There’s something hauntingly beautiful about the Adirondack Mountains. I used to spend just about every weekend of my childhood summers swimming in lakes, fishing off docks, climbing small mountains, and hiking through forest trails. It was where I first learned to truly treasure the wild places that have, in many areas, vanished. It was where I grew into an animist. I always felt a sense of something there – spirits. Very old spirits. I felt how sacred and connected it all was, and I felt it flow in and through me. It is different from the forests around my childhood home and my new home. They are very special to me as well, but they are less wild. There is more sound and light pollution. Roads interrupt their power. Not that the Adirondacks lacks that, but there’s a greater effort to reduce it. (Although I could be romancing it as someone who does not live there…) When I’m away for long, I feel it calling. I feel the mountains and lakes calling. When driving on Rt 11 through Lewis County, I always look towards the Adirondack Mountains in the distance, rising beyond the rolling hills. Last week, we returned to answer the call and renew our wild spirit. Here are some of our experiences.
Decay never looked so magical. My husband and I mused on the nature of animism, life, and death while hiking near the Raquette River in Tupper Lake. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2016.
It’s a bit blurry, but I was proud to stumble upon some Indian Pipe flowers in the forest. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2016.
I learned a little more about a new spirit ally at the Wild Center. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2016.
Some of the High Peaks as seen from the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY. We all enjoyed our time there. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2016.
We also visited the Ausable River. There’s a place to pull off on the road and a very short trail into the trees. It’s a catch and release area, but we just wanted to see the river. I had to sit quietly for a bit to take her in, then sang a song of offering. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2016.
On a whim, we decided to explore a trail across the street from the Ausable River. It lead to the Copperas Pond. I wouldn’t call it an easy hike, as it went up some slight inclines and involved some scrambling over very rocky terrain. It was challenging with a three-year-old, but she was so determined to do most of it by herself. The end result was worth it – an isolated pond free from motor boats. It was so quiet… we couldn’t even hear the traffic on the other side of the wooded hill we climbed over. It’s apparently a popular hike, as there were other people in and out, but the traffic wasn’t so much that we weren’t able to enjoy lots of peaceful moments. I definitely had to take off my hiking shoes and put my feet in to fully immerse myself in the Three Realms. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2016.
We didn’t run into too many wild animals on our hike – mostly squirrels
and chipmunks. I also spotted this immature frog sunning himself on a rock in the pond. If you look closely, you’ll see his tail. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2016.
I already look forward to returning, possibly in the Autumn. We hope to climb a small mountain now that Bee has officially caught the hiking spirit. With any luck, she feels the pull of the mountain too, and the family tradition of exploring and honoring the Adirondacks will continue.