Monday, November 2, 2009
Late Season at Pyramid Lake
What a bright shining day today, not too cold, little wind -- just perfect for a late-season paddle. Except, darn it all, my boat had a leak! In the summer, who cares if your seat gets a little soggy? But this time of year, that water is mighty COLD! So up north I drove, carrying my Hornbeck boat up to Hornbeck Boats in Olmstedville. They told me they could fix it while I waited. And they did. The nicest guys in the whole wide world run that place. (And the nicest golden lab in the world lays her head in your lap while you visit.) If you're looking to buy a canoe or a kayak, you should check out their website here. And do go visit.
So anyway, there I was, just a few miles away from my favorite place in the whole wide world, Pyramid Lake, which lies about midway between Schroon Lake and Ticonderoga. And my boat was all fixed and ready to paddle. So off I went to Pyramid Life Center, a retreat center where I volunteer and which offers the only access to this isolated wilderness lake. The center is now closed for the season, so there was not another soul around as I slipped my boat into the water and headed out, keeping close to the shore where the sun warmed the banks and sent golden ripples of light up and down the trunks of the pines and birches. I stopped paddling and just drifted a while, straining my ears to hear any sound, just ANY sound but that of my own breathing. Absolute silence! Not a cricket, not a bird, not the wind in the trees nor the splash of tiny wavelets against the shore. I think there are very few places on earth where one can experience such silence.
How quickly the sun sinks behind the mountains this time of year. It soon fell behind the island, backlighting the hills and trees, which stood in stark profile against the late afternoon sky.
It was time to head home, an hour's drive away, so I paddled quickly back toward shore. Only to rest my paddle and watch, as a doe and her fawn browsed the shrubbery near the beach. Probably the same pair my friends and I saw last week, when we stopped by here in the rain.
Sometimes I can hardly believe my good fortune: to have free access to a place of such pristine beauty, to have such a dear little boat that carries me easily into the heart of wilderness, to have at my age the health and strength to enjoy it all, and the freedom to seize whatever gorgeous days come my way in every season. And to top it all off, my way home was lit by a rose and orange sunset off to the west, and a huge and golden Hunters' Moon rising in the east.