adventures of beck

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Rest of the Story.

There is a reason that I don't make money off my blog, the way does. That's because it takes me a month to finish the story that I started. Back to the Adirondack adventure.

Near the end of day two, we struggled into lean-to site, FINALLY. We were so tired, and so happy to get there. As we rounded the corner of the lean-to, we saw that it was full of stuff. Probably about 5-6 people's stuff. CRAP. But it was a nice lean to site, and we were sick of walking. Hiking. Carrying heavy packs. We were stone tired. I noticed a form sleeping in the sleeping bag in the lean-to. Whatever. As we collapsed onto a log, we were chatting about the wonderful lake, and doing laundry, and laying around and eating. The form sat up. "We'll be out tomorrow," she said shortly, and then laid back down. We shrugged. At this point, we didn't even care if we slept in the lean-to. We knew it was illegal to put up a tent near a lean-to, but we decided we would be happy to just sleep under the stars. We had Oscar, and we knew the weather report was fine for the next 24 hours or so. We couldn't handle the idea of walking any further. At this point I will need to remind you that the occupancy limit of a lean-to is eight people. The DEC (Forest Rangers) require that parties share space up to the point of 8 people. But if this old lady was going to be anti-social, we didn't care.

We started to remove socks, boots, to put up a clothes line, to basically make camp. The old lady again sat up. "What are you doing," she asked. "Oh," we replied amiably, "we're just going to sleep under the stars. All the other camps are full, and we're really really tired. We've been hiking all day." We were so emotionally unprepared for what happened next. The old lady began a tirade; "you can't stay here, the other people at this camp won't want you to, why don't you just move along, you're not wanted here..." We were stunned. Everyone so far had been so friendly, (even when the nearly burned down the lean-to.) This woman was plain MEAN. She became so cruel that I eventually walked ahead to look for another campsite. I ran into a ranger, and he showed me where another one was. (It wasn't on the map.) By the time I got back, Dooley was pretty upset. The lady had been making her feel terrible while I had been gone, calling her everything from the ludicrous "lean-to squatter" to the downright offensive "you're not wanted here, why don't you just move along, go on, take your stuff, pick it up, get out of here!" We packed up and left, telling her that we hoped that if she ever was desperate for a kind word that she would find someone who was willing to lend a hand. We were shook up and exhausted. We finally struggled into a semi-creepy lean-to campsite that we had all to ourselves. We took a daypack adventure down a creek briefly that was a lot of fun. Then it was back to camp and in our sleeping bags by 7pm, though we stayed up until about 11pm scaring the crap out of ourselves with random noises and the lean-to journal entries about bears.

The following morning, we tackled the McIntyre Range. Specifically, we hiked up Mt. Algonquin.
"Algonquin Peak in the MacIntyre Mountains is, at 5114 feet, the second highest mountain in New York State. But in all other respects, Algonquin is second to none. Standing in the midst of the noblest group of mountains in the Adirondacks, it offers an exciting climb and the best view from within the High Peaks." -

Algonquin is also "one of the longest continuously steep climbs in the Adirondacks."

It hurts. But it was so worth it.

Above: this is a waterfall that I photographed on Alqonquin Peak trail. We followed this stream a good deal of the way up, often walking on dry rockbed that was the stream's territory during spring rains. This is surprisingly unsettling to do. You could actually fall a pretty long ways if you fell over backwards on one of these parts. Because your boots are grippy and the rock is dry, the footing is pretty good. But you do have to pay close attention, you wouldn't horseplay in these areas, or attempt to climb them while intoxicated. And I personally wouldn't climb that trail in winter. But people do that. They have a lot of special equipment.

Above: Dooley and Oscar at the top of Mt. Algonquin. As you can see in the background, it's a pretty busy peak. BUT a lot of these people came up Mt. Wright to get to Mt. Algonquin. This is a lot easier than the climb we did. Mt. Wright has plane crash wreckage on it, I'd like to see that next time. The top of the mountain is bald, we are "above the treeline." Also called "an alpine zone." All of this means that the plant life that can grow so high up in the elements is very very fragile, and we aren't allowed to step on it. You have to stay on the bare rock parts. You can incur a very big fine for not doing this.

Above: Oscar and me posing on the top of Mt. Algonquin. This was relatively soon after we summited, and although we quickly threw on wind breakers, we hadn't yet gotten on the windpants. It was probably 50 or so degrees or less with the windchill on the summit. Plus we had just stopped moving from the climb, and we were sweaty. You could catch a chill pretty easily. We ate our two powerbars each with peanut butter and nutella smeared on them. This was a great idea for a snack, but we didn't bring enough of it, and by the time we got off the summit, we were famished.

Above: Oscar appearing to pose for the tag of a Columbia clothing item. We photographed him for his veterinarian team who had spared him from death row. He was a sweet, sweet dog, but they were in overflow, and his ticket was up. But the techs couldn't bear to go through with it. He was only getting one bowl of food per day, so little were his chances of survival that he didn't even get full resources. But they spared his life for 2 weeks, in the hopes someone would adopt him. And that person was Dooley. Oscar now lives the good life. On the top of the mountain, people of course asked what breed Oscar was, and we told them that he is a Shepherd/Lab mix. We told them he was a rescued dog, and that he was about to be put down. We say this as their children are happily patting Oscar on the head, and he is loving the attention. Their faces are shocked: "Why would he be put down?" It is always difficult to keep the emotion out of your voice when you tell them that it is because people BUY purebred dogs, and money talks loudly, drowing out the voices of the true diamonds in the rough, like Oscar.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what picture Dooley is going to put on this year's Christmas card.

ma kettle

9:54 PM CDT


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