My piece of crap computer has suddenly decided to start randomly rebooting on me, so the mystery pictures I was going to ask you about are now history until I figure out what the hell is up with it. So the single picture I have from my hike on Sunday is my current profile pic.
My buddy Greg lives a couple of hours away, and we don't get to hang out as much as we'd like to, so it was good to catch up. It was the first time either of us had been on this particular hike, and the day couldn't have been more perfect. We had a great time.
Since I am currently contemplating what I can and can't write about the weddings I attended, I decided to tell you a camping story instead, given that I recently talked about my bad "people luck."
We tend to take a lot of time off in September and October for backpacking and canoeing, mostly because we don't mind if it gets cold, there's no bugs and it's a lot less crowded. Usually, by mid-October in the Adirondacks, it can be cold enough to freeze your water at night, and the Autumn leaves are long gone.
There's a reason we like to go places so late in the season, and that's because when it gets cold and the leaves are gone, generally so are the crowds.
We pulled up to the parking lot at Forked Lake early on a Saturday morning and unloaded the canoe. Forked Lake is one of those places where you don't have to carry the canoe very far -- you can park pretty close to water. I looked over to the right, and saw a row of porta-potties that were left over from Labor Day weekend, the last weekend the lake was officially "open" to camping. They don't really enforce it, but we figured we'd find a spot to camp that was out of the way and not on one of the shoreline camping sites, just in case there happened to be a bored ranger running around somewhere looking for something to do.
As a result, we set up the tent in a wind-blasted jumble of downed cedar trees that were uprooted in a major storm a few years back. I don't know why we didn't just camp on the beach since were the only people on the lake, but anyway, that's what we did.
That night was uneventful, and when the fire went out, we we went to sleep.
The next thing I remember is waking up at dawn with my heart in my throat because the world just exploded. I scrambled out of the tent to look around, and the sound of the explosion was still echoing around the mountains.
We figured out later that it was a sonic boom, which isn't as odd as it sounds since A-10 Warthogs routinely used the Adirondack airspace for training exercises, but it's a helluva way to wake up. Since it was still very early, I crawled back inside the tent and went back to sleep...
...only to wake up a few hours later to a different sound. Could it be...music? And a very loud voice? Over a megaphone? And then other voices, much closer.
Lots of them. WTF?
We crawled out of our tent and walked to the water's edge. Amazingly, the entire lake was filled with people in canoes.
Literally hundreds of them. All laughing, yelling to each other across the water and generally having a grand old time, which basically meant that this quiet, pristine lake was now louder than an Irish bar late on St. Paddy's day. At that point, I realized the porta-potties were there for a very different reason than the one I originally thought. It turned out we were caught in the middle of this.
Obviously, we decided not to stay. We packed up and paddled out amidst the crowd, trying to avoid bumping our camo-painted, 90 lb. fiberglass behemoth of a canoe into other see-through boats that cost more than I make in 6 months.
When we finally got within 20 feet of the shore, the guy on the megaphone (who was then about 30 feet away from us) yelled, "WHAT NUMBER?" directly into our faces.
We stepped out of the canoe and straight into a fucking carnival. The beach was covered with people, canoes, portable picnic tables, you name it. There was even a popcorn wagon, a guy making fried dough, and a radio station van, finished off by a D.J. cranking out the oldies.
We dragged our floating brick past the announcer.
"What number are you?" he asked again, this time -- thankfully -- without the amplification.
"No number," I replied. "Just us."
Then we drove home where it's quiet and peaceful and nobody plays oldies.
Dammit, now I want fried dough.