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Autumn in the Adirondacks

October 4, 2012

 One of my favorite places in the Northeast to breathe in the crisp air of autumn and enjoy its explosive leaf displays is in upstate New York.  I hold a few spots dear and one is Lake George.

My husband, Kenn, and I finally escaped to its elegant Sagamore Resort early last fall to commemorate surviving 10 years of marriage. Years ago, we’d enviously eyed this Victorian-era palace while cruising by it, knowing it would take a special occasion to actually get us there.

We opted for the lodges, not the main hotel (way too pricey), which provided access to everything, including the gym and the spa, where I endured a grueling facial and a relaxing massage. Surrounded by the lake and the Adirondack Mountains, the scenery was sublime.

We strolled across the bridge and into the charming town of Bolton Landing. A highlight was the apples, cider and syrup from the local farmers’ market. We drove into Lake George, enjoyed the sites amidst the clip clop of horses’ hooves and happened upon musket and cannon firing demonstrations at Fort William Henry.

But the pinnacle of the trip, for me, was conquering Deer Leap Trail on Tongue Mountain. I’d trekked dirt trails in Aspen, Colorado, that were well worn like a pair of favorite jeans. Not here. Between the fallen leaves, a recent storm and downed tree branches, this was a bit more rustic and challenging. Of course, boots would’ve been better than the sneakers I’d packed, but…

Our guide, Allen, warned us about rattlesnakes. Since we didn’t see any, I thought he must have been kidding. He wasn’t, I read later it’s a real concern. Yikes! Fungi and vegetation were everywhere though.

Allen knew we were photographers, so he showcased all the cool stuff and kept promising an unforgettable view from the top. The two-hour trek was closer to three, since we kept stopping, but he didn’t seem to mind.

When we reached the peak, I realized that I might not capture that coveted shot. It needed to be taken from – the edge. See, I have a fear of heights or rather the fear of falling from said heights, but I wasn’t about to miss this. Especially since Kenn was in the zone shooting, moving around, leaning over and getting all sorts of angles.

Me? I stood frozen five feet away. I noticed a small tree right next to the cliff.  I thought If I could get to that and then brace myself, I could probably get some pictures.

Oh God, I can’t believe I’m doing this ran through my head.  I crouched down, all the way to the ground and gingerly scooted on my butt closer, closer, closer. (I’m sure Allen thought this was hysterical.) Kenn attempted to help me stand up, but instead I grabbed the wobbly 5-inch tree trunk and said I could take my shots from there.

The views were stunning. Allen was right. It was the shot he’d promised, and the perfect place to breathe in the fresh autumn air. A mere 1,200 feet up, it seemed like we were all on top of the world – even if I was sitting down.

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