Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pig, Turkeys and a Fisher

Last week I visited my mother in Indian Lake, New York, unofficially known as the Middle of Nowhere, just north of Forever Wild. Every time I travel there, I re-visit my childhood haunts, at least those that still exist.

Every summer (and the occasional Christmas school break), my family drove from Akron, Ohio to the Adirondack Mountains, specifically Indian Lake (12842). Indian Lake is in a little hollow at the confluence of three lakes; Abanakee, Adirondack and Indian Lake. It was a long, boring drive, even when you were allowed to do 80 MPH on the thruway in a Chrysler Newport.
By the time we reached the border of the park it was always dark, so we kept our eyes peeled for the first official landmark of our vacation, The Rock Pig:
Freshly painted, 2012
The Pig has been there since I can remember, and means we are only about 15 minutes from our destination. I have no idea who keeps up the paint job.

For many summers, we rented a cabin or house owned by a particular family, the Chamberlains. Violet Chamberlain cooked a mean apple pie. The story goes that she left one on the window sill to cool, and a bear took it. Her husband was named Shirley, which made my brother and I giggle. A favorite location was Forest House in Blue Mountain Lake, just north of Indian Lake, with a handy restaurant next door. One summer there was a friendly doe who came to the yard at twilight and let us feed her windfall apples. Behind the house were sunny boulders and blueberry bushes, picked by us and occasionally black bears.
Sorry about the glare.
Eventually my parents bought property in Indian Lake in the early 70s, a three bedroom house and a garage with a full apartment over it. After my father passed away in 1977, my mother moved here permanently.
My rental car at right.
There have been bears in the yard here, too. My mother stopped filling the bird feeders after she looked out the window and saw a bear licking one clean (this is a true story). She also has a fox family, and one spring looked out into tall grass (not mown yet) and saw a sleeping fawn. 1 2 3 awwwww! This is the view from her deck:
My dad could name every one of those peaks.

We drove into Speculator on my first day there, right past a flock of wild turkeys. Apparently they are becoming a nuisance, like disrespectful teenagers, hanging out in parking lots and on the side of the road. The drive to Speculator is really beautiful, going south along the shores of Indian Lake.
One day I had lunch at this scenic overlook.

Of course, I stopped to visit the Indian Lake Public Library. No flies on them, they have ten public PCs, which is a ratio of one computer to about 90 people. My library has one computer per thousand. Their hours are limited, but their selection is great! I got the latest issues of Vanity Fair and the new Kurlansky bio of Clarence Birdseye. And a Dennis Lehane novel that I didn't have time to read.

Mom and I had a really good visit. It always takes me 24 hours to slow down to Indian Lake velocity, but it was made easier on this trip by my mother's new-ish PC, and wifi in the house, thanks to good-looking Bill, the Frontier.net technician. She is a news junkie, and kept asking me if I wanted to watch Rachel Maddow with her. We read and walked (she more than me) and ate. I cooked, she washed the dishes. I wore jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt every day, and took off my Smartwool socks only to bathe (it was COLD there).

It was a great thing to see her, and know that she is feeling well, and living well, in that remote area. Indian Lake doesn't have much of anything, but she doesn't desire anything beyond cable news and email and the beauty of the natural world.

Oh, the fisher. I went to Blue Mountain Lake, to visit the Arts Center (where my mother's Steinway now resides), and of course all the summer residences are now closed up for the season. I walked along the lakefront.
We swam here sometimes - brrr!
I spied a beautiful dark-pelted creature, bounding along the water, too bouncy to get a picture. I thought it was a pine marten, but my mother's friend (a trapper long ago) told me it was a fisher. 
Photo courtesy Wikipedia.
Thank you for coming on my wilderness journey with me!


  1. Thanks for the report on your vacation. It's gorgeous there! I'm happy your mom is doing so well. I hope you're all recharged.

    I fantasize about a cabin in the mountains. I know myself well enough to know that I would require a satellite dish and regular access to Thai food and pizza, so maybe it's not a very realistic fantasy. I guess that's the point.

    The bouncy fisher is adorable! I'm sure sure in real life it's not as cuddly as it appears in photos.

    I'm wearing my striped dress (like Sally), but I wore with with a black sweater and a red scarf. Very cute, but belatedly I realize I look like a mime. I have a beret in the car, but managed to resist wearing it to complete the outfit.

  2. Nice! What a wonderful setting for childhood memories. Someplace like this is where I picture myself retiring someday (though in reality i probably need to talk and be around other folks to much to really be happy there for more than a couple weeks at at a time...