Yesterday’s post – Upstate NY
Today I woke up to rain in Ames. I was so exhausted, I could have slept two more hours and what was the rush in leaving given the weather. I had to get my oil changed (required every 5K miles or I lose my warranty), and I’ve wanted to go to Lake Placid my entire life, so I wanted to give myself some time there. Linda’s friend Staci suggested that I go to Millennium Express Lube in Amsterdam, so Linda led the way. It was so nice of her to direct me, as I probably would have never found it. I was expecting to post Day 16 while waiting to get my oil changed, but when I asked how long it would take, they said 10 minutes…WOW! Mike worked on VANilla. They changed the oil, checked all the fluids, and even let me keep my mutts in the car despite the no pets sign! They were awesome and sent me on my way in record time.
I planned on driving North from Lake George to Lake Placid with a few stops in between. A high school classmate, Alison, who was one of the smartest girls in our grade and who is still extremely active with the school was curious to know how I liked Lake George as she had enjoyed a wonderful vacation with her family there. Unfortunately, I can’t elaborate much on Lake George. The best explanation I can give of Lake George is by the photograph to the right. I barely saw it!! The weather was horrendous all day. At least it gives me an excuse to go back.
There were a few pull offs between Lake George and Fort Ticonderoga, my next visit, so the dogs and I stopped for a brief hike. Reader’s Digest writes, “Deer’s Leap, at the base of steep-sided Tongue Mountain, commands a vista back toward the lake’s (Lake George) southern end”, so I decided to take the Deer Leap Trail. It was going to be too long for us to finish, but just getting out for a walk would be nice. I zipped on my rain jacket and off we went. The trail was similar to a damp creek bed, mostly slick rocks canopied by a variety of trees. I was only able to get one picture before my battery went dead in the camera.
I briefly stopped at Fort Ticonderoga, mostly for the splendid views of “the Vermont shore and the distant peaks of the Green Mountain”. The clouds still hadn’t lifted, thus the Green Mountains and Vermont shore were not in view. Fort Ticonderoga was originally constructed by the French in 1755. It was later captured by the British and so named. During the Revolutionary War in 1775, the fort was taken by the Americans. The attack was led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. The victory was short-lived as the British regained control in 1777. It was one scenic view after the next from Fort Ticonderoga to Lake Placid. Speaking of forts, I forgot to mention last week for my soccer friends, if you decide to visit Fort Niagara, bring a soccer ball – it’s in a park with 20+ soccer fields that from a distance look better than Richland! And for those of you who enjoy history, there has been a historic marker on average every 10 miles since Niagara Falls – you could take days stopping at all of them.
I pulled off countless times to take photos out the car window…still nasty weather. This part of the drive, despite the weather, was definitely my favorite of the last two days in the finger lake region. The road wound through a deep gorge with ponds, a river, and forest lining the edges. The fall colors and high cliffs were dominating.
At last I arrived at Lake Placid. One of the biggest horse shows in the hunter/jumper industry is here in Lake Placid every summer.
I always wanted to ride in it, but logistically, it was not one that we would have ever attended as we spent the summers in Oklahoma, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky. I always imagined what it was like, and I was hoping I’d be able to find the show grounds. Surprisingly, the show grounds were on the main road as I drove in, right across from the Olympic Ski Jump! I stopped in the ski jump area because you could buy a ticket to go to the top, but as I thought, the inclement weather clouded the views (no pun intended). The show grounds, while they weren’t exactly how I pictured them were awesome none the less. I have determined that I am going to come back to the Adirondacks with a better plan in a few years: 1. Stay in or near Lake Placid at a place that provides canoes as this lake region logically caters to boaters, 2. Watch the horse show, 3. Buy an Adirondack Park map so I know the location and length of the trails, 4. Visit neighboring communities – Saranac Lake, White Face Mountain, Keene, and 5. Visit more of the Olympic Center.
At the Olympic Center, I saw the rink where “The Miracle on Ice” occurred, with the USA winning the hockey game. I get chills when I watch movies or documentaries on that. I love the Olympics and admire all the Olympians who train so hard to have a chance once every four years…such dedicated athletes. Obviously a lot of it has changed with professionals being able to participate in most events, but it is still an accomplishment.
I tried stopping at High Falls Gorge just outside Lake Placid before searching for a campground, but they closed at 4:30…I was a few minutes too late. I have to say, it’s a little bit of a pet peeve to me when the most scenic areas get so commercialized with a grand entrance and a fee to walk along a river and see a waterfall, and it’s off limits two hours before sunset! I think that may be why I enjoyed Missouri so much. The springs were so beautiful and you could hike to any of them until dark.
As luck would have it, my campsite was around the bend from High Falls Gorge and by walking down the side of the mountain, Scout, Petey, and I saw some magnificent falls. We also got drenched, but we had hardly been out of VANilla all day! The view of the falls was from a slick rock ledge that made me sick to my stomach and slightly dizzy every time I looked down. Despite having skydived and bungy jumped, I’m not that fond of ledges…I’m afraid I’ll accidentally fall. Holding on to two dogs that are not exactly sure footed didn’t help matters. Regardless, the power of the water was tremendous and the trees growing on the rock ledges were amazing to me. Waterfalls = mesmerizing! The rest of the night we spent drying out. ETB