Saturday, May 20, 2006

Another walk in the rain

Ben and I couldn't stay inside today, despite the rain, so we headed Newcomb, NY for a caching adventure. We were hunting for a cache hidden among the numberless trees and rocks and hills and ponds of the Santanoni Great Camp, a 12,500 acre tract of land that includes about 50 buildings and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places that New York State acquired in the early 1990s.

Given the historical significance of Santanoni, it is only fitting that Ben was all about the puddles on our roughly 1.5 mile walk in to the be fair, there were some great puddles.

After our last expedition, he was also thinking about finding "sallies", salamanders, under logs and rocks, so we looked whenever he wasn't playing in a puddle. We didn't find one for the longest time, until we has almost reached the cache...and then we found a red eft.

Ben was fascinated with the eft's color, which was bright orange, and his skin, which was much more dry and like ours than the other amphibians we have found while geocaching. He wanted to bring the eft, which he named "D", home, but eventually agreed to find him a good spot in the woods near where we found him. We watched "D" climb through leaves and under sticks until he disappeared, and we went on to find the cache.

This geocache has been in place since early 2002, but is still in great shape, and Ben had fun choosing what to trade while I filled out the log book. We ended up taking a cool marble and a fishing bobber, and leaving a couple of geocoins. It was a very successful geocache hunt, despite the rain and some blackflies.

On the way back Ben noticed some huge footprints in the dirt, and after talking about them for a bit, we decided that they belonged to horses that take supplies and/or guides and tourists out to the great camp (4.7 miles from the parking lot is more than lots of people want to walk, and cars aren't allowed). We talked about how cool it would be to see the horses, but I didn't hold out much hope...until...

The wagon driver came around a curve, and slowed down to say hi to us. Ben loved the horses and the "leashes" the had on them. He almost lost his mind when the man asked us if we would like a ride back to the parking lot!

The above picture was a little blurred due to the bouncing and jouncing of the wagon, but captures Ben's glee perfectly anyway. I think the man felt sorry for us because it was raining and cold and we were dirty and miles from our car...little did he know that that was exactly our plan, and that we were having a ball...needless to say, we said nothing but "Thank You!", and enjoyed the ride.

The Santanoni parking lot is only a couple of miles from the little chunk of land that Gail and I bought last year, so we swung by to check on the progress that our driveway guy is need vision to imagine the driveway cutting through the woods, but it will be there soon, and we love the area around Newcomb, because it is rich with things like Santanoni and a Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) and the Adirondack Museum and a ton of hikes and boating trips that we've never done...our land will make a great weekend basecamp once its cleared and we can stay there.

On the way out to Long Lake for lunch, Ben and I stopped at the Newcomb Town Ski-hill (which is tiny, but should be fun for Ben to fool around on in years to come) to fill up our water bottles from the spring that all of the locals fill up from...its by the side of the road at the base of the ski-hill. I made such appreciative noises about the cold, fresh, and tasty water, that he wanted some. He swished it around in his mouth like a wine-taster, and kept taking sips and making "ahhhh" sounds until we got home.

On our way out of Newcomb, just opposite the VIC, is an ancient and beautiful cemetery. Ben and I stopped to check it out just as some extra-dense clouds got between us and the sun, and he told me it was the prettiest spooky place he had ever been (I had to agree).

We stopped for lunch, starving, at the Long Lake Diner, and had a super lunch, with Ben making friends with the customers and flirting with the waitresses. We had a table next to the long lunch bar, and Ben overheard some old-timers talking baseball...talking about this year's Yankees and ragging on the Red Sox...Ben interrupted their conversation with, "I like baseball", which they loved, but I quickly pulled Ben back into his grilled cheese lest he mention his Red Sox roots and cause a ruckus.

It was another crappy-weather-day that worked out much better than it probably should have...another nearly perfect day in the Adirondacks!


Gran said...

Oh I loved today's messages and pictures. How exciting to have a ride in the horse drawn wagon, and to discover all the exciting gifts of nature...but of course I especially liked meeting the baseball fans, and you protecting your son before he could give away his "Red Sox Roots" go Ben!!!

nature lover said...

Spectacular photos! I especially liked the one of Ben with the red eft. What a great day.