Adirondack Birthday Adventure

When we asked Mary how she wanted to celebrate her 60th birthday, she surprised us all by saying that she wanted to go white water river rafting. So I planned a 3 day adventure to the Adirondacks with river rafting in the Hudson River Gorge as the centerpiece.
On Monday we drove to Blue Mountain Lake and toured the
Adirondack Museum. Our last visit was twenty years ago and things have really changed. The museum now covers 35 acres and contains exhibits on every aspect of Adirondack life and history. We spent three delightful hours there and still did not see everything. In the evening we checked into our cabin at The Snowy Mountain Inn at Indian Lake and enjoyed a delicious dinner. I had grilled talapia and Mary had a smoked filet mignon. Yummy!
Early the next morning we gathered at the
Adirondack Rafting Company in Indian Lake to prepare for our day on the river. After getting outfitted with wet suit, splash jacket, life jacket, and helmet; we were ready to board the bus for the 10 minute ride to the launch point. The trip begins on the Indian River with the dam releasing a "bubble" of water which floats the rafts out to the Hudson River. At the launch point we were assigned to our rafts and Mary and I found ourselves in the company of Phil and his daughter, Anna, from Michigan; Kari and Dan from England, who are in the states to play in a lacrosse tournament; and our guide, Mike. Mike has guided on the river for 9 years and filled us with confidence as he gave clear and simple instructions. The photo below is from our very first set of rapids. Mary and I are in the second row from the front. We were on the river for almost 5 hours. Sometimes we were paddling hard in category 3 & 4 rapids and at other times we were floating gently in the current. We did not see a road, a house, or any people on shore the entire trip. This part of the Hudson River Gorge remains untouched by civilization and is quite beautiful. It was an exciting day and Mary and I managed to remain inside the raft the entire trip. We returned to the Snowy Mountain Inn exhausted at 5:30 pm and took naps before dinner. On this night our host made us smoked pulled pork BBQ with cole slaw and baked beans. On Wednesday morning we drove to Old Forge, NY where we boarded the mail boat for a three hour cruise on the chain of Fulton Lakes. This is a working mail boat and we made about 40 stops that morning. It was a wonderful way to see the lakes and experience a task that has been happening every summer since 1910. Mary and I continue to enjoy the trip through the photos and our memories.
Beautiful August evening. Cool breeze blowing in the window. A group of teens are having a party next door. I can hear their laughter. Grandson just left, smooching my cheek and saying, "Good night, PopPop". And I begin a three week vacation tonight. Three weeks. Together. Back to back to back. It will be a new experience. I am blessed.

Haven't posted in a while. Very busy. Stressful and sad time. Friend Roy died. I met him in high school and our families became friends after we were both married and had our first daughters. We laughed, drank, ate, camped, fished, and celebrated together. Weddings and holidays and graduations. Over 40 years of conversations shared and cards played. We would get together only once or twice a year during the past couple of decades. It was like we were never apart. You know the kind of friendship I mean. The comfortable kind. Roy fought a short battle with a very aggressive cancer. Three weeks before his death we were at his son's wedding. Roy smiled, laughed, and joked. The morphine got him through the pain and his love for his family and friends took him the rest of the way. He danced with his wife that night. I'm grateful for that.

I have begun the process of saying goodbye to the people of the faith community that I have shared my life with these past twenty years. My departure is six months away but there is much work to be done. We've been meeting in small groups to talk about change. About the inevitability, sadness, excitement, and blessing that change brings to our lives. Stories are shared. Some are sad, others funny. Most were terrifying. We got through changes in the past and we will all get through this one. I know.

This summer I taught a 5 week course on St. Paul and his writings. Around twenty five people a week would gather on our back porch and we would read his 2,000 year old words. Honest words; words about conflict and pain and suffering and faith and hope. Words written to first century believers in the midst of change. Rejoice, Paul implores his readers over and over to Rejoice. No matter what the circumstances, Rejoice!

I begin a three week vacation this evening but that is not why I am rejoicing. My heart is filled with joy because their is a cool breeze blowing in the window, my grandson's kiss is still wet on my cheek, and I can hear the laughter of young people drifting across the yard. I rejoice because I was blessed with a friendship of over 40 years. Thank you, Roy.