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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ooohh! Aahhh! Impressive!

Tonight our campground hosted fireworks and they were spectacular!  ...And the fireworks next Saturday are supposed to be even better!

Row, Row, Row Your Boat Swiftly Down the Stream

Hi Ho, Blog!

We're all settled in.  We spent Friday getting familiar with the campground, meeting some neighbors, learning the rules, figuring out where all the stores are, doing a little grocery shopping, planning a day hike and making arrangements to kayak today. Since it was Friday, we also got to watch camp TV.  We just sat back and watched the campground fill up. Several tent cities were erected in the four corners of the camp ground.  One group was a family reunion of 50 people!  Surprisingly, by 10:00 p.m., all was quiet.  That never happened at WT Family Campground. In fact, we were usually the ones getting shushed!

We've been hearing about the heat wave spreading across the country.  While it is getting hot up here, it is no where near as bad as the mid-atlantic or mid-west. We're pretty lucky here.  The camp ground is well shaded and right on the river. We turned the AC off last night and just slept with the windows open. Hopefully, our friends in DC will have their power back soon.

Our campground offers kayak rental and a shuttle service. The large family reunion group went out ahead of us and it was looking like there wouldn't be enough kayaks for everyone, but at the last minute the owner pulled one off the front of the building for us to use. Here is Kathy just after putting in.

The river was wide in spots and a little shallow in some sections, but the whole trip was just beautiful. Yesterday, one of the kayakers actually saw a black bear swim across the river. We didn't get to see much wildlife.  Unless you count our fellow campers.  :)

While in Seneca Falls, we had a chance to paddle with our friend Tim.  He took us on a 12 miles trek.  Our trip today was only five miles, and it was all down stream.  We just kicked back and let the river take us where it wanted to.

No one was in much of a hurry today.  The weather was perfect for being on the river.  Sunny and warm. Many of our neighbors stopped to take a swim.

Tonight, we are looking forward to the first of many fireworks displays.  Our campground will have fireworks tonight and again next Saturday.  Tomorrow, we are doing a day hike around Rattlesnake Mountain.  Hopefully, there won't we any rattlesnakes when we get there.

Bye for now.

A Huge Tent Compound Sprang Up Overnight Across From Us!

Tom, it makes us look like pikers. We need reinforcements up here!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Land Shark

Dear Blog,

We got a late start this morning.  After spending the prior day with Laird and Risa, we got home late and thus slept in a little. Even though we are retired, there are still chores to do.  After shower and breakfast, we studied Chinese for an hour, did two loads of laundry, made lunch and emptied the black and gray water tanks.  At 3:00 p.m., it was finally time to hit the trail.  Today was a five mile hike to Little Pond.  Here's Dave pointing the way!

As hikes go, this was supposed to be relatively easy.  It was two and 1/2 miles along a forest road to the pond and then return the same way. Only problem is that it had rained every day for the past four days.  The road itself was full of "little ponds." However, once we got to Little Pond, it did not dissappoint.  There was a nice camp on the shore of the pond with a great view down the length of the pond.  We could see a deer and her fawn catching a drink at the other end of the pond. This is one of the few times we actually saw wildlife in the wild. We usually see turkeys in camp and deer on the side of the road.

On the way back, we could see the remnants of an old stone fence.  There was also a power line easement that went for miles. In Vermont, you can actually hike and snow mobile the power line easements. It would probably take you days to get from one end to the other.

Little did we know, as we returned to our car, that we would have our first encounter with the elusive land shark.  These little known sharks inhabit only the deepest darkest regions.  

Kathy could not resist a closer look and almost didn't survive the encounter, but Dave was able to pull her from the jaws of death.

Luckily, Dave and Kathy were able to slip by the land shark and return to camp. The night was spent by the campfire, cooking mesquite smoked salmon and drinking a local beer from Brattleboro.  It was our last night in Vermont.  Tomorrow, it is on to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Bye for now.

Winding Down in the Green Mountains

These last few days have been slow-paced.

It rained heavily all day Monday, June 25, so after doing our daily exercises and our daily Chinese lessons, we spent most of the day working on our itinerary for the coming 12 months or so.  It's interesting to think that, with Katie moving to New Haven, CT by January 2013, and Matt coming to Toronto in 2014, we might be able to find a place in, say, the Adirondacks, where we could be about a 4 hour drive from each of them as well as Kathy's family in the Philadelphia area.

Tuesday was reserved for a day to hang out with Laird and Risa in Albany.  We got over there around 10:30 and, of course, started with brunch at Cafe Madison.  From there, we headed back to their house for an afternoon of gabbing and Chuckluk.  We finished the day with a special dinner at their favorite Japanese restaurant in the Albany area.  By the time we got home Tuesday night, it was dark and we fell into bed and one of the soundest sleeps either of us have had in a long time.

Woodford State Park and Lake

On Sunday, June 24, we took a 5 mile hike around Woodford State Park and Lake, which is only 5 miles or so from our campsite.  It was a beautiful day and the lake was gorgeous:

We saw some kayakers paddling lazily around the lake.  There were also two fishermen in a rubber dinghy spending more time drinking from their flasks than casting their lines.

We walked around the campground and noted the lean-to's and cabins available for rent.  Many of the sites were secluded and pretty.  We wrapped up the hike at the day use beach.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Baxter's Present

As we stepped out of the RV this afternoon, we found this poor little dead mouse on the gravel by the door. It appears that Baxter the cat, who only recently has wandered around outside on a long leash, has already perfected the art of the hunt and wanted to present his prize to us!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Glastenbury Loop Backpack

Hi, Blog!  Zoey here.

You may not know me, but I'm a long-haired dachshund and I just finished hiking the Glastenbury Loop near Bennington, Vermont.  My owners are Darren and his wife Dusty.  We hiked with Dusty's dad, Derek.  The four of us started out Sunday.  On Monday, we met these two older hikers, Kathy and Dave, who started their hike on Monday.  They passed us on their first day into their backpack.  I introduced myself right away.  I didn't really trust them, and barked to protect my humans, but Kathy and David turned out to be friendly.

They told us of their plans to backpack on the Appalachian Trail (in this section also known as the Long Trail) from Bennington up to Glastenbury Mountain and then back the West Ridge Trail. My humans and I are doing the exact same loop hike. My humans read about it in the Best of the AT trail book, which they downloaded on their Kindle. Here is the map Dave and Kathy showed us:

They said their plans were to stay Monday night at Hell Hollow Brook ("Camp 1"), about 3 miles in from the trailhead.  Then on Tuesday they were hiking almost 7 miles up to Glastenbury Mountain to camp near the Goddard Shelter, which is a popular stopover for Appalachian Trail through-hikers ("Camp 2").  On Wednesday, they planned to hike over 8 miles, past a beaver pond, to the summit of Bald Mountain, and camp at Bear Wallow Spring on the southeast flank of Bald Mountain ("Camp 3").  Thursday, they planned to hike over 4 miles back to the place they started, for a total trip of 22.5 miles.

My human parents and I are from Florida, but my human Grandpop, Derek, is from California.  We're up for a family reunion in Connecticut, and before Derek flew home, we all wanted to do a backpack along the Appalachian Trail.  I'm trail-hardy, even though I have short legs, and this was a big adventure for me!

Kathy showed my humans a photo of the start of their hike, as they crossed the bridge over City Stream.

Some of the devastation from Hurricane Irene last year is visible.  The streams were so flooded that the roaring waters ripped the vegetation and topsoil from the riverbeds and riverbanks, leaving nothing but bare rocks and boulders for miles along formerly green streambeds.

David and Kathy also told us that they had passed a large group of 20-something hikers, who were on a training backpack for Overland, an organization that offers hiking adventures for 5th through 12th graders in New England, the Blue Ridge, the American West, Alaska and Europe.   The group comprised maybe 15 trainee leaders in full pack, all learning the necessary skills to lead kids in outdoor adventures in the wilderness.  The young backpackers were full of excitement and enjoying the day.  They were headed south on the Long Trail while all the rest of us were headed north.

The first part of the trail is very steep, but it has some pretty amazing sights, such as this huge split boulder.  I think that's David standing in the gap.

We passed Dave and Kathy again as we crossed Hell Hollow Brook.  They had their camp all set up alongside the burbling stream.  This time I recognized them, and they greeted me warmly.  They called us "Zoey and her humans," which I took as a high compliment!

We decided to camp further on the trail.  On Tuesday, we were hiking ahead of Kathy and Dave, but we made a wrong turn.  Instead of looping back on the West Ridge Trail when we reached the Goddard Shelter on Glastenbury Mountain, we continued north on the Long Trail (the AT).  It took my humans a few hours to realize we were headed the wrong direction.  By the time we got back to Glastenbury Mountain, Dave and Kathy had set up their camp and were walking up to the summit to climb the fire tower and catch the sunset.  They said they were hoping to record a video at the top of the fire tower and post it to their blog, but the mists coming in might spoil the sunset.  We were exhausted, so we didn't join them.  Instead, we marched on, back onto the correct route and all the way to a beaver pond that lies southwest of Glastenbury Mountain on the West Ridge Trail. The beaver pond was pretty, but the mosquitos were terrible.

Meawhile, Dave and Kathy had a chance to spend some time at the Goddard Shelter with other backpackers, including some through-hikers.  This spot is a little over 2/3 of the way from the southerly terminus of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain, GA, to the northern terminus at Mount Katahdin, ME.  The faster and earlier of the through-hikers are coming through now.  Kathy and Dave also met two sisters, both retired, who were visiting from Utah to hike the Long Trail.  They also chatted with a husband and wife, Gary and Edith, from Texas, who also were visiting to hike the Long Trail.  Gary and Edith had a lot of interesting stories.  They also loved their backpack gear and had some cool hammocks with mosquito netting, that they hung from two trees at Hell Hollow Brook at midday near Dave and Kathy's camp; Gary and Edith caught an hour's nap there, and then continued on north to the Goddard Shelter.  They were planning to hike even further north that day.

Because of my humans' navigation error, we had, as it turns out, a very long hike that day.  We were exhausted by the time we settled into camp at the beaver pond Tuesday night.  Wednesday was a very hot, humid day, and we had to hike on the damp (western) slope of Bald Mountain and its ridges.  It was so overgrown with ferns and shrubs, I lost sight of my humans in a few spots.  It really started to drag us down, and Dusty's father Derek wasn't doing well at all.  This was a long hard hike for him.  Dave and Kathy passed us (again!); by this time we were old friends and I wagged my tail and ran up to them to greet them, lick their hands, and all those dog things.

As we slogged on after Kathy and David passed, I was curious about how Kathy and David were doing, so I ran ahead, just in time to hear Kathy scream.  I rounded a corner of the trail, and THERE was Kathy being eaten by a Troglodyte!  I can swear I heard the following exchange:

Troglodyte:  "You're coming with me."

Kathy: "What???"

Troglodyte:  "It's a long trip.  I'll need a snack."

My humans were running out of water and Darren decided to forge ahead with me to find the next water source, but he didn't take enough water or a trail map.  Darren and I were very, very thirsty when we finally almost crawled onto the summit of Bald Mountain - and who did we find but Kathy and David? They were resting in the shade, taking shelter from the 91F temperatures.  They had summited about 15 minutes before we did.

David had a little water left in his bottle and he shared it with Darren and me!  I eagerly lapped up what he poured in the lid, and then I stuck my nose into his water bottle to try to lap up the rest.  I couldn't get my tongue in there, but he poured me several long, big shots of water in the lid, and finally Darren told me to go over and lie down in the shade.  I did, and took a nap.

When I woke up, my human mom Dusty was just arriving.  She said Grandpa Derek wasn't doing very well, and Dusty and Darren discussed how to get down and out of the wilderness (another 6 miles, at least!) so that Derek wouldn't miss his flight home to California.  Kathy and David showed their trail map to Darren and warned him about which turns to make and what trails to take in order to get back to our car.  Then David and Kathy said goodbyes and told us they were going to camp near Bear Wallow Spring, which was the next source of water for us, too.

We started down the mountain about half an hour after Kathy and David.  We passed the sign and trail junction for Bear Wallow Spring (thanks, Dave and Kathy, for drawing that big arrow in the dirt pointing to the correct path).  I craftily let my humans walk ahead of me, and then I disappeared down the side trail to the spring to see what David and Kathy were up to.  Not more than a hundred yards or so down the side trail, I spotted Kathy already relaxing at their makeshift campsite.  It looked very homey:

I ran back to my humans, satisfied in knowing that Kathy and David were settling in for the evening.

Before I wrote this, I learned that Kathy and David had no problems getting out on Thursday.  They had about a 2 mile woods walk down to a gravel road, and then another 1 mile walk along that gravel road to the highway.  They said they got some dramatic views of City Stream and all the devastation from Hurricane Irene.  Kathy said that she saved a pair of clean hiking socks just for the highway walk back to their truck.  She changed into the new socks and they started up the highway toward the parking lot. Then the traffic let up and the sun got hot and they were gettin' dry, almost let a pick-up truck nearly pass them by.  So they jumped right in and the driver grinned and he dropped them up the road (just like it happened in Van Morrison's song, "And It Stoned Me")! Kathy didn't even get the new socks dirty.

As they crossed the highway to the parking lot, Kathy said they ran into the young hike leaders from Overland, who were also finishing their hike.  Kathy said it was a real coincidence that they saw the young people both at the beginning and end of the adventure.

And that's about all I have to report on my backpack with my humans on the Glastenbury Loop. Mom and Dad got Grandpop to the airport just fine and we are heading up to Brattleboro to stay at a B&B. Can't wait for a real bed.  Kathy said she and David were going to drive down to Henry's Smoked Meats in Bennington and pick up some good smoked breakfast sausage.  Now, that's something a long-haired dachshund could get excited about!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cat-and-Bird Games

A little grey bird seems to have spotted Flip the cat in our window and is playing games with Flip. First the bird hops onto our bikes (see photo) and looks at Flip. Every time the bird jumps or raises its feathers, Flip, of course, jumps or paws at the window. Then the bird flies around to the side windows and flaps its wings and HOVERS until Flip rushes over to the side window. Then the bird starts all over by hopping onto the bikes. This has been going on about 15 minutes. Flip is beside herself. She hasn't had such entertainment in weeks.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Today was a wonderful Father's Day!  We prepped the campsite for Laird and Risa, who arrived around noon.  We just sat around and joshed and chatted for a couple hours.  Baxter was entertaining, as he wound his way around the picnic table and chairs with his long leash.  We all headed down to Bennington for a very tasty meal at Madison Brewing Co.  Katie called while we were there and we all had a chance to say hi to her.  After our midafternoon meal, it was back up to the RV for more chat and a Skype call with Matt, Weina and little William.  A bit more talk, and Risa and Laird  headed back on the 90 minute drive home to Albany.  Now it's time to get our stuff ready for our backpack tomorrow.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Harmon Hill (not Harmon Rabb)

Hi Blog,

So far, the weather is holding. Woke up to a gorgeous morning. We realized that we forgot to get Eddie and George out for the customary "wake up in" photo.  So, we took them over to the pond this morning so they could see the ducks.  The ducks are pretty use to people.  As we sat at the picnic table, Mama Duck and her six ducklings came right up onto the bank and began munching on grass seeds. How cute are they!

After breakfast, we did our one hour of Chinese language study.  We leave for China in less than 8 weeks.  Our reward for all that hard brain work, was a nice relaxing walk in the woods.  We decided to hike on the Appalachian Trail (also known as the Long Trail in this section), south of VT Route 9, which is the opposite direction to the backpack we plan to take next week.  For those AT afficianados in the audience, a sign on the trail informed us that we are 1,563 miles North of Springer Mountain, GA, the southern end of the AT, and 657 miles South of Mount Katahdin, the northern end of the AT - or, in other words, almost exactly 2/3 of the way up the AT for the through-hikers.  Those through-hikers who left GA early (say, in February) or who are particularly fast hikers might be passing through this area now; most won't pass through for another few weeks.  Here's Kathy at the trailhead sign.

Well, the hike was mostly relaxing if you don't count the 1/2 miles stair case leading up to the top of the ridge before it leveled out.  We met another hiker, whose wife decided to turn around 2/3 the way up. She went back down to wait for him at the trailhead parking lot. We felt bad, because he set a turn around time so as not to leave her waiting too long and never reached the top of Harmon Hill. Sometimes you just have to persevere through the tough parts so you can enjoy the easy parts, like the walk in the woods along the boardwalk.

Once we reached the summit, there was a trail register with an AT notebook inside.  These trail registers are used by through-hikers to check for messages from their friends.  We left a note to all the through-hikers we met in the Smokey Mountains. As we mentioned above, they probably won't be by until next month.  We left our emails address and we'll let you know if any of them contact us.

The payoff for this somewhat strenuous hike came a short distance from the trail register with an amazing view down onto the town of Bennington, Vermont.

On the way back down, we rant into a young couple with their five year old son. The kid was just leaping from rock to rock having the time of his life. We so look forward to when William is old enough to go hiking with YeYe and NaiNai.

Back home it was showers, laundry and making dinner, as well as some other chores. We are planning a four day/three night backpack next week, so we are dehydrating lots of goodies to bring on the trail with us.  We also spent time with some hiking guides and topo maps to familiarize ourselves with the backpack route.

Chat at you later,


Eddie and George Wake Up in the Green Mountains

Eddie sips his coffee while George points out the ducks in the pond near the boulder.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Baxter's Big Day

Today was Baxter's Big Day.  More on that later, but first what led up to it.

We took a hike up Prospect Mountain, across the top, and down one of the black diamond ski slopes at the ski resort.  Ate PB&J sandwiches at the (closed) ski restaurant there.  Then walked back to our RV.

Today was shopping day, and we drove into Bennington to get groceries, some beer, and a special present for Baxter:  a screw-in anchor for a long leash so he can play around outside without driving us crazy having to hold the leash.  We also found a great restaurant for this weekend.

Back at the campsite, we had another campfire tonight, and Kathy grilled pork chops and veggies over the fire.  Today is Friday, so all the weekend RV'ers drove in and parked their rigs near us.  Couple by couple, they all eventually walked by our site and we chatted with each of them.  A nice older couple from Massachusetts.  One 5th wheel owner who is the brother of two other men we met Thursday night, who preceded the rest of their family for a grand Fathers Day camping weekend.  Finally, a couple from British Columbia who are on a long trip across the Northern U.S. into Maine and up into the Canadian Maritime Provinces and back across Canada.  We compared trip plans and rigs and each expressed envy over the others' arrangements.

But most importantly, Kathy put the leash anchor in the ground, and hitched Baxter to it.  The leash was just long enough for him to lounge out under the trees and spy on the neighboring campers.  He spent almost 3 hours enjoying the evening, the grass, the smells and the camping noises.  Finally, exhausted, he asked to be let back into the RV.  This was by far his longest day outside.  He had a nibble and immediately retired upstairs to bed:

Nighty-night, Baxter!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

They Don't Call 'Em the Green Mountains for Nuttin'

Hi Blog - this is Kathy. Today was my turn to drive from Schenectady, New York to Woodford, Vermont (which is six miles East of Bennington). We took a very direct route, but it was mostly on local highways. Lots of ups and downs. It was fun negotiating the narrow streets of Bennington towing a 38 foot 5th wheel. Traffic was pretty heavy for a Thursday. I almost blocked an intersection. It wasn't long before we were out of town and heading up hill - straight uphill. Luckily, the camp ground is at the top and I didn't have to go back down the mountain - at least not yet anyway.

We are finally getting the weather we dreamed about when we started this whole RVing thing. Blue sky, puffy white clouds, less bugs and green everywhere you look.

It didn't take long to get settled into our new site. Baxter insisted on going out for a walk as soon as we got there. He likes this camp ground. The last one had a few too many mosquitos to enjoy being outside for long.

There are only a few campers here. We talked to the owner, Anne, and her son, Chris. Their busy season is in the fall with all the leaf-peepers - September and October they are booked solid. We also chatted with Tim and Keith, a couple local guys. They came in today to set up their camper for Father's Day Weekend. They'll be back tomorrow after work with the rest of their family. They gave us loads of great ideas for hikes and fishing trips.

We ended our day with a campfire cookout. We hadn't had a campfire in two weeks. Now, all we have left to do tonight is decide which hike to do tomorrow.

Chat at you later,


Arrived Greenwood Lodge & Campsites, Bennington, VT @ 12:30 pm

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

All About the Netherlands.....

Hi Blog,

Forrest Gump once said, life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you'll get. That's sort of what we discovered RVing around the US. You just never know who you will run into.  Take for example, the other day we were talking to Fred from Michigan about how he was heading back from Maine to attend his granddaughter's dance recital. He gave us lots of great tips on where to go and what to see while in Maine. While we were talking, two bicyclists came in with all kinds of gear bags hanging from their bikes. We figured they must be bike camping.

After dinner, we took our usual stroll around the campground and stopped to chat with the bike campers - Philippe and Susanna. A lovely young couple from the Netherlands. They were biking from Manhattan to Canada, where Philippe's sister is now living. They were planning to stay in the campground an extra day and rest and do some laundry. Unfortunately, the camp's laundry facility was knocked out by the flooding last year and is still in need of repair. We offered to let them use our washer and dryer the next day.

As it turns out, Tuesday brought us the worst weather of our entire stay here. It just rained and rained. We donned our rain coats and treated ourselves to breakfast and a latte at the Dunkin Donuts around the corner. Philippe and Susanna came over around 10:00 a.m. to start their laundry. It was obvious, that we were not going to get any outdoor activity in today, unless we wanted to do it in the rain. We encouraged Susanna and Philippe to walk around the corner to the Dunkin' Donuts (their first experience).  We put on a morrocan lamb crockpot and waited out the worst of the storm. The plan was to dehydrate any leftover crockpot to use for backpacking next week. So, I needed to run to the grocery store and get some more parchment paper.

When the kids came back from their donut experience, we all headed to the grocery store. Both Susanna and Philippe studied law in college. It was fun comparing notes about the differences between American zoning laws and building codes and how things are done in the Netherlands. Upon arriving back at camp, with the rain coming down, it was obvious there was only one thing to do - take a nap. We dropped the kids off at their tent and headed back to the RV.  By now, the morrocan lamb was starting to really smell good - and it was!

After dinner, Susanna and Philippe came over to discuss their route up into the Adirondacks. We had just driven that way, twice, once for a Mount Hadley hike and again for our backpack. We went over their route and checked to see if they would encounter any steep grades. Luckily, the route they plan to take only had one grade warning and that was only 7%-8% - no problem.  We also helped them map out a short trip on the Eire Canal Bike Trail. They promise to give us a full report once they get to Canada.

It stayed pretty rainy and damp the whole night. We put the fireplace on and ate the cookies that Susanna and Philippe bought for us (they're such nice kids). We spent hours comparing the political climate here in the US and what they are going through in the Netherlands. We sometimes forget that the rest of the world was also impacted by 9-11 and the Afgan and Iraq wars. We covered a wide range of topics and the next thing we knew it was close to midnight.

The next morning dawned bright and sunny. We took care of a few chores around the RV (finished some of our laundry and emptied the holding tanks). Just as we were ready for lunch, Susanna and Philippe were ready to shove off on the next leg of their adventure. We wished them a bon voyage and snapped this photo by the boat ramp:

They inspired us to get our bikes out. We rode for a couple hours up and back - almost 20 miles - on the Erie Canal Trail. After our ride, we enjoyed happy hour on the dock, while our neighbor, Tommy, was fishing for bass. He lived in the area and knows it well, and gave us some tips about campgrounds in New York as well as on the West Coast of Florida.  We also BS'ed about fishing and driving trucks.  

Just another day in the life of Dave and Kathy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Adirodack Backpack!

Sunday and Monday we took a backpack to Murphy Lake, Middle Lake and Bennett Lake, located  near Hope, NY in the Adirondacks.  These were our first days for which the forecast was sun without rain, so we were very excited!

The drive up to the trail is scenic in itself, rising up into the Southern Adirondacks and along the Western shore of the Great Sacandaga Lake.  We found the hike in a reference book we own, called, "50 Hikes in the Adirondacks," and it was as interesting as billed!

The first 2.5 miles of the hike were up and down through woodland, but, because of recent rains, we were constantly stream hopping and gingerly picking our way through sloppy mudholes or trying to walk on VERY slippery logs laid out across boggy areas.  We were amply rewarded by reaching Murphy Lake, where we did a minor bushwhack around the North end and then down the East shore.  We encountered several other hikers here, grabbed an early lunch but didn't tarry long, and continued on down toward Middle Lake.  Reaching that lake, we pressed on along a ledge about 300 feet above the shoreline because we were eager to make camp.  Between Middle Lake and Bennett Lake, we encountered swarms of midges that had somehow learned to divebomb straight into our eyes, avoiding all of our Deet defenses entirely.  For some reason, the lead hiker got it the worst, and David, who was in the lead on this stretch, was constantly tortured with little divebombers landing in his eyes.

Once we arrived at Bennett Lake, we set up camp --

-- and pulled out our flyfishing gear to try our hand at the trout said to be stocked in the lake.  There were some lively little ones along the bank near our camp, and we found that, with appropriate little dry flies, we got repeated hits.  But these trout were so fast at rejecting the fly, that we could never get them hooked.  David actually finally hooked one little fish, only about 4 inches long or so, but the fish wiggled off the hook as he struggled to reel it in through bushes lining the bank of the lake.

Kathy was campfire mistress and, with the hemlock that crowded our campsite, she quickly had a good fire roaring.  Meanwhile, David found a nearby beaver lodge and snapped a photo:

After a scrumptious hot camp meal and a long linger by the campfire, we retired to our new tent as dusk descended over camp.  We slept hard, because the sun rose and we were awake at 6:00 am before we knew it.  After a hearty apples and cinnamon oatmeal breakfast with camp cocoa-coffee, we were off on our return hike, but not before snapping a 20-something self-portrait:

Having more time on the way back, we climbed down to Middle Lake as we passed it.  It is a beautiful tarn with an island in the middle and a beaver lodge at the North end:

Moving on, we arrived back at Murphy Lake and Kathy spied some cookware hanging on the back of a campsite lean-to at the South end of the lake:

On we hiked, over a beaver dam that held the lake back from its inlet at the Southern end.  Kathy snapped a photo of David "reflecting" on the least wet path across the dam:

Around the lake, we decided to stop for a quick lunch and enjoyed our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the beaver dam out the outlet on the Northern end:

Before we knew it, we were back to the truck, and made it home to the RV by 2:00 this afternoon, giving us time to air out the tent and camp stuff, clean our gear, and have a leisurely dinner at home. 

You can see all the photos from our backpack at

Walking around the campground, we met a Dutch couple, Philip and Susan, who are bicycle-camping across New York State and up into Canada for 3 weeks.  We also chatted a while with a fellow RV'er from Michigan, Fred, who is overnighting in the site next to our rig as he makes his way back home to Michigan from a vacation on the coast of Maine.

The weather here this afternoon is glorious, with a balmy breeze, no humidity.  The only complaint is that the mosquitoes and black flies are biting, so our walks around the campground were shorter.  But the sleeping temperature tonight will be perfect!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Art On Lark - Albany

Laird and Risa took us down to a craft festival today. In addition to picking up a few things, we enjoyed a tasty lunch at Kinnaree, a Thai-Korean-Japanese fusion restaurant. Naturally we ordered Bi Bim Bab!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hangin' Out

Today we had a wonderful visit with Risa and Laird at our campground, followed by dinner in Schenectady.  We were up early to get everything ready, and started our day off with a 40 minute bike ride.  We broke out the large cabana (protection against the mosquito hordes), and Kathy made up some lunch fixin's.

We spent the afternoon just chatting, having a beer or two, munching and playing Chuckluk.  This time Risa and David were winners!  Our newfangled butane-based mosquito repellent machine kept the bugs away, and the entire afternoon was pleasant.  Sometime after 6:00 pm, the skies threatened, so we pulled down the cabana to keep it dry and made plans for dinner.

Risa drove us into Schenectady and we dined at Van Dyck restaurant, on Union Street.  We had found it on an earlier trip into town.  All of us had yummy dishes, topped off with evil desserts.

Plans tomorrow are for us to drive into Albany and share the day with them at an arts festival.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Berry Berry Delicious!

Hi Blog.  Not far from our campground is a you-pick strawberry farm. While we didn't pick them ourselves, they were just picked this morning. Can you say - Strawberry Short Cake with whipped cream!

We spent most of today doing chores - emptying the holding tanks, post office, grocery shopping, trip planning and cutting strawberries. We did have some time to wonder around camp. Bumped into a couple from Michigan - Katrina, Patrick and their two Rotweillers - Diego and Brooklyn. We also ran into another couple who attended the Escapees Acres Rally in Merion, North Carolina - Eric and Ginny. They are also new full timers. It is fun to compare notes.

Some of the campers have agility dogs. We were taking to Dave and Ann, who have a pair of border collies.  Another couple had a pair of standard poodles. They set up an agility course for the dogs to practice on. It was a lot of fun watching the puppies run the course. They are so enthusiastic.

Laird and Risa are coming over tomorrow for lunch, so I have to get back to cutting strawberries.

Bye for now.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Retirement is...a veggie omelette on a Wednesday!

Good morning Blog. Rise and shine - it's breakfast time. On the menu for today is a veggie omelette. I know it's Wednesday, but we're retired. What else do we have to do?

Let's start with some eggs and egg whites whipped together, then add in a little feta cheese crumbles. Now for the veggies - asparagus, red pepper, mushroom, tomato, onion, olives and bok choy leaves!

Bon Appetite!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mount Hadley

Hi-Ho, from soggy New York. We seem to be stuck in a weather trough bringing showers every day. However, the weatherman promised us we wouldn't have rain until after 1:00 p.m. today.  So, we planned an early day hike up Mount Hadley, which is about an hour drive north from us in the Adirondack Park. We arrived at the trailhead just in time to catch some sun,

We picked a short hike only four miles; however, it was two miles straight up and then two miles straight down. The up was very aerobic. However, the 360 degree  view of the Adironick Mountains was well worth the effort.

Upon reaching the summit of Mount Hadley, we found we were not the only visitors. Mr. Snake was there as well. After all, it had been days since he'd see the sun, so he was also looking forward to a little sun bathing on the summit rocks.

The view from the fire tower on the summit made all the sweating worth while. It was truly a unique experience. We stayed on top long enough to have lunch, but the clouds were moving in chilling us, so we headed back down.

On the way down, we stopped at the old caretakers cabin. It is all boarded up now, but historically a caretaker stayed in the cabin and manned the fire tower durning the day. Now fire search is done by airplane. Most of the fire towers have been dismantled.

It is so cool to find these random boulders as you hike along the trail. You can just tell that something big must have happened to cause them to roll down the hill and crack open.

After we finished our hike, we had a chance to scout out the location of our next hike, which will be an overnight backpack. Looking forward to getting out on the trail and staying the night.

Chat at you later,