quite by happenstance I had met a family on line who have a long history camping at Eighth Lake Campground. They contacted me after their daughter, Megan, had stumbled upon a picture on this website. It's the Measuring Tree off the end of the Seventh Lake loop of the campground. Though the family have long since moved to Ohio, they managed to revisit and camp at Eighth Lake earlier this very summer!

That said, I couldn't resist revisiting The Measuring Tree to see if there were any 2018 updates or additions. I wasn't disappointed!

Here's Megan's update:


measuring_tree_megan

And here's her brother, Nathan's (aka "Bubba"), update:


measuring_tree_bubba

Megan's and Nathan's grandfather Neal had recently passed away. He was the patriarch camper of the family, who no doubt held court over many a campfire here at Eighth Lake campground! In tribute to their grandfather, they left this quote on the tree:


measuring_tree_quote

I had the distinct honor of meeting Megan's grandparents, Sue and Neal, in 2016 at camp. They had driven up from the Syracuse area for a day trip visit. Both had wonderful camping memories to share and views on life in general. Very kind folks. My parents were right: you meet the nicest people when camping!

So although seeing that Measuring Tree quote brought me some sadness, I was glad that Sue and Neal were able to get back and visit the campground in 2016.

There were some new names, too: Paige, Maylin, and Maliyah - Megan's and Nathan's cousins whose family were also camping with them.


measuring_tree_paige


measuring_tree_maylin


maliyah.jpg

Camping: it's a family thing!

After visiting the Measuring Tree, I decided to take a hike down to the other end of the campground, which ultimately skirts the south shore of Eighth Lake. At the very end of the far loop, there was a foot trail that I decided to follow. It pretty much paralleled the shoreline and also was surprisingly close to Route 28. At several points I could actually see utility poles and glimpses of car roofs speeding by - not exactly a remote ADK hiking path!

Along the path there was a profusion of infant conifers which show just how densely the forest floor can be populated with new growth:


infant_conifers

Makes a soul wonder how many of these infants will reach maturity and be the big timbers in 40 or 50 years. One thing is for certain - I won't be around to find out!

This mold or fungi growth was very peculiar:


white_mold

Saturday, September 8 - I didn't take any photographs today, and notes for the day are scant, so there are only a couple of things to write about.

It was a "cool feeling" 55 degrees at 8:30am. Camping friend Mark stopped by to chat for a spell. He's up here every year after Labor Day, yet camps elsewhere in ADK throughout the camping season. It's always good to see a familiar face!

Later in the day, ham radio friend Jeff, KC2OKZ, and his wife Michelle were kind enough to invite me to their campsite for dinner. And what a dinner it was: deeeeelicious baby back pork ribs BBQ! It was also much fun listening to the Red Sox - Yankees baseball game on the radio while dining. Jeff is a Massachusetts native and Red Sox fan living in NY - aka enemy territory! heh heh. Though the Sox lost, it was still fun. Jeff and Michelle are picking up and moving back home in the morning. It's always sad when friends leave camp for home.

Sunday, September 9 - There seems to be some variation in temperature readings this morning. At 7 AM, my thermometer read 43 degrees; neighbor Bob's read 35; and the Ranger's read 36. That said, I believe mine is reading a tad high. Thermometer readings aside, the folks at site 120 summed it up well with "It's a little brisk this morning." Amen!

When friends pack up and leave is always tough for me. There were a few such departures and "moments" today.

Around noon, my friend Mark stopped by. He was kind enough to notice some abandoned firewoood at site 118 (my parent's old site), so he loaded it up to drop off at my campsite. What a thoughtful guy! We chatted for a while and he mentioned that tomorrow he'd be leaving. I'll miss his elaborate and humorous displays around his campsite. And next year, I'll have to remember to take a few pictures for the website!

Bob, Bobbie, and Daisy have left for the day, too. I forget where they were headed, but "the loop" isn't quite the same when they're not around.

And then Jeff and Michelle drove up and stopped, trailer in tow, to bid me farewell, as they both have to be back at work in the morning! Jeff is also a ham radio operator. Noticing each other's ham radio license plates were the beginnings of a treasured friendship.

Safe journeys, friends! See you next year.

To counter the departure of good folks, friends Bonnie and Gene from Saratoga arrived and set up their camp! Feeling better now.

Around 2 PM it was time for midday dinner. Midday? Sure! Hey, I'm camping. It's casual. Here's the start of today's gourmet fare: potatoes, onion, and two cheddar brats! That's butter in there, too, by the way. Butter is healthy, right?


brats_taters_onions

And here is the same dish looks cooked and half demolished! It was deeeeelicious!

Note the egg crates under the frying pan. I save these over the year and bring 'em up for starting campfires. After cooking up this dish, I felt lazy and just wanted to eat the meal right out of the pan, but didn't have an extra pot holder handy. I spied the crates, grabbed a couple, and fashioned up what you see to protect the picnic table and cloth from the hot pan. It worked out well.

What's that expression? Necessity is the mother of invention? Something like that, anyway. I'm even a little proud of this idea.

Also note the orange spork - a great invention that cuts down on carting around and keeping track of forks and spoons.


half_devoured

Later I visited Raquette Lake village where there's cell service so I could call my mother to see how she was doing. Having an 18 year streak camping at Eighth Lake campground herself, she's always delighted to get my calls and get updates on the goings on up in ADK!

Headed to Inlet as my air mattress air pump was in need of fresh batteries.

The temperature was 52 at 7:30pm. Later at Joe and Nina's campfire, it was 48 degrees. Going to be a brisk morning!

Monday, September 10 - a damp and cool morning - not really cold, but a cool 50 degrees at 8am. Not bad at all. Had the standard camp breakfast of oatmeal, a donut, and a smoke. Then a special bonus of a slice of campfire warmed apple pie! Yum!

Stowed wood and such away in anticipation of some forecasted "big rain." There was some very light and intermittent sprinkling at 10:45am after the wind had shifted a bit earlier - a harbinger of that rain, me thinks. Time will tell, though. The weatherman has been known to be wrong before.

While in town doing some shopping, I couldn't help myself from checking out the railroad caboose that's been sitting abandoned and for sale for years. At one time, it was outfitted as a kitchen offering eats by window service. There's a wood deck on one side of it and apparently had tables and chair for customers.

This signage on the caboose reminded me of two of the many dogs my parents had over the years: Mildred and Maude. Being litter mate sisters, they were often referred to as the M and M Twins. Millie and Maude made more than a few trips to ADK for September camping. And they were good, good doggies.


caboose_sign_large


full_cabooose_pic

Later, back at the campground, found me reflecting on how this year's site was working out fine, though I did miss "my" familiar, lakeside site 114A. I decided to visit this old friend and found something interesting on one of the little paths from the site down to the shoreline.

It looks like a family had camped there and the kids made a little "make believe" campfire, complete with a rock-circled firepit and stash of firewood nearby!

Oh, to be a kid again...


kids_play_campfire


kids_wood_stash

Friends Joe and Nina came over to the campsite and we spent some time in front of the campfire. It's their last night here, which is always bittersweet. Rain cut our campfire gathering short at 10pm, though it was an otherwise comfortable 55 degrees.

Tuesday, September 11: Never forget

The good folks of Raquette Lake Village haven't forgotten September 11, 2001, and neither should any American!


raquette_signage

Pretty mild day, all in all. It was 57 at 8am, 60 at 11:30. At around half past noon, the sun briefly came completely out - the first time in two or three days. More! More!

Mid-afternoon the Sun was playing a game of peek-a-boo from behind clouds, to the temperature peaked at 66 around 3:30pm.

Here are camping friends Joe and Nina from Oneida, NY. My parents met them long before I did. And now with Pop gone and Mom not camping anymore, Joe and Nina are good friends of mine whom I look forward to seeing every September. Joe really knows how to keep a cozy campfire going, too!


joe_and_nina

Notice they're posing in front of a loaded and ready to roll camper trailer. It was back to reality day for Joe and Nina. It's always sad to bid farewell to friends, though "See you next year!" swings the mood more positive. Joe mentioned they'd be doing their ritualistic stop at the Donut Shop in Eagle Bay on the way home. That brought knowing smiles to our faces! Safe travels, friends!

An example of perserverance against all odds: a birch tree growing on top of the stump of an old tree:
tree_on_a_stump_1

Here's another one where the roots appear to branch off from main trunk of the birch and start mid-air - almost looking like legs. If you click on the photo, the full size image shows this more clearly:


tree_on_a_stump_2

While out doing some fishing and exploring in the S.S. Arturo on Seventh Lake, I couldn't help but notice how much the buildings of an old marina had deteriorated. If you look closely, there's a boat moored under the building - in back of the left support pole for the porch - so apparently the marina is still in some limited form of operation. I'm doubting that gas pump still works, though.


sixth_lake_marina

Wednesday, September 12 - Having missed a phone call or otherwise fouled up, I didn't meet up with my friend Pete in the village of Indian Lake for lunch. I knew he was camping down at Lewey Lake Campground, but didn't know what site. I headed down there anyway.

The woman at the camp entrance booth was kind enough to point me in the right direction, and sure enough, I met up with Pete at his campsite. Pete sporting his ever present, cheerful smile:


pete_from_new_britain

I had met Pete in 2017 out on Seventh Lake quite by accident. While fishing off a rocky point, I was startled by a spirited "How's the fishing? Any luck?" I nervously spun around to see a fellow in a kayak had silently sneaked up on me and was mere feet away from me! We got to talking and as it turned out, Pete's home town of New Britain CT is only about 25 miles south-southeast of my home town of Winsted! And here we both were out in our boats on a lake in the Adirondacks - 200+ miles from home!

Maybe is wasn't by accident, chance, or coincidence. Maybe it was destiny.

After visiting with Pete, on the way back to my camp I couldn't help but stop at a scenic overlook on Route 30 Unfortunately, the camera in my cell phone doesn't do the majestic view justice. Nevertheless, here are three shots to offer a quasi-panorama view: north, middle, south respectively, looking pretty much easterly:


left_view


center_view


right_view

Thursday, September 13 - Though only a casual recycler, I am a fan of repurposing otherwise castaway trash. In a former life, these two vessels were Ovaltine containers. In their new life they offer ... uh, noctural comfort and relief to this 60-something (closing in on 70, and all too rapidly at that!) male tent camper. Enough said...

...other than, it's not quite as easy for the lady folk.


ovaltine_jugs

Later in the day was for some exploring. Camping friend Paul had mentioned a seemingly uninhabited cluster of buildings off a dirt road north of Eagle Bay. A railroad track went through there, too, he said.

Sure enough, a good distance away from a paved road was the "Carter Station" building:


carter_station

An hour later on the way back to the campsite, I decided to stop by the Sixth Lake Dam. I had read that Sixth Lake was originally six to eight feet lower than it's present level. The "new" lake level was afforded by the building of a dam at its outlet. This sparked my curiosity and the resultant investigation.

No trespassing? Pffft! No problem!


dam_no_trespassing

Imagine this: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration planting their scientific data gathering goodies deep within the protected confines of the Adirondack Mountains Park's blue line. Here's proof:


dam_rain_gage

Judging from the viewpoints from below the damn, it sure enough looks like the natural lake level was indeed six or eight lower than the level the dam provides:


dam_control_house


dam_from_below

More bureaucratic signage and warning:


dam_door_signs

Another camping ritual. Although the weather didn't necessitate the campfire, it's sure nice at the end of the day to gaze at "the camp television", as a like minded Alaskan acquaintance calls it.

And in time, I was able to reduce that yule log to ash.


campfire_yule_log

Friday, September 14, 2018 - A nice, short hike that's close to the campground with trailhead right off Route 28 is the Cathedral Pines trail. With the speed limit being 55 MPH, it's easy to miss this sign. It's about 1/2 mile west of the campground entrance.


cathedral_trail_sign

Due to excessive trail wear and degredation by the ever increasing popularity of off road bicycling, many trails are deemed "at risk". The result is that bicycles are not permitted on "at risk" trails. The Cathedral Pines trail is one of them, as this sign clearly indicates.


no_bicycles

And here is the Cathedral Monument that memorializes a brave, young ADK native who died serving our country during World War II.


cathedral_monument

Here's a close up of the memorial's dedication plaque - a beautiful tribute, indeed. Note the pennies on the shallow shelf at the bottom of the plaque. How or why the ritual of leaving pennies there is a mystery to me. Perhaps that's something I'll try to get to the bottom of some time.


cathedral_plaque

I decided to hike down from the memorial to the shoreline to finally find out the proximity of the Cathedral is to the campgrounds. I had wanted to do this years back when my folks camped, but had never gotten around to it - one of those "regrets." On the way down to the shoreline, I noticed this regal looking fungi standing very proud and all by itself. A photo was taken while laying on the ground. No shaky hands this time!


white_mushroom

Nearly to the shoreline (note the glare from sunshine on the water) I spotted these mushrooms seemingly marching in line to the water's edge, like lemmings towards the cliff.


round_mushrooms

Once down to the shore, it turns out the campground beach, dock, and site 116 were clearly in view. My folks camped at site 118, just to the right of the right hand edge of the photo. So it turned out they could have "seen me" had I hiked down there at night with a lantern, like I had wanted to do. Enter a bit of regret and melancholy, as Pop passed away in 2015 and Mom's camping days are over. Yet there's some joy, too, in the refreshing of memories when we camped here at our sites.


view_of_campgrounds

Later in the day I wanted to make a call back home and see how family was doing - and to let them know that the bears hadn't gotten me...yet! Problem is, there's no cell phone coverage at the campsite, nor anywhere within the campgrounds. This leaves two choices:

1) drive to either Raquette Lake or Inlet where there is coverage, or

2) hop in the boat, ride out to a north shore point on Seventh Lake where there's usually coverage.

Being mostly frugal, I opted for #2 and headed out onto the lake. A nice cruise, a little sightseeing, a little fishing, stop at the point, make the desired phone call, snoop around the point a bit, and head back to camp - a casual ADK afternoon.

On the way back to the boat from the point lean to, I saw a familiar plague, but this time I remembered to take a picture of it. Apparemtly this point was a special spot for the two campers who were probably deceased. I did some Internet searching to see if I could learn something about the two, but came up empty. I'll leave well enough alone and just know their family and friends from Schenectady thought enough of them to so dedicate the lean to on the point.


duck_finkle_plaque

While visiting the point earlier in the week, there was a fellow whose name escapes me (should have jotted it down) and his two young children enjoying the glorious weather. His kids would fearlessly scamper down the big rock down to the lake and swim out to the little island just off the point. I mentioned to the man how I bet that the little island adventure would be a lasting memory for his kids.

Gazing out at the two of them, we both smiled. I don't know about the father, but I was a little envious of those kids.

The fellow worked in Old Forge at Mountain Man Supply Company. He and his family were from the midwest, pulled up stakes, and moved to the Adirondacks! He said they had no regrets in doing so and simply love living in "the park."

I again experienced some envy, though I suspect a harsh ADK winter might sober me up!

Saturday, September 15 - This was the day of this year's annual pilgrimage to Raquette Lake. It's something I try to do every year. There's only one year - maybe two - that I didn't get over to and on Raquette. There's some family history that's good to revisit and keep fresh in one's memory.

As you can see, the weather couldn't have been much better: mostly sunny with beautiful, high, fair weather clouds! That's the W.W. Durant returning to port after a cruise.


durant_returning

After launching the boat and securing her steady, I stopped in at the Tap Room to grab some lunch and a brew "to go." After what seemed like forever to get my meal, all the while trying my best to ignore the big flat screen TV they have, I was finally off.

First stop on Raquette is always Clark's Point where Uncle Bob and his friends used to camp. There used to be three lean to shelters there. Some cretins set fire to one, which destroyed it. Another fell victim to being ignored by the Albany bureaucrats and lack of maintenance. But this year I was pleasantly surprised seeing Uncle Bob's lean to sporting a new roof!

It looks like some folks - Duboon(?), Litz, Bostwick, Peppenelli by name - had stayed at Uncle Bob's site for a couple nights in August. I should have checked the logbook to see if they left any notes. Oh well, if I remember I'll check in 2019. Here's the sign they made and left on a tree:


sign_on_tree

I set up the dinner spread at Bob's lean to, per ritual, and here's what the cook at the Tap Room had prepared:


lunch

Though the wait was long, they were very busy at the Tap Room when I stopped in. The everything was GREAT and the cheeseburger certainly wasn't wimpy ... even by Wimpy standards.

While eating, I checked out the lean to log book, which was carefully stowed in a waterproof container up on a shelf. And there it was: my logbook entry from last year, ALSO dated the 15th of September! How about that!


logbook

During last year's visit to Clark's Point, there was a crew of volunteers building a new lean to and growler (latrine) across a little bog on another part of the point. So I hiked over there to check out their creation and I wasn't disappointed. Here's a shot of the wonderful, new lean to they built:


new_lean_to

The growler came out pretty good, too!

After picking up and shoving off, I noticed the grass weeds poking up out of the water a hundred feet or so from the Clark's Point shore and got to thinking. Bill Kennedy, one of Uncle Bob's camping buddies, was a great outdoorsman. He camped. He hunted. He trapped. He fished. And he harvested. Bill had mentioned to me the last time I visited with him that those grass weeds was the only spot on Raquette where he could consistently catch bass. And he had fished all of Raquette!

I had my rod, reel, net, and tackle box, and had planned on doing some fishing, so figured I should at least make a few casts there, if for no other reason than in tribute to Bill.

Wouldn't you know it. After a few casts with my "go to" el cheapo lure, suddenly the rod bowed over and it's tip started dancing about!

Though not a trophy, it was a beautiful smallmouth bass. I laughed out loud and said something like, "You were right, Bill. Thank you!"


clarks_point_bass

I let the little guy go to grow some more and cast the lure, and others about for a while with nary a strike. Having at least landed one fish, I was a happy man and thought, "Good enough." And with that, I was off. With 99 miles of shoreline, there was plenty of Raquette Lake left to visit!

I fished while passing my grandmother's former camp, Cricket Lodge, on the south shore of Indian Point. Did the same going by the former camp of Bill Pohl, W2TRK, too. Both Nana and Bill Pohl are deceased. I didn't catch any fish in front of their places, so maybe they took the fish with them!

Around The Needles point and by Sucker Brook Bay's Hen and Chicken Islands didn't yield any fish either. However, I did land and release a little bass up in North Bay.

This year's trip up the Marion River provided "a first" - and a rather spooky one at that. While rounding a curve, I saw something odd that was mostly submerged in the water at the shoreline, but kept going. However, there was a gnawing thought that it might have been a bloated body! Having read many stories of folks getting lost in the ADK wilderness, I started thinking "What if?" I turned the boat around...

...and sure enough it WAS a bloated body, though that of a buck deer and not a human! Judging from its condition, poor Mr. Deer had been in the water "for a while." It's the way of the wilderness and the far bookend of life. With that mystery solved, I continued on with the Marion River trip, a trip around South Bay, and back to the starting point of Raquette Lake Village.

Sunday, September 16 - It's pre-load out day.

While tearing stuff down and stowing away, I noticed I wasn't alone. This little guy stopped by to see what I was up to.


caterpillar_1

This was the oddest and largest caterpillar I've ever seen!


caterpillar_2

The closer I brought the cell phone camera to him, the larger those "eyes" became and the further extended the "antennae" became. I suspect this was an instinctive, hard-wired defense system in that tiny, caterpillar brain to appear larger and more menacing. The "eyes" weren't eyes at all - they were some sort of coloration on the body.

(I can't let stuff like this go without investigating. So it was off to the Internet to check my supposition)

Wow! I was right! From Enchanted Learning's All About Butterflies:

"Eyespots - Some caterpillars have eyespots that make them look like a bigger, more dangerous animal, like a snake. An eye spot is a circular, eye-like marking found on the body of some caterpillars. These eyespots make the insect look like the face of a much larger animal and may scare away some predators."


*caterpillar_3

The camp breakfast frequently includes a double helping of heart healthy oatmeal. In my world, that means there's a free pass 'round lunchtime for heart unhealthy fare.


patties_in_pan

Mmmmm! Yum! Fried pork patties on a bun with sharp cheddar cheese and ketchup! Not exactly elegant dining, but camp is camp and food is food. Bon app├ętit, eh?


pork_pattie_sandwich

Please do NOT send a link to that picture to my cardiologist!

Later in the afternoon, I swung by Raquette Lake village to bid an early farewell to friend. While there, a pontoon plane landed on the lake and pulled up to a pier where some folks were waiting.

I was a little disappointed one of them didn't raise their arm and shout, "Taxi!"


air_taxi

I wondered where they were going, but didn't get a chance to ask. Another lake? A remote camp somewhere up in North Bay? Guess I'll never know, but it's fun to imagine.

Back at camp. With tomorrow being load out day, I started packing up some things to make Monday a little less stressful. I like to be rolling well before the official campground check out time. Doing so always bodes with the campground staff well when returning next year.

Here's an uncharacteristically neat arrangement of tarps, cordage, and such. The weather definitely affects the load out mode. Good weather generally makes fastidious packing easier. If it's rainy, things can get rather chaotic and messy. This year I lucked out. In the past, though, I've loaded up the car with wet camping gear and then had to deal with fogged up interior glass on the ride home. The air conditioner helps dehumidify the interior, but you can never squeeze all of it out.


tarp_cordage_etc

Another shot, this one taken with a far less steady hand than the previous one, of the day before departure follies:


blurry_load_out

And the next morning, all I had to do was empty the tent, roll up the mattress and sleeping bag, then break down the tent. And it wasn't long thereafter that everything was loaded and I was out on Route 28 headed home. It had been another wonderful and much needed escape to the woods!



Epilogue



I started this piece in early December, 2018 - later than I wanted. The impetus was the nudge provided by reserving a campsite for the 2019 season. Then life happenend and it sat, and sat, then sat some more. Incompleted.

Having uncharacteristically completing Adirondack Vacation 2019 a couple months after my 2019 camping, I was consumed in guilt for having three years worth of earlier vacation adventures sitting around in varying forms, though well short of completion. So I got to work and finished this 2018 wrap up after the 2019 wrap up. That's rather embarrassing!

Now to get going on the 2016 and 2017 photos and text while there's still some wind in my sails! Stay tuned.