Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Entering the Adirondacks of New York. Didn't see any moose, but they are here.
Stopped in Olmestedville to try out and order a new kayak. Then on to visit Soos while they build it. Soos is staying in her trailer next to the house. Her daughter and family are staying in the house.
My mountain view.
Soo's grandson, Orion, is at a very cute age.
Every day Thistle and I took a hike on one of Soo's many trails. This one leads to the pond and the beautiful cabin they built there.
A peek through the window and you can see the woodwork and huge stone fireplace. A screened porch overlooks the pond, and two canoes await at its edge.
Thistle looking for wildlife...he loved the woods.
Another view of the pond.
Soos also built this leanto beside the pond, where she has enjoyed many a summer.
A garter snake sunning himself on a log.
I told Soos she needs to repaint this funny sign on her leanto.
There are many hiking trails in the area. Soos and I hiked to the top of Mt. Baker in Saranac Lake.
Soos signing the log.
Starting the climb.
The final ascent.
We were lucky to have a clear day for such a gorgeous view of the mountains and lakes.
We ate lunch overlooking the town of Saranac Lake.
Another day we drove the back roads...
Past beaver ponds and rushing streams,
Past relics of bygone days. This church is all that is left of the White Fathers, a religious commune that once thrived here.
Another great find was the Adirondack Park Interpretive Center.
There are many trails here, used both for hiking and cross-country skiing in the winter. We hiked the Marsh Trail.
This is Barnum Creek.
Named for all the action.
We watched these damselflies fight over mating rights.
And brook trout swimming in the clear water. There were also ducks and green frogs.
We met several "Plein Air" artists out on the trail, capturing each their own perspective of the marsh.
3 artists all painting the same scene...each result was unique.
We visited the Butterfly House which Soos' daughter, Mandy helped create as part of her summer job several years ago.
And I also took advantage of the farmers market to get some fresh local strawberries.
Another day we visited John Brown's Farm. You may remember the song, "Old John Brown's body lies moldering in the grave."
John Brown was an abolitionist during the Civil War, best known for leading a raid at Harpers Ferry, for which he was executed. 
About John Brown. 

 His grave and those of his followers are here.
Where his body lies amoldering... 
The family farm. 
There happened to be a special event going on...Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom. Entertainment was provided by a troupe of drummers and dancers. The guests were invited to try out the drums. Soos is trying a drum made from an inverted propane tank.
Then she moved on to an African drum. 
These are the dancers. I didn't have a strong enough signal to upload the video. 
On my last day here we went to the opening day of the Lake Placid Horse Show. 
Where we watched riders practice and compete in jumping events. 
In one area youngsters were being trained for this event.
Then we went behind the scenes where Orion got his first up-close view of a horse. This nice rider stopped and let us pat her horse. 
We watched them grooming the course. Soos told me this is where the opening ceremonies of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics were held. You can see the ski jumps in the background. 
This horse was getting a cool bath. 
 The Olympic Torch.
All this excitement was very tiring. 
So we went home to another Adirondack sunset.
I look forward to coming back this way in August for Soos' famous "Ruckus in the Mountains." Thanks Soos, it was fun.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mohawk Valley, NY

I left the crowds and hoopla of the Good Sam Rally in Syracuse to visit a friend in a quiet town in rural New York. Fireworks are from Saturday night at the rally.
 Carolb is a fantastic hostess and tour guide extraordinaire. You will see from the pictures that we managed to pack a lot in to our 2-day visit. Who'd a thunk out in the middle of farmland, you would see this? It's the Holy Trinity Monastery and Russian Orthodox Church, and we had our own personal tour given by the daughter of one of the priests. (Priests are allowed to marry here.)
 The Russian Orthodox Church.
 A peek inside through the window. She tried to get us inside, but couldn't find anyone to open it.
She did show us the very ornate crypts of former bishops and priests.
 "His eye is on the sparrow..."
 Inside the living quarters of the monks, we were shown the refectory with its beautiful frescoes.
 Among scattered showers we drove through picturesque countryside.
Carol indulged my request to go to Van Hornesville to look for the farmhouse once owned by author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Of Cross Creek, FL, famous for "The Yearling"). She wrote some of her later books here. We did not find it, but did find evidence of her friend Owen D. Young who persuaded her to buy the farmhouse. The public school here looked like an exclusive private academy.
Next we toured a local cemetery, soon to be added to the National Historic Registry. Among those buried here are soldiers from both the Revolution and the Civil War.
 Who remembers reading "An American Tragedy" in your high school years?
 The hanging place.
Also buried in that cemetery are members of the Quackenbush family, known for making nutcrackers in this factory. Another big industry here is Remington Arms, still in business. They have a museum that we did not visit.
This old diner brought back memories of my childhood.
There are several places to see the Erie Canal. There is a scenic trail along this section.
 Historic Fort Herkimer Church, 1767. The nearby fort served as refuge for pioneers from the Indians and the French, and during the Revolutionary War, the church was a place of defense and base of military supplies.
 We visited the home of General Nicholas Herkimer, hero of the battle of Oriskany during the Revolution. He returned here after the battle and soon died of his wounds. This is a view from his house to the Mohawk River.
 General Herkimer home.
He is buried in the family cemetery where a monument has been built in his honor.
 We came across this marker by accident and stopped to look.
A roof has been added to protect the oven which could bake 100 loaves of bread. To find such an oven preserved this well is rare.
 Carol operates what is probably a flue or perhaps bellows.
 Carol took me on a driving tour through Little Falls, a city rich with history and with many historic homes and buildings.
 1895 school still in use.
 This Mason Lodge was built in 1914, and was purchased by an artist who lives here and has a pottery studio on the ground floor.
Canal Place has been modernized with shops and parks, as well as upscale apartments in the old factory buildings.
 You can see the "little falls" that gave this city its name.
Balcony built on one of the old factory buildings renovated into apartments overlooking the Mohawk River.
 The original bridges had arches, so when a new bridge was built they artistically recreated the arches look.
Parallel to the river is the Erie Canal with picturesque walkways/bike trails for several miles where you can observe working locks.
 Some canal homes across the way.
 Next we drove (Carol did all the driving, so I could look) to Cooperstown, known for the Baseball Hall of Fame among other things. We were there for the other things. This road winds around Otsego Lake.
 This lake is the headwaters of the Susquehanna River which flows 444 miles to Chesapeake Bay.
 A historical event.
 Otsego Lake is sometimes better known as the "Glimmerglass," made famous in James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales.
 Where the Susquehanna begins.
Remember Natty Bumppo?
 The Fenimore House is now a big Art Museum and historical park.
 Fenimore Art Museum
 I guess you can call this a "feathervane."
 An Indian bark house.
 A peek could hold more than one family. 
Just a gnarly old tree that might have been here when James Fenimore Cooper was living here.

 A painting depicting Cooperstown from 3-mile point in the 1800s.
 The same view today.
 Kingfisher Tower, 1876, the area's first "tourist attraction."

Back on the road and another passing shower. This guy just wanted to cross the road. Hope he made it.
 Rain came down hard for a few minutes.
 And then the sun was shining again.
 View as we are coming back into the valley.
Thanks again, Carol, I had a great time.