Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Saranac Lake Days

The view from the front yard.  Mount Marcy is behind the trees.

We rang out the official last weekend of summer on the West Coast, the West Coast of Saranac Lake in New York’s Adirondacks.

Our friends Jack and Mary Brennan invited us to their camp on Saranac Lake. Their “camp” is an attractive, rambling home from the late 19th century, separated from the Lake by a wide lawn. With its brown paint, large kitchen, screened-in porch and white pines framing the lake view, it is the quintessential Adirondack camp.

For many years, I have wanted to see Mount Marcy, the State’s highest peak, but have not had the ambition or preparation to hike into the High Peaks Wilderness to see it. Within 30 minutes of arriving, Jack pointed out the summit of Marcy to me in the skyline of mountains visible across the lake.

The next two days went along at a pleasant pace. In addition to Jack and Mary, there was a small crowd of congenial, conversational and welcoming guests.

When it got too hot, people swam. For games there were board games and croquet on the lawn. There was a great dinner with grilled chicken and roasted vegetables, served on the big porch - - and an equally great breakfast the next day.

Most of the land across the Lake from the camp is wilderness. So, I was intrigued when, during dessert, I saw a thumbnail sliver of light on a mountain summit. In what seemed liked seconds, the sliver became a nearly full moon. In equally quick time, the moon rose up through the pine trees and moonlight began sparkling on the calm lake.

Later on, we had an unobstructed view of the Moon while sitting by a campfire. The fire-keepers honored the traditions of capable Adirondack guides by starting the fire with just three matches. The silences in the campfire conversations were occasionally punctuated by the cries of loons on the lake.

This camp looks like a near replica of the big house in the recent movie Moonrise Kingdom. And, in fact, one of the guests had the movie soundtrack and played it in the bright morning.

But the movie analogy works only to a point. Many of the characters in Moonrise Kingdom were dissatisfied or treated each other poorly. We were just a band of good-natured people, enjoying the moment. The pleasant memories will help us soldier on, when we are in the gloomy, rainy, snowy and cold days ahead.

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