August 26, 2013

Home again

We got up very early ester day morning and started on our way home.  We had rented a small house, it was very comfortable and had every amenity, Internet, dishwasher, washer and dryer, in a very old house, but very updated on the inside.  Very clean, it was spotless.  Nice and large property, attached to woods, meadows, a brook and wetlands, all in the backyard.
We bought hiking maps of the area, picked out hikes by grade of difficulty, easy for us, or by recommendation.  One of the suggestions was Chimney Mountain, which Michael and I did.  Michael warned me from the very beginning: the topographical map shows it starts nice and gentle, and then it goes straight up, showing with hand motions a straight up, no, using his arms to show a straight up!
Well, he was right.  Evidently no one ever hiked in Switzerland, where they at least put some switchbacks in, but not here!  Straight up it went, nothing but up.  And up some more.  Huffing and puffing with backpacks, after all, there is no hot dog stand on the way, or at the top.  But we made it!
And it was beautiful:

August 19, 2013

Adventures in the Adirondacks

Today we went to Auger Falls in the Adirondacks. It took us a while to find it, it wasn't marked at all on the road.  So up and down the roads we went, looking for nonexistent road markers. When we did find it, we were grateful we hadn't given up, because it was beautiful, like a fairy tale forest, where you expect a gnome or two to climb out of the tree roots. And the princess to appear around the corner.

Instead we saw a family with two children, the girl maybe three, the boy five or six. They were really close to the white water rapids or waterfalls in sections, and then at one point I saw them on a slanted rock close to the water by a fast flowing section of the river.

I happened to take these photos of the family while thinking, gee they are really close to the edge...., also fooling around with the zoom on my camera.  On the lower photo you can see how far I stood away from them, you can't even tell where they are.
I heard a scream from some hikers close by and knew immediately that one of those kids had fallen in. Luckily the dad reacted quickly, jumped in after, and was able to pull the boy back out.
Scary! Luckily a happy ending...

August 18, 2013


We are in the Adirondacks. We rented a house for the week through home  I got the tip about the website from my kids, and I think we are going to be very happy with that choice.  We got here a little early and were met by the owner, who was not quite ready for us, so he sent us down to his inlaws.  The dad is a selftaught artist, who showed us his art, and then his propery.  To try to convey the special feeling while in his presence is ... Difficult.  We ended up spending over two hours with him, and they flew by like a few minutes.

The house we are staying in is lovely.
We already managed to go for a long hike without a trail and not really get lost, but we lost our first trail.  Up a hill?  Of course, what a question!  That's what we do.
Now we are waiting for my sister in law and her husband, 
And then our vacation will really start.

August 10, 2013

upcoming vacation

We'll be going on vacation.  To the Adirondacks.  Which is a big deal for us, but means nothing to my German relatives.  If you click on the link, you'll see what I'm looking forward to.  And I get confused about it, there is so much to see and do!  I would love to hike one of the high peaks, and we'll see.
But there is a lot to do and see, and I doubt we'll get it all in, but we'll give it a shot.

Week was busy again.  Working, getting things out the door in a timely fashion, bills written, off to the post office, getting supplies, all done.  More for the coming week.
I got to see Nicole and boys on Monday, always fun.  The two little ones where not feeling good, but both are on the mend.

Of course we went hiking again.  Today!  And a lovely day it was.  Our weather is cool for August, which is fine with us.  We had it cooler, we had rain, but cool air is coming in from Canada for the next couple of days, and it's great.  Our hike today was humid in the beginning, and then the wind picked up, still warm, but not as humid, and it felt great.
The foraging German I still have in me from childhood was delighted in finding grapes - not ready yet, hazelnuts, same, not ready yet, and not one, but two walnut trees, with walnuts that are, you guessed it, not ready yet.

I remember going in the woods while growing up during the summer always involved finding something.  Mushrooms, berries, nuts, going into the 'Rhine hedges' - Rheiner Hecken - was a tradition still carried out by my brother for black raspberries - Brombeeren.  Some years the mushrooms were plentiful and delicious, other years we couldn't find any.
The other day Frau Bruellen remembered going for a walk/hike with her parents, and the water being carefully rationed out on the walk.  And the parents telling their children to swallow their spit, it would take care of the thirst.  That's the way I grew up!  I still have a hard time drinking water, and I swear it's from that time.  Although we managed to drink one and a half liters today, I'm proud of myself of managing to drink all that!

Anyway, we spotted a snapping turtle in the water today, a big one, too, his head was bigger than my fist!

The rather unspectacular turtle head is in the middle somewhere, the turtle didn't think it important to come and pose for us, despite Michael waiting on the shore.  We did get a rather dumb deer willing to come closer.  For what?  No idea, we had eaten and consumed all the water we had carried.
On that note, it's still shocking to find left-behind garbage in the woods.  Doesn't happen that often, but when it does, it's like a slap.  The park's policy is to carry out what you bring in.  And most people are fine with that.
And the park is not convenient, no garbage barrels anywhere, no bathrooms, no hot dog stands, no ice cream booth, no restaurant, no, just a park.  Lovely!
And wonderful.
Hope it stays that way for a very long time to come.

August 4, 2013

August - family, vacation, hiking

Wow, time passes quickly!
August already.  Work during the week, with the weather cooler and bearable.

Dear Baerbel from, thank you so much for coming along with us in spirit!  On our hikes I think of you, and wonder which views you would want me to share. And I am grateful for every step I can make uphill, even though I am breathing hard and have aching muscles, it is a present to be able to walk up and down the mountain, over stony paths that look more like dried up brook beds than paths! I consider it truly a gift to still be able to enjoy nature like I am, or we are. And yes, we both know how lucky we are.

Anyway, this weekend we had a visit from Sue, Noah and Kate.  How much fun!  I love having them here, the kids get chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and I found out Noah's favorite food is tacos!  I had no idea.  Luckily we had tacos from Friday night leftover, so Noah got to eat them on Saturday for lunch.
Kate seems to like it all, so no sweat as far as she is concerned.  On Saturday we visited the Lakota Wolf Preserve here in NJ, and it was interesting, the only disappointment was that it rained, and only during our time at the presentation - but we enjoyed seeing wolves, bobcats and fox.

We got together with the rest of the family in the early evening, and the kids had so much fun.

The boys enjoyed the dessert most of all!
Today back to hiking, after we saw Sue, Noah and Katherine off on their way
(they made it home safely)

 The photo above should really go to the 'I see faces' on instagram..... but I'm having trouble with my smartphone, so it didn't go there, and you will have to admire it!

Isn't this frog gorgeous?  I think he is beautiful!
Michael suggested I go pick him up and kiss him,
but I told him there was no need, I already had my prince.