Last Friday, Alan and I returned from a two week camping trip to Vermont, the Adirondack Coast of New York and our beloved Northampton Beach Campground on Great Lake Sacandaga which is at the foot of the Adirondacks in central New York. (More about those travels in future posts.) With the exception of a couple of rainy days and a few showers that didn’t impact our plans, the weather proved to be that wonderful fall combination of comfortable days and cool, but not cold, nights. This trip was distinctive for two noteworthy reasons: (1) It was the first trip since both Alan and I left the workforce during which the specter of the construction project at our rental property wasn’t looming in the background waiting for our return and its completion. That weight on our shoulders was pleasantly absent since we had finished the project toward the end of the summer and we truly felt free to relax and enjoy our travels. (2) It was the first vacation in 24 years that Alan and I had taken without one or both kids in tow. That's nearly a quarter of a century! Sweet . . . and bittersweet.
|Why is Alan smiling? Because we just celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary!|
However, I’m happy to report that when we reached Sacandaga on the last leg of our trip, both Kyra and Ryan, along with Ryan’s girlfriend, Anya (our absolutely delightful “bonus kid”), were able to take time off from work and join us for a weekend.
|Ryan and Anya ~ I find all kinds of photos on my camera when I leave it laying around.|
Alan and I are fortunate in that we do see our kids on a fairly regular basis. Ryan and Anya live less than thirty minutes away and Kyra is currently within a drive of about two hours while advancing her studies in the field of barbering. (Although she is a licensed cosmetologist, our state requires separate licenses for cosmetology and barbering; therefore, an additional educational program and a separate state board test are required.) So, we’re blessed that all three of them are within easy visiting distance, even though we don’t see them every day. We were fortunate that everyone’s work and school schedules allowed the five of us plus Whiskey (Anya's and Ryan’s dog) to get together at the lake for the weekend. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy this made me!
|Yes, I do think Kyra is contemplating adding a jet ski to her Christmas list . . .|
Recently, when we were talking about Sacandaga, Kyra commented that she felt that she and all of her friends each had “their lake” – a particular and special place for family gatherings and adventures. When I was both a child and a teenager, a State Park lake about 45 minutes from home was “our lake” due to the annual family picnics held there when I was young and the fact that the beach at the park was the one favored by my group of friends in high school. Although Alan and I didn’t meet until we were young adults, as it turned out, that lake was Alan’s "special lake," too, since his family would often take their Sunfish sailboat there to enjoy the breezes, beach and picnic area. Although I've never actually posed the question to my other family members, it wouldn't surprise me that most, if not all, of us feel that Sacandaga is now "our lake." We first camped there in 2009 when Ryan was 15 and Kyra was 10, and we haven’t missed a year since, so this fall marked our 10th “anniversary.”
|Ryan, Kyra and Whiskey enjoying a stroll along the Campers' Beach|
While our travels during the entire two week period were completely enjoyable, it was with great anticipation that we were looking forward to the kids’ visit. It was not the first time all of us would be overnighting at the lake, but it was the first time we’d be testing out the guest accommodations in our new travel trailer. I’m happy to report that all went well and I do believe our guests will be returning in the future to “The Lodge at the Lake.” (When Kyra complained about the seams in her "dinette bed," Ryan calmly told her to stay outside in a tent next time with no heat.)
|Our very welcome guests!|
Since Alan and I have always enjoyed the company of our kids and Anya fits right in with the rest of us, we expected nothing less than a “tons of fun” weekend. The weather cooperated perfectly and the forecasters were calling for a beautiful early fall weekend with sunny skies and temps in the mid-60’s.
|Whiskey enjoying the sun and the sand|
Although the water level at Sacandaga was lower than usual for this time of year, the inlet on which we camp was still accessible to canoes, kayaks and smaller power boats. We had three bikes, two kayaks and one jet ski among us, and plans for big breakfasts, trips to our favorite ice cream place and toasting marshmallows around the campfire. Don’t assume that toasted marshmallows appeal only to the little ones. As soon as Alan started setting up the campfire, both Kyra (aged 19) and Anya (age 24) asked if we had marshmallows.
|This pic of Kyra and Anya is one of my favorites!|
This crowd gets along really well and everyone possesses a highly developed sense of humor. A much-used expression in our family is, “If we didn’t love you, we wouldn’t tease you,” so it was no surprise that a great deal of silliness ensued. One of my favorite photos from the weekend is of the three “kids” sitting at the dinette. Kyra is looking at Ryan with one of the most reproving glares I’ve ever seen, Ryan has a look of abject innocence on his face, and Anya is sitting between the two of them hiding a laugh. I can only imagine what he said, but I do know I’m sorry I missed it.
|After "The Glare." (Those are not bandages - Kyra was just cleaning out her barbering kit.)|
The weekend was spent lounging around (both inside and outside), chowing down on those big breakfasts (Alan mans the grill when we camp – picture me with a b-i-g smile on my face!) and taking Whiskey for walks on the beach (boy, did she get tired out!).
|Poor Whiskey could barely keep her head up!|
Plus, we took turns riding with Ryan on his jet ski (we had the lake nearly to ourselves), enjoyed the best soft ice cream EVER (our favorite ice cream stand closed for the season on the last day the kids were there – thank heaven we made it in time!) and, of course, enjoyed the campfire along with the requisite marshmallows.
|Kyra was definitely looking forward to her first ride on a jet ski.|
Kyra left mid-afternoon on Sunday, with Ryan, Anya and Whiskey following a couple of hours later. Alan and I agreed that it was sadly quiet on Sunday evening, but we felt fortunate that we were all able to share such a delightful weekend together.
|The view from our site at Northampton Beach Campground|
I’m grateful for this lovely lake and the magnificent mountains around it for a few reasons. One is that it’s the source of so many memorable adventures for us and another is that friends of ours have a family house on the lake so, if our schedules mesh, we sometimes get to visit in a place we all love. But, the most important reason for my gratitude is that Great Lake Sacandaga keeps calling the kids back to spend time together as a family, enjoying fun-filled outdoor activities together. That’s wonderful, fabulous and magnificent all rolled into one . . . because I just love these guys to pieces!
“Thank you, God, for each new day you give to me, for earth and sky and sand and sea.
For rainbows after springtime showers, autumn leaves and summer flowers.
Winter snowscapes so serene, harvest fields of gold and green.
Stars that twinkle high above and all the people that I love. Amen.”
~ Unknown (at least to me)