September 16, 2013

On the Road: Adirondacks, part 3

For our last weekend in the Adirondacks we went camping. Sort of. Our version of camping involves reaching a remote cabin on a remote lake accessible only via an old school bus, a guideboat, a footpath,  and a canoe. It’s about a three hour journey, and we carry everything – food, clothes, linens, towels, gear, kids’ stuff – all the way in and all the way out. When we get there, there isn’t a road or a car or a telephone in sight. In fact, there is no electricity at all. But there is gas – so we have lanterns, a fridge, an oven, a toilet and a hot shower. And when I say a cabin, I really mean cabins. The area is so full of black bears, that the kitchen and the bathroom both have to be in separate buildings from where you sleep. Just three days before we arrived, a bear had broken into the kitchen cabin, breaking the window and crawling through to grab some marshmallows that a kid left on the counter.
Living in this simplicity is utter heaven. We swim, fish, eat, read, row around the lake, eat, play cards, eat, go for a hike, and eat some more. Within an hour I forgot all about my phone. It’s amazing how much time there is in the day when you don’t have your phone on you. An even higher state of bliss was reached when my camera battery died. As you all know I am obsessed with taking pictures, and when that option left me, then I really started to be present and relaxed. 
When I am there, I love to imagine how long I could stay for. Our standard trip is 2 nights and two full days. With 9 people, it would be a pretty major schlep to pack and carry more food. But would I be happy there for a week? Two weeks? Hard to say. I think next summer I’ll extend our stay to 4 nights and see how we get on. 
My favourite part of the path on the journey to our camp.
The last leg of our journey, in a 1930’s Abercrombie and Fitch canoe. How chic.
The sleeping cabin at our camp. Don’t be fooled, we don’t actually sleep in there – we just use it as a place to leave our clothes and change. We (meaning everyone except my husband, who does actually sleep in there) spend the night in a lean to –  a three sided hut that opens onto a giant fire pit. It’s not the best night’s sleep – you are bound to be woken by loons, coyotes, bears all calling out in the night – but it’s what we’ve done since we were barely walking, and so it’s tradition. Ambien helps.
I always force myself to get up before the children so I can sit on the dock with a cup of coffee in silence. Christopher usually joins me. 
6:30am. This might have been my favourite moment of the summer.

The crack of dawn view from the dock.

Swimming from the camp dock is a bit swampy so we pile in canoes and row to the middle of the lake where there is a swimming dock. It’s never easy to jump in the lake – even in August – but I’m always glad I did.

The cook house – containing the kitchen, a dining porch and an inside dining room. If you look at the side of the house you can see the plywood patch from where the bear broke in through the window just days before. Yikes!

Zach learning to paddle. Our friends just up ahead saw a mother bear and two cubs swim across the lake just in front of them, but sadly we missed it.

It seems only fitting to wear Keen’s shoes in Keene Valley. Plus, they are the perfect Adirondack shoe in all ways but in the chic department. 

These guide boats are so beautiful they kill me. I love the wicker seats, the owner’s name embossed on the oars, the monogram on the outside and the old school colors. 

The beautiful woods at our camp.
Heading home.



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6 years 8 months ago

I live in an unfortunate rural area where people think Keens are very logical casual footwear (comfort is THE only thing that matters, right?) and don't see a problem with the stunning ugliness of them. Your use of them is acceptable and laudable. And your pictures… thanks for them.

Bryony Angell
6 years 8 months ago

I love that you wear Keens there–I feel the same way about them as you do. Tretorns are my version of Keens for our family's same retreat into nature on the West coast–Lopez island.

6 years 8 months ago

Wow!!Wow!!! Thank you for sharing. It is inspiring, different. My husband and kids would love this.

6 years 8 months ago

Have you spent your vacations in heaven? Looks like. This cup of coffe on the dock at 6:30…Incredible!