Labor day to many is the official close of the summer. Soon the boats will begin to leave the harbors, and the beaches have closed for the season. The lake traffic will dwindle away slowly while people begin to prepare for their wintertime activities. This Labor Day weekend went out with a bang for many. With no threat of rain, mild breeze, and warm temperatures came hoards of sun seekers looking for what may be their last dose of vitamin D before the chill sets in. Labor Day might be the curtain call on summer, but now is time that my hiking season begins. So what did I do to say goodbye to summer?
The setting was perfect. Friday August 31st marked the rise of a Blue Moon. The last Blue Moon was December 31st of 2009 and won’t appear again until July , 31 2015. I had considered skipping out on the moon as cloud cover crept in near the end of the day, but was fortunately steered in the right direction. My paddling partner and I put our Paddleboards into Lake Champlain at Port Kent then traveled north. The water was calm with minor ripples. The cloud cover had dissipated enough to allow for a perfect view of the moon to the east, and the setting sun to the west. We sat, cross-legged on our boards and just stared into the sky. The clouds provided some creative entertainment as we picked out imaginary creatures and told their stories before they moved on. We sat for what felt like an eternity watching the Blue Moon rise high into the sky like the grand martial of the events to come. Welcome Labor Day!
With only a half-day of work the following day, I had loaded up my car with more intentions of getting out on the water as soon as the doors were locked. I buzzed north to Point Au Roche State park for more paddleboard time. Deep Bay was packed full of sailboats and the sounds of its weekend water inhabitants cheerfully enjoying another perfect Lake Champlain day. I paddled out meandering between the boats to the tip of Long Point. The water was calm enough to see very clearly down to the depths. After a few hours on the water, I reluctantly paddled back to the car to pack it in. I had big plans for Sunday and needed to be well rested and prepared.
Well rested wasn’t on the agenda. While unloading my board, I received a message. My favorite kind of message, “paddling tonight?” popped up on my screen. Thirty minutes later I was back at Port Kent beach for another moon rise paddle. The sky was very clear this evening with very few clouds. The water was choppy with a mild breeze. To the west, the sun was rapidly setting behind the Adirondack mountains in perfect layers of alternating blue and orange hues. To the east, the bright orange moon began to peek up from behind the Green Mountains of Vermont. I love to witness the perfect dance as the moon rises and the sun sets. Each one with their own distinct glow shimmering on the surface of the water as if to wave goodbye to the day and hello to the night. With thought filled and the darkness growing darker, my paddling partner and I headed in from our solitude to part ways again at Port Kent Beach.
Labor Day weekend was the perfect excuse to leave all responsibility behind and just live. Along the Adirondack Coast, it’s easy to immerse yourself into an outdoor activity without over stressing yourself. My next Lake Champlain trip required a lot less physical effort on my part. My long time kayaking partner and I changed our pace for a day and hopped aboard the “Adirondack”. The “Adirondack” travels from Port Kent NY to Burlington Vermont. The “Adirondack” is the oldest double open-ended American ferry-boat in operation. If you’re interested in a bit of the “Adirondack’s” history and hours of operation, visit http://www.ferries.com/assets/files/Our%20Fleet_2005-2010.pdf .The “Adirondack” has been carrying passengers since it went into service in 1913. I always try to make it a point to get on this boat specifically because of the history as well as the second level walk around balcony area. The relaxing one hour float across Lake Champlain passes by many familiar sights from my paddling adventures showing views of Valcour Island, Schuyler Island, The Four Brothers, Willsboro Point, and a stunning view of the Adirondack High Peaks. Many of the passengers of the “Adirondack” will stay on-board for a two-hour round trip float while others, like myself, prefer to take a few hours to shop, grab lunch, or bike the paved bike path along the Burlington water front. My friend and I stopped off for an outdoor lunch before boarding a different boat back to Port Kent. On our return trip, we decided to finish the day with a buzz out to Schuyler Island on the jet ski before packing it in for the night.
After three great days of time on the water, Labor Day itself had arrived. I was to meet with another friend out at the Blue Trails in Plattsburgh for a calm walk in the woods with him and his borrowed dog for what turned out to be a fantastic close to an otherwise very busy weekend. Theres something magnificent in the eyes of a happy pup when you throw a stick in the water and watch him chase it down. This pooch was a few dozen steps beyond the small sticks we were tossing for him. He was more inclined to amuse us by his own choosing of the most monstrous branches in the woods. Walking the Blue Trails away from the busy commercial areas was just what I needed. My eyes were heavy for the entire day from the amount of activity I had the rest of the weekend. I feared that I was becoming very poor company in this walking lethargy I was experiencing. It was time to bring the weekend to a close and get in some much-needed quality time between my couch and I.
I lay about reminiscing silently about all the times I had enjoyed along the Adirondack Coast throughout the weekend. I find myself truly blessed to live in such a magnificent part of the world. The magnificence of which was displayed very clearly to me while aboard the “Adirondack” as I watched the tourists walk all about the boat with cameras in constant shutter. The close of summer has come and gone. Now we all prepare for the autumn season when the trees come alive with color. Hiking season must be upon us.