Dillon’s bachelor party – An Adirondacks adventure! (Part 2 – A steep hike, a leisurely paddle, and an amazing dinner)

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Weekend from 30-Sept to 04-Oct

It’s been ages since my friends and I’ve had a good old fashioned get together.

COVID, living on the West Coast, tons of little things have delayed or denied getting to get together and catch up. But now, we’ve got a good reason to get together – one of the best reasons of all, in fact! A wedding! And what comes before a wedding? The bachelor party, of course!

Dillon had asked me to be his Best Man for the wedding in November, which of course meant planning and throwing the bachelor party itself – with much help from many people, a plan was crafted and a timeline put in place. A location chosen, a guest list compiled, and a date chosen.

Plane tickets were bought, rentals secured, and reservations called in. Now, all that remained was the best part of the process – sitting back and having an amazing weekend!!!



Saturday, 02-October-2021

Saturday dawned early… And if I’m being frank here, far earlier that I really thought would be possible for someone who just flew across the country, and doesn’t like waking up early on the best of days.

But you know what? Nothing helps me out of bed like the prospect of a day of friends and fun – and that goes double when I’m in a new place… Like, for example, an awesome new cabin by an absolutely gorgeous lake!

Which is all to say – I woke up early, met up with the other early risers, and got breakfast started with enough rest-time to step out onto the lake and greet the beautifully cool East Coast morning that I’ve missed so much. I don’t really know how to describe it, but… there’s something about the smell of the air on the East Coast that miss. It’s… more crisp? Maybe?

Anyways, It was lovely, and breakfast was absolutely delicious. Eggs, Bacon, Muffins, coffee… all of those critical things, up to and including good cheer and excitement.


The plan for the day was to get a short hike in, do a bit of kayaking, and then head into town for a bit of a bar crawl. Nothing crazy, of course, since we’re all old men at this point, but enough that we could relive a bit of glory days while also satiating our refined taste palettes. Yes. Fancy adults. Mmhmm.


Our hike started us off down a small side street, then took us across the highway on a lovely little highway overpass pedestrian bridge… before starting basically straight upward for 1.5 miles. Prospect Mountain was the name, with a nice distance of 3miles round trip, covering roughly 1,500ft of elevation gain. You know, nice and simple… roughly the same steepness of Mt. Hood, just at a lower elevation.

Yeah.

It was a steep hike, man.

But you know what? When we got to the top and were able to look out over the entire valley, feeling the wind at our backs and knowing we’d earned the views? It wasn’t so bad. Not at all bad.


The descent was marked by ever-increasing talk of lunch – we’d declined to pack snacks, since it was such a short hike, but… the heavy elevation had overcome our breakfast, and the thought of making some sandwiches back at the cabin was creeping more and more insistently into our collective conciousness.

We drove quickly, and pulled out all the fixings just as quickly.

If I may be proud, I’m pretty sure I knocked it out of the park with my own sandwich – heated in the oven, roast beef, cheese, lettuce added in right at the end… mm. We’re talking some good stuff, especially when combined with the various sides that we’d saved, and the leftovers from the night before. Some ribs, some mac and cheese… yeah. The hike had left us all hungry, and we absolutely ate well!



Once we’d finished gorging on our various delicious creations, we relaxed for a bit before heading out onto the lake – the rental cabin had a few kayaks squirreled away near the shore, ready and waiting for us to jump in and pilot them to their next adventure. Chris held down the fort at home, but the rest of us did a beautiful circumnavigation of the lake – Lake Luzerne, if I haven’t mentioned yet.

Our paddling was glorious. Beautiful skies, calm waters, and interesting views were had, and we even landed the kayaks at one point to explore a small tributary that led off the end of the lake… leading to what we learned was (I believe) the oldest paper pulp mill in the United States!

And a huge spider!

In short – the kayaking was excellent, relaxing, and a great post-lunch event.




From the water, we headed inland – after getting ourselves cleaned up, we heeded the call of the town and headed into Lake George to see what kind of trouble we could get into…

A distillery and an excellent restaurant, it turns out – Lake George Distillery and The Boathouse, specifically.


The distillery was definitely an interesting chance to try out some new spirits… but if I’m being candid here, I didn’t particularly click with any of the options that they had on the list. They weren’t bad, by any means, and their straight whisky was pretty solid, but nothing really stood out, you know? They’re good, but… I’m realizing that I really do just like the basics. Simple and clean is starting to be better than unique and experimental, you know?

Dinner, on the other hand, was absolutely excellent. We’d found a solid restaurant that hit the targets of being both affordable and high class, with a great beer menu and a solid dinner menu. Drinks, food, and laughter kept us going well into the evening, priming the way for us to head back to the cabin to keep the party train going until the whisky had been drank, and more than a few creative moves had been made in the various board games that people had brought along.



Dillon’s bachelor party – An Adirondacks adventure! (Part 1 – The journey to the woods)

Standard

Weekend from 30-Sept to 04-Oct

It’s been ages since my friends and I’ve had a good old fashioned get together.

COVID, living on the West Coast, tons of little things have delayed or denied getting to get together and catch up. But now, we’ve got a good reason to get together – one of the best reasons of all, in fact! A wedding! And what comes before a wedding? The bachelor party, of course!

Dillon had asked me to be his Best Man for the wedding in November, which of course meant planning and throwing the bachelor party itself – with much help from many people, a plan was crafted and a timeline put in place. A location chosen, a guest list compiled, and a date chosen.

Plane tickets were bought, rentals secured, and reservations called in. Now, all that remained was the best part of the process – sitting back and having an amazing weekend!!!




Thursday and Friday, 30-Sept-2021 & 01-Oct-2021


Thursday, 30-Sept-2021

I flew on a plane again! Heck yeah travelling!

We’d been planning this party out for a while – Dillon was getting married in November, which meant an early-October bachelor party. You know… enough time for bruises and cuts to heal. Maybe even enough time for a broken bone to set, if worst-came-to-worst. Everyone was psyched, we had a plan laid out, and Upstate New York was calling us!


I flew into Boston late on Thursday – I’ve found this flight is… not the easiest, since it gets in at midnight, but definitely the simplest flight to catch. That’s the downside of living in Portland, going East is way harder and way more time consuming. But, you know, that just means that the flight home is super easy, which is always nice.




Anyways I landed at midnight. Daniel picked me up, we hung out for a bit, caught up, and then hit the sleep nice and early in the morning.





Friday, 01-Oct-2021

Friday dawned bright, with Daniel and Erin’s dog Biscuit being unconvinced that I should be allowed in the house – He’s awesome, but definitely a stoic protector of the realm…

Anyways, We got going.

A nice breakfast, relaxed a bit, and then set about tracking down the various equipment and people for the trip!


The overarching plan for the weekend was aimed pretty low-key, but still sharp with some excellent adventures:

  • Pick up the Boston contingent and drive out to New York, meeting Chris at the cabin
  • Have some amazing dinner on Friday night, drink, and catch up with everyone
  • On Saturday, we’d hit up a small hike, then spend some time kayaking before getting ourselves ready for a bit of dinner and a pub crawl.
  • End Saturday night back at the cabin, crushing some awesome boardgames!
  • Have a nice brunch on Sunday, then do some go-karting and laser tag – maybe some games and other shenanigans
  • Grab lunch, then go back to the cabin for more board games / card games
  • Grill up steaks for dinner, and make an equally exceptional dessert
  • Clean up the cabin on Monday, then have one last brunch before driving back



With a good plan in mind and a shopping list in hand, Friday went exactly as well as we’d hoped!

The drive was clean and simple, with tons of time to relax, chat, and catch up. Grocery shopping for the weekend went beautifully – I’ve gotten so used to just shopping for myself that I’d forgotten the simple joy of having one huge shopping list for a camping weekend, and just watching the whole group scatter across the store like an ancient horde, grabbing what we need and vanishing just as quickly. It was awesome, and definitely set an excellent tone of cooperation and comraderie that held through the rest of the weekend.

The cabin itself was absolutely perfect, and since Chris had arrived a bit before the rest of us, it was even opened up and ready when we got there! We arrived a bit later than we’d initially planned, but that just meant that we got some excellent sunset views as we drove into the mountains and along the river. And then, when we did settle into the cabin? It was the perfect time to start up the fire, heat up some dinner, and settle into the weekend!



What did we have for dinner, you ask?

We had pure, unadulterated happiness, I’ll answer. Home-cooked, slow-roasted, beautifully seasoned baby back ribs!

With, of course, the standard accompaniment: beans, cornbread, mac and cheese, and cole slaw – and some excellent whisky and beer, of course. You know, just a few things.

Our hunger satiated, the rest of the evening was spent claiming bunks, enjoying the fire, and just simply catching up – It’d been FAR too long since we’d gotten together, and there were new friends to get to know for everyone. We had a whole weekend ahead of us, and nothing at all holding us back…

Getting some outdoor leads in!

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Saturday, 25-Sept-2021


The Beacon, Washington State

Man… with the exception of my Devil’s Tower climbing adventure, I can’t really remember the last time I just went out to climb with friends in the great outdoors. Ehh, okay. That’s a bit hyperbolic – It was last November, or maybe October, climbing at Ozone / FarSide with Bri and Lizzie. I had to trundle a huge boulder out of the route when it nearly fell out.

Fun times.

But… distant times, you know?



When Imogen expressed interest in climbing outdoors… well, I jumped on it. I was psyched, and came up with a few ideas of where we could go – she’s a newer climber, so I didn’t want to overwhelm her just yet… so just some shorter and cleaner pitches to get the blood flowing, you know?

In other words, The Beacon called.



It’s not an easy area, but there are a few very well travelled, very clean, very moderate routes that I’ve gotten to know pretty well. Not so much that I could climb them blindfolded… but the “with one arm tied behind my back” phrase does come to mind.

I packed up the car, picked her up in Portland, and we made our way toward adventure!

What did we climb?

SE Corner, 5.6, Trad – I got to lead!

We also explored quite a bit around the base of the Beacon… I feel like I’ve explored these before, but I can’t quite remember any specific instances… so we crawled into caves, stared up at huge walls, and appreciated the open air and cool fall breezes.



It was a simple and fun day – we got one solid pitch in, but… I’ll admit, I underestimated just how intimidating outdoor climbing can be, in comparison to gym climbing… especially when you get an amazing view of the Columbia River Gorge. Great views are a double-edged sword, right? They’re awesome and beautiful… but they’re also intimidating if you’re not accustomed to them.

Which leads me to the real meat and potatoes of this post – Climbing today, I was reminded just how deeply immersed I am in my element. It doesn’t really fall into one of the four natural elements… but instead I’m just exceptionally comfortable outdoors. Which… I’m just going to say it, I’m really exceptionally proud of.

It’s neat to think of, you know? I’d been camping when I was younger, a few times, but I’d never really considered myself into the outdoors until I got to college and had a chance to really stretch into my own wings.

But once I did… I’ve learned a lot, and experienced such a huge bounty of amazing trips, places, and… well, let’s be honest here. Quite a few mistakes along the way as well.

But… It’s been at least 16 years that I’ve been doing this. 16 solid years of trips, adventures, mistakes, memories, and excitement. Highs and lows, great summiting and rappelling in the rain.



It’s good to step back and recognize just how awesome we really are, every once in a while. To look at ourselves from the outside, and see just how many experiences we’ve lived, and how comfortable we’ve become in our elements – be it work, adventure, hobbies, or what have you.

To quite a wise (if short) old master: “Luminous beings are we”