Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I've just got back from a couple of weeks' camping in my favourite place of all time, in the Adirondacks. The storm that flooded out New Jersey and parts of New York including the Susquehanna at Binghamton (couldn't have happened to a nicer place) blew in sixty-mile-an-hour winds and three and a half inches of rain.

I slept in the van, fully expecting both tents to have blown away in the night; came the dawn, both were still standing--and the dome tent was bone dry! I've got to write to Coleman; it's the same tent that came through Katrina last year without shipping any water, though the floor rocked like a water-bed from the lake underneath it.

I spent three days sorting, washing, drying and repacking wet gear. How a young woman sailed single-handed, the "wrong" way round the world, sleeping in one-hour catnaps for six months is a mystery to me. A hot shower and a washing machine must look like heaven after that.

But I had a good time anyway; there is some magic about the mountains. Wrinkles disappear, lines soften, scars fade, sickness heals and worries shrink to manageable proportions.

What's not to like about loons on the lake at night; stars like dust; inky, lampless darkness and deep stillness? Fireflies in the trees, a warm lake to swim in and good friends at the campfire; the smell of woodsmoke, bacon and coffee...

There were four ravens on a tear, screaming like barmaids being assaulted. They live on site 102, and terrorize the neighbourhood at 7am, campers struggling out of bed, disoriented and blurry-eyed, "What the hell was that?"

Bliss. Just as soon as everything's dry and my yard chores are done, I'm going back.

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