Holy moly. We're going to move to Lake George and never leave.
(J = forward / K = backward)
After a (pretty) full day of moving, cleaning, and packing, we set out on our honeymoon. Seeing as how we had so many friends from out of town up for the wedding, we figured we'd try to entice them to stick around a bit longer: lake house party week!
Young Otis came along and entertained the crowd with his foot-eating contortion act. (From top, going clockwise: Aaron's feet and hands, Doug's foot and hands, Andre's feet.
Sarah and Andre were the last to arrive (there was a lot to clean up!), but fortunately there was still plenty of sunlight, beer, and smiles left when they got there.
Originally, we had set our sights on a different vacation rental, closer to the farm in Vermont. After a bit of waffling we decided to get our hearts set on it and make a deposit. The next morning, however, we found out that somebody else had beaten us to the punch by about an hour!
Crestfallen, we looked in vain for a backup plan but came up dry for waterfront houses in VT. And so, out of necessity, we broadened our horizons. At one point, one of us said, "Hey... What about Lake George?"
And it's a good thing we did. This place was a dream.
Notice how goddamn clear the water was! It looked (and felt) like a tropical beach.
Watercolors at sunset.
From foreground to back: Aaron, Otis, Doug, Anicia, Sarah, Jess, buoy, lake, rock.
There weren't nearly as many boats as we were expecting. Matter of fact, once the sun set, the whole lake got pretty sleepy. Maybe it was just because by this point the weekend was over.
Natural floral framing around Roger's Slide.
Travis's hair is usually standing up. The fact that he discovered a convenient way of electrocuting himself didn't help.
A fair number of us, maybe half, got in line to be zapped as well. (It wasn't too bad to get hit on the elbow through a shirt. Pinching the mesh with your fingers was substantially worse, licking it doubly so.)
The newlyweds and their young ward, Otis, took up in the Captain's Quarters. Orders for the crew were issued forthwith and a tight ship was run for the duration.
Petrified graffiti and some poison ivy.
An apparent victim of the gingerbread mafia was spotted just off the dock.
One of Otis's longtime hobbies: shouting at the outdoors.
There was a sunfish under the porch, a set of sails hanging up in the garage, and a mooring about forty feet off the end of the dock. I don't know if we were supposed to leave it where it was, but the steady breeze gave us little choice. (The thing sailed pretty well, too! I'd always figured sunfish weren't really boats.)
Sarah and Anicia look on as Doug finishes rigging.
He made it back too!
Travis, Anicia, and Sarah having a terrible time.
Note the makeshift dock line rigged to prevent unintended jettisoning of party-goers.
I don't remember taking this picture, but here I am with my wife quite a ways away from my own camera.
Doug. Radiant as always.
There was a strange, low-roofed bunker on the adjacent property. A recon team, beers in hand, was dispatched to scout it out.
Doug, still radiant.
A plan was hatched to commandeer a speedy vessel from an outfit down south. This, however, did not come to fruition and we were left to simply observe the water-skiing gaiety of others.
A fraction of the crew. All except Jess a little loopy looking.
Doug raised the stakes...
...Travis saw it and called.
The next morning, another killer day.
The gang attends to some pressing matters. Otis looks on.
A couple of serious dudes.
Admirably committed to the lifestyle, these folks had a twisty water-slide permanently affixed to their front porch.
One morning, before everyone else woke up, I dropped the canoe in the water and paddled down to Flat Rock Point.
Did I mention how clear the water was?
These dudes were all out for an early morning boat trip as well.
The boat was turned west for an obligatory Adirondack canoe shot.
Throwing caution to the (steadily growing) wind, Andre paddled across the lake to explore the base of Roger's Slide. Juniper Island, just to the south, was on the itinerary too. There was a little campsite and a bit of garbage, but at least it was all piled up neatly in the fire ring.
The house, still in the early morning shadow of South Mountain.
Meanwhile... mush was fed to a baby.
The last of the lasagna found a suitable home as well.
And then... The weather took a turn for the worse. After several days of hot, glorious sunshine, a thick layer of rainclouds took residence over the lake. As raindrops fell, so too did the temperature...
...but morale held steady.
A creaky floorboard dance party was proposed, seconded, and ratified.
And the frenzy grew to Calvin-and-Hobbes-on-the-bed levels.
Otis and Bill (and Anicia's neck).
Despite his many obligations to the other guests, Otis still had plenty of Q.T. with Mom.
And even managed to rip out a couple of handfuls of Dad's hair.
Neesh-nosh, about to fuck some shit up with a pair of bocce balls.
Every night ended with a feast.
Fueled, of course, by warm, slowly-flattening keg beer and cases of leftover wine.
Otis. And the food that didn't make it in.
...and a glop about to make a run for it.
A paddle-boat trip was planned, but technical difficulties (a sizable hole and a history) gave us second thoughts. We tacked and set a course for some nearby sandwiches, after which Otis heard his first (loud!) boat horn.
From L to R: Dad (holding Otis), Andre (holding camera), Sarah (holding nothing), Anicia (ditto).
We saw some ducks swimming. Then we saw a sizable brown plume emanating from the aft end of a duck. Then we saw another duck swim by and scoop up a fair bit of plume in its bill.
I don't know what was said, but Dad wasn't into it. Otis didn't seem to mind.
So Dad explained it.
Toward the end of the week, the crowd had thinned to a core group of dedicated revelers: Sarah, Andre, Anicia, and Otis. With their new portability (that is, everyone fit in one car), they headed off on an excursion to Black Hole, an incredible swimming spot north of Warrensburg(h) on a tributary to the Hudson.
The weather, however, did not cooperate. And despite moments of warm sunshine, the clouds held fast over Black Hole. Fortunately, a sack full of food from Oscar's Smokehouse provided a formidable fortification against the cold.
German potato salad.
There are two rope swings at Black Hole. One of them is much lower and drops you off right on top of the water. The other is suspended from a cable stretched between two trees on opposite sides of the river. The take-off point is a cliff, maybe ten feet above the water.
The rope of the latter is far too long and with many knots along its length. Presumably this is to facilitate retrieving the rope to reset it for the next swinger. Smarter swingers would consider the extended length of the rope when orienting their bodies around it. I, however, opted to hold the rope between my ankles such that when I let go the entire length below me (knots and all) ripped up through my crotch as I plummeted toward the icy depths below.
The original plan was to swing out on the lower, friendlier rope. But then a group of teens showed up and beat us to it. I had no choice but to raise the stakes and swing out on the big-kid rope. The onlookers' applause made up for the shameful form as the rope tore first through my groin and then my pit.
My wife, bless her heart, pretended to be impressed. Otis, however, a more discerning rope-swinging judge, did not.
As it turned out, the extra length was completely unnecessary. A branch of birch was all that was needed retrieve the dangling death trap.
There was a "note to renters" taped to the fridge. It informed the reader that all occupants were responsible for the disposal of all garbage. Not wanting to waste our energy on a trip to the dump, we inquired as to the frequency of municipal waste removal visits and, realizing the proximity of the reported date, promptly filled the roll-away can with glass, plastic, and aluminum.
(The bottles of "Perfect O," an unfortunately-named and unfortunately-flavored brand of fortified water, were provided by Sarah's Amway-loving uncle. Though not particularly pleasing to the palate, they were surprisingly effective at warding off the effects of a hangover.)
A meat shoppe was discovered in Ticonderoga and an upsettingly-large pile of sausages was summarily procured. The entire pile was barbecued and consumed in a single sitting (by far fewer consumers than any of them would care to admit).
Old Shemp, who had been best-manned away from the wedding, made an appearance for the last few days of the trip. A fitting end to a week of revelry!
In an (ineffective) attempt to counter the accumulated weight of sausages, wine, and beer, we ended the week with a short hike to the Deer Leap overlook.
After a brisk constitutional through the woods we came to a semi-clearing with views through the trees of the lake below.
The actual leap, however, was a bit further down the steep grade. There, at the edge of a sharp drop off, the lake and its inhabitants were laid out in all their majesty.
(Seen here, the Minne-Ha-Ha of above-pictured fame.)
Otis and his mother were content with the view from the initial clearing and opted not to risk life and limb on the steep climb down.
Instead they risked life and limb in the proximity of a skulking (peeing) Anicia-squatch.
In sum: a thrilling, exhausting, sunny, rainy, boozy, hikey, boaty, floaty, sausage-filled, friend-infested, unforgettable week on the lake.