Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mountains

I know I'm close to this man's Maine when I first see the Camden Hills - that fleeting view from Route 1 in Warren. They actually look quite tall from that distance.

The pictures below, however, are not from Maine, but from the Adirondacks, where we spent Columbus Day weekend. These mountains are somewhat more real, to coin a phrase, than our coastal mountains, the reasons for which I'll explain shortly.

The picture below shows part of the Great Range - also a golf  fairway of the Ausable Club, where we did not stay, having not been invited, having indeed no inclination for yellow pants and Ray Bans, but having been invited to stay at Putnam Camp across the road, having much inclination for rusticity, and conversation not related to investments or sports, and a history that included being founded by William James, among others, and visits by Freud and Jung. 




Our hosts assured us semi-hikers used to 1500-foot "mountains" that the trails we would take that weekend were relatively easy. They were right on the relatively part. Our first day consumed only 7 miles round trip, but the last 0.7 miles we climbed at what seemed a 45-degree angle, and several times one of us boosted the other by the derriere, and the fallen leaves artfully hid roots and rocks such that coming down was way harder than going up. The result (below - the summit of Round Mountain) was worth it, even though it was only a 3000-footer. But we could see seven of the 46 4000-footers, and marveled again at the fortitude of those members of the Forty Sixers Club who have climbed them all, including some of our weekend party. These Adirondack trails are serious stuff.




The second day after heavy exercise, most of us know, is not the bad one. But we knew what aches were coming, and opted for an easy hike (without the "relatively:) on Sunday. Our hosts graciously accompanied us on the trail along Gill Brook, although perhaps they would have liked something more challenging.




There is nothing quite like a mountain river - every turn produces a new falls, pool, riffle, arrangement of rock.




But then we just had to see Lower Ausable Lake, a fjord-like cleft in the mountains (that too was worth it), and the miles piled up, ending up in a total of 10 for the day. Much of it was gentle, on a road no less, with SUVs occasionally crowding us to the side, but toes and calves still took a beating.




From the little we saw, Adirondack Park is a magnificent place - 6 million acres, a third of which is preserved forever wild. As you can see, the views are tremendous, the air and water is pure, and - once you get away from the masses of cars at the main trail heads (especially on Columbus Day weekend, which coincides with Canadian Thanksgiving, which brings many Quebecois from just a couple hours away) - the quiet serenity of mountains is hypnotic. In spite of this, and please forgive me O Great Wolfjaw and Gothics and Marcy and Giant, I'm happy to return to our little mountains next the sea, for the world divides into mountain people and ocean people, does it not?

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