I would find it hard to accustom myself to the frequent rain of the region, were I to live in New York. I heartily enjoy the lush greenery, but am not too fond of the sun being hidden so often. The ferns and moss are picturesque, but the wet socks and dripping humidity are a bother I do not think I could live with in perpetuity. Fortunate it was, then, that I was only visiting Saratoga, New York in September, 2003. Andra and I had flown into Manchester and stayed with Mom at her apartment for several days before the three of us drove through Vermont to stay at Gary’s place just outside of Saratoga. Gary’s house is the house Mom grew up in. It has a long and interesting history that Gary can bring to life without hesitation. It has the colonial look one finds perfectly fitting in the woods of New York. On this particular morning, we woke to the soft whisper of raindrops pelting the leaves of the giant oaks that surrounded the old house. After getting dressed, I called Dave, my friend from college days who just happened to live nearby, to discuss the plan of the day, and how to alter it to contend with the rain. Dave graduated from Colorado State the same year I did, and immediately fell into a job in New York. Thus, while I entered Grad School and self-imposed poverty for two years, Dave bought a house in the beautiful woods outside of Saratoga and adopted a mixed breed dog from Puerto Rico. He calls the dog Mia. Andra, Dave and I had planned on hiking somewhere near Lake George that morning, which is north of Saratoga about an hour, but the rain convinced us to wait a couple of hours. We waited, and it soon became apparent that the rain could out-wait us. I rang up Dave around noon and we decided to go for it, rain be damned. He swung by in his new Jeep and we drove up the highway towards Lake George, rain blurring the windshield view as the wiper blades swung furiously to keep up with the deluge. I left all navigation chores up to the native among us, and where we ended up stopping is a complete mystery. The sun never even came out to let me know which way was north. A little disconcerting, that. At any rate, we were at a parking lot in front of a trail head and the rain had mostly stopped. Conditions seemed ripe for a nice hike up…I looked at the trailhead sign…Buck Mt. Dave harnessed up his Caribbean hound and we loaded a human-pack with food and water. The trail was very nice. Lush, green and verdant foliage from a thousand different plant species lined the trail, and filled in all the protected nooks in the rocks of the trail. The overcast sky seemed to make the colors glow, from the dark, water-drenched tree bark to the airy fern fronds, dripping with water. In all directions, one’s vision was met with tree foliage, tree trunks, or under-story shrubs and ferns. We all conversed constantly as we labored up the trail, stopping now and again to catch our breath and wipe sweat from our brows. The sweat seemed never to dry off, as I am used to in the climes of the west, and we were all drenched from it before long. I don’t recall much of the trail, which leads me to believe it was very nice but not particularly unique. I do remember reaching the top. Several groups were there before us at the bald summit. We stopped right above the USGS marker pounded into the summit and gazed down at Lake George below. We had managed to climb up to a very good vantage point of the Lake, and it was much easier to visualize the terrain from up above than from down below in the thick forest. We snacked on our food and Dave pointed out where he had kayaked and camped several weeks before. Mia took an interest in a couple of women seated nearby, providing Dave with an opportunity to strike it up with the ladies, an opportunity he took without effort. After our apples were eaten, and our water drunk, we began the descent.
Back in the Jeep, rumbling over
the gravel road, we searched for any road included in our vague directions
to Shelving Rock Falls. Amazingly, we found the correct road among a network
of small lanes, and stopped at a deserted lot in a dense forest next to
a stream. We followed the stream by foot down to a small reservoir, and
then spent almost an hour enjoying and observing Shelving Rock Falls just