Friday, September 3, 2010

Blue Mountain Lake

(from Thursday the 2nd)
As I coasted downhill, overlooking Blue Mountain Lake and the Mountain
itself, I felt a calm sense of arrival. I was biking with Henry, who
met up with me past Inlet, and graciously slowed his pace so we could
ride together and find a place for the night. Assessing my knees, and
finding comfort in the little village, I decided I couldn't go any
further (and there was some climbing to come). Henry knew of this
place with a lawn and a shower, from the Adventure Cycling maps (I
might get one of these handy tools!), and sure enough the proprietress
(is that a word?) of the Blue Mountain Lake Inn greeted us knowingly
and set us up.

I had a great swim on the beach across the street, plus free pizza
from the market and free chocolate cake from aforementioned
proprietress (is it a word now?). There was a hammered dulcimer
ensemble playing on the wrap-around porch overlooking the lake ...
life was swell. Another biker (Gabriel?) stayed there for the night.
Both he and Henry gave me a new sense of how one can move on a bike -
I think they're doing between 70 and 130 miles per day, and Henry is
doing the "northern tier" route, from WA state! Exciting!

No 100 mile days for me in the near future, that's for sure! My
Achilles is feeling much better, though I'm still treating it
tenderly. In "travis' aching body" news, both of my knees (anterior,
lateral quadraceps attachment ... i suppose there's a name, but I was
stopped short in my anatomy coloring book progress by muscle names)
are hurting/popping/straining. Not good ... so, I'm hanging out at
the Blue Mountain Adirondack Museum today, and maybe biking a few
miles to some camping. A lean-to by the lake would be ideal,
especially if there is indeed a hurricane coming. I've been hearing
all sorts of predictions ....

Before I got here, I made a stop in Inlet at the bike shop that many
people had recommended. And, sure enough, it was a fine establishment
- I was topped off for air (and given a lesson in using Presta
valves/pumps) and water, and then chatted with John and Sara(h) for an hour or
two! Nice meeting such chill folks who eat raw corn and dislike the
Enchanted Forest water park. Although, I've come around on the water park,
even though it is a pretty senseless waste of water and energy .... I was
tempted to rekindle some delightful childhood memories and hit the
slides, because hey, fun is fun.  folks got to have fun.  I instead took the
southern road around the first of the Chain of Lakes (rather than bike 28).
It was a fantastic ride, small hills, low traffic, woods, and one local biker for
half the distance to Inlet.

I guess I'm narrating backwards today .... I considered taking the
scenic railroad from Thendara to Saranac, but it doesn't go that far.
Plus they pretend to rob on the way! With some extra funds, I think
the railroad will one day soon run from Utica to Lake Placid, and
there may even be a bike trail running alongside. Awesome.

Continuing retrograde narration, my ride from Clinton to Alder Creek
was a fine one. I made some wrong turns, but eventually crossed the
Erie Canal and the thruway, and headed into terrain that looked almost
like Adirondacks. In Holland Patent, I noticed that everyone spoke
like my Dad's mother and cousins. If I'd continued north or
northwest, this would have increased, I'm sure! It was comforting,

As I got to the end of my legs, around Kayuta Lake, I asked for some
directions to camping. I finally ran into this fellow who was
checking the railroad gates, as a volunteer who "likes to play with
model trains.  but big ones." He directed me to another location that was near
some tracks, and where no one would bother me. I think the word he
used was "desolate." Sure enough, it was a bunch of 'posted' woods
with a track running through. So I set up just between the posted
sign and the tracks, with enough woods to feel comfortable.

I set up my tent, got everything in line, and went to hang my food in
a tree. This is harder than I thought, actually ... I quickly got
frustrated, but before I could get too upset, I heared a truck pull
off the road, and onto the gravel alongside the tracks. Coming my
way? Yup ... the blue pickup pulled into a maintenance clearing about
15 yards from me, and I hit the ground in my neon yellow, green, and
orange attire. The white rope was hanging in front of me.

I wasn't too concerned about camping where I was set up, but I was
hanging food in the 'posted' area. What luck, if the random
manufacturing company from Rome had sent some folks up to check on the
land. I lay still and listened, hidden behind two young spruce trees.
I couldn't see them clearly, so they couldn't see me, right? Well
... my best guess (to cut a 45 minute story short) is that they were
just two dudes smoking pot in a hidden spot. They beeped a couple
times, maybe because they saw me, but maybe not. I didn't move. Just
before leaving, they got out and walked around, and crushed a can of
"amp" on the ground. actually one of them threw a plastic bag of junk
out the window, I nearly cursed at him out loud. that would have been
a sight, to hear the woods shout at you after trashing it!

so ... i finally got my food up in small pine (everything was stunted
on this barren hill, even mini goldenrod everywhere!), but it wasn't
really that safe from any determined bear. I was too tired to worry.
and I wasn't even worried about folks coming back to bother me. but
the flies were driving me insane for some reason, and I got into my
tent around 6:00. slept until dusk, took a quick walk, and slept
again until morning light. well, it was great sleep, with constant
dreams - only i woke up every 5-20 minutes, so the dreams were
ever-changing. and full of cameo appearances of dozens of people I
know. pretty fun.

at night, a couple groups of coyotes (ha, almost wrote "wolves!")
killed a deer, and celebrated. it was a festive occasion. in the
morning, I swim-biked through the 110% humidity, and made it northward
successfully. Felt much better to be on the bike.

I'll write less when I'm less injured, I swear. It's a good excuse to
sit and give long accounts. I'll also upload some pictures as soon as
I can. Last night was luxurious, from now on I think I'll be camping
more, in more vibrant places than the first night. For the official
record, this is Day 6 on the bike, assuming I go more than a few
miles. over-and-out


  1. Haven't finished reading, but had to post this before I forgot. There definitely is an "up north" accent in NY! I noticed someone speaking like our Knapp/Mattraw relatives once while skiing in Tully, at Snow Ridge. I was tempted to ask the woman if she was from Watertown... perhaps she was just from Tully! Ok, time to finish reading...