Monday, August 17, 2009

A wonderful morning in the kayaks . .

Last friday we loaded up our kayaks and headed to the Kungamuk River in Speculator. For all of you Camp of the Woods folk this river connects to the Sacandaga River which connects to Lake Pleasant, just under this bridge. It is another amazingly peaceful spot.

This duck was very brave and kept hanging around, I think it was looking for some breadcrumbs or something. I had nothing with me!

Each water lily is so perfect, I kept thinking just take a couple, what would it hurt, but I didn't because it would be less for others to enjoy and they are just so beautiful among the lily pads.
I love that quote from John Burroughs, "I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order". And from Ralph Waldo Emerson, "In the woods we return to reason and Faith". Stepping away from the busyness of life can recharge my soul.

The purple flower behind the lily pads is called pickerel weed, it's purple and was pretty! If you want to learn a lot about wild flower visit Adirondack Naturalist. Ellen Rathbone is terrific!

Do you see the autumn colors on the trees in the foreground of the taller trees!!! I always wanted to get a nice cloud reflecting in the water pic and the water was just so still so I was able to.

The sun was super hot as you can tell by our squinting! We kayaked a long way and then back and we were both so hungry after the 3 hours in the kayaks.
Not crazy about pictures of me, one leg up, one leg down, like a little kid, very hot and sweaty here. When we got in Walt's closed up truck the interior temp said 109 degrees, phew that was something until it cooled down. What a great day! I urge everyone to try to kayak this body of water if you enjoy the quiet. A fellow kayaker went by and he said, I wish I was at work! We all laughed!

A visit to White Pine Camp . . .

It has been such a busy summer, but a good one. God has blessed us with lots of rain for the garden, maybe a little too much but still we have had wonderful days and evenings enjoying the beauty of the Adirondacks. Walt and I are very interested in the Great Camps of the Adirondacks, there are very few left. We were privileged to spend a couple nights at White Pine Camp and we loved it! A Great Camp is not what most people would think of with the word camp. Instead they are compounds of many buildings built by the wealthy back in the early 1900's. The architects of the time were greatly influenced by the sloping low roofs of homes in Japan. The building behind Walt says "Presidents" on it because this is where President Coolidge, his wife Grace and one of their sons spent the summer of 1926. They had lost one of their sons and it is said Coolidge was greatly affected by that. It was called the Summer White House is just amazing to us because this compound is located near the top of the Adirondack Park which is a section of NY State the size of the state of Massachusetts.
The picture below is a rock garden fashioned by Frederic Heutte, White Pine's gardener in the mid-1920s and it is presently kept up by visiting garden clubs. The picture doesn't do it justice because you cannot experience the serenity of this lovely place in the middle of the woods without being there.

Walt and I stayed in Guides the name given to our little cabin which was once quarters for the servants. It has been maintained but a kitchen has been added. It is outfitted with lovely rustic, comfortable furniture. Unfortunately my camera wasn't working while we were there so these pictures were taken with a disposable camera. I had a lovely nap here on a cool afternoon with the down comforter pulled over me, it is hard to believe now that we are having such warm days.
The building below is called the Great Room and it houses a large comfortable community room full of books and a immense stone fireplace. We had permission to have a fire there as we did not have a fireplace in our cabin. We did have a lovely propane stove however. It also has an attached porch. The immense type of pines that surround this building even grow through the roof of other buildings. This causes difficulty in the care of those buildings but is something to see. It is amazing to think that many of these trees were here when Calvin Coolidge walked the grounds.
This is Guides, our cabin, we had a shared porch with the next cabin but our neighbors weren't really around so we cooked breakfast and enjoyed it on the porch, with coffee and a good book, I could have stayed there for hours. Each cabin has so much privacy because of the many plantings nearby. When we arrived our host said he would help us unload our car and then asked us to park in an area away from the cabins in the tradition of how guests were greeted, helped to unload and made to feel at home in the day of the Great Camp.
The grounds are beautiful. This is looking down some steps to one of the boat houses.
Down past this boat house is a restored bridge that leads to a little island that has a tea house. You cross another restored stone bridge to get there and reach a place of peace and solitude. Wild roses grew on the island, how lovely that was.
Another view of the boat house, this one needs foundation work we were told but was fully outfitted with canoes, kayaks and a rowboat to use. Walt and I enjoyed a lovely canoe ride on Osgood Pond. No power boats allowed here!
We enjoyed a nature walk with a very knowledgeable man named Ed Kanze, a Naturalist, who has traveled the world but settled nearby to the area where White Pine Camp is located, to raise his family. We chatted afterward and it turned out that his grandfather was once the mayor of the town we now live in, such a small world.