Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lake Lila Canoe Trip: The Flatwater Gem of the Adirondacks

The first canoe camping trip of the season is always anticipated by great - if not over - enthusiasm. Even though we are still skiing everyday in Killington, the water and air temperatures have finally stabilized enough that we felt the urge to head out into the Adirondack backcountry for a few days. After skiing then working Monday morning, we loaded up the car and knowingly headed into three full days of pouring rain.
Except that when we got wasn't raining at all. In fact, what we thought was going to be a gnarly night paddling against choppy whitecaps turned into a just plain sexy knife cut through the glass. This was flatwater canoeing at it's finest. Nobody comes out here. You have to risk trashing your car's underbelly along public easeways and miles of dirt road before having to portage your canoe.
And yet, there is always at least one other car there.
And yet, you never hear or see anybody.
What you do hear are the sounds of the wind, rustling through the tall pine trees so categoristically adirondack. You can hear a beaver's tail slapping the water on the totally other side of the lake. A sound so loud, it feels like a gunshot. We vow to go check it out tomorrow. There are loons crowing in the background. The first dry moments in what has felt like just another rainy mud season on the northeast. All the creatures of the lake were out to celebrate the break in the rain.
So enjoy it we did.
To feel the boat slicing through the water when it's flat like that, it's like making a perfect railroad track turn across perfectly groomed terrain. Your edges slice throught the snow, and with one smooth movement your skis come around. There is no resistance against the bow of the canoe and it feels like you are floating effortlessly across the lake. You can feel the lake gliding along the hull, like rubbing your hand across a silk sheet. Just something special.
And completely unexpected.
Tuesday's weather, however, was expected.
It poured.
And I mean, it seriously poured.
You just had to laugh sometimes at the craziness of it all. The rain began just as we were getting ready to launch in the morning. And it didn't let up until we returned to the site that night. We pulled our pruned hands out of our gloves only once - to eat some local summer sausage & cheddar. Best meal ever on a rainy day. You take your knife, cut of a big hunk of each and nibble away at the two like a mouse. And it's so damp out that the cheese has thoroughly breathed beyond anyone's expectations. Vespi is miserable in her rubber rain coat and lays her head on the side of the canoe.
And yet, we are all smiling :)
It was one of the more rediculous things I have done in a while. I am having the most wonderful time, humming to myself, playing with the raindrops as I pull my paddle though the air. There are so many of them. And they are coming down in sheets and sheets. And I am think we are freaking crazy wierdos for being out here. Everything around us is soaked. As we find an outlet, we paddle closer to shore and notice that even the plants are beyond beading up and are instead completely waterlogged. Even the proud Bald Eagle didn't really seem to pertutbed about the rain.
I guess all the animals - us included - were more than willing to enjoy a day like today after an evening like the previous one.
But we were to be treated wonderfully Tuesday night, because as we arrived back at the campsite, the clouds finally dried out and we were able to eat on one of the rocks off of our own little Gilligan's Island. We looked out across the lake and cooked our dinner to the magic of not only the setting sun...but of a glorious rainbow as well. Everywhere we turned, something magical was happening across the water. We remembered that last year we had seen a fox scampering along the opposite shoreside, but not tonight. Perhaps everyone was simply exhausted from having to deal with the rain.
We couldn't resist just one more fling with the lake before nestling into our sleeping bags for the night. The pinkish-purple lights from the sunset were mirrored in the ripples of the lake water beneath us. My paddle even started to take on a pinkish hue. Not only was the sky glowing, but the lake was too. And the smells! So fresh and clean, as the rain clenses thearh. To be a part of a second glorious evening on the water? Last night was filled with energy and excitement from the locals, but tonight all the animals seemed content to sit back and enjoy a beautiful evening.
The next morning brought crazy sunshine!!
So much so that we were able to do some basking in the heat to warm our bodies to the spine. It was heavenly. Yoga next to or on the water is jsut one of the most spectacualr expereinces you can have. You can time your breath to the waves hitting the rock or beach...and just trying thinking about half moon when you're gonna fall over into the water! But the openess of being on a's can be so completely overwhelming but equalizing all the time.
But then the clouds change.
And you realize that the clouds coming toward the lake are turning grey in the distance and starting to move upward. We throw the myriad of drybags in the canoe, wait the obligatory 2 minutes while Vespi rocks back and forth, hoping to get her timing right for entry. It 's the strangest process - and one frankly that we don't understand. She refuses any help, but just doesn't seem to trust the canoe at all. It might have something to do with all th times she's had two legs on the shore and two legs on the can picture her stretching out in desperation to keep the two toegether before she falls belly first into the we just wait.
But she loves being on the the water just as much as we do.

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
Merisa & Vespi

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