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Old 09-14-2004, 02:58 AM   #79
Waylaid Wanderer
Waylaid Wanderer's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Delmar, NY
Posts: 1
Hello, and what a pleasure it is to be here!

I wasn't registered as a member to this forum for more than a day before I was welcomed, and I do appreciate that.

Be forewarned. This post is a bit lengthy, not by design but by an unintended willingness to divulge more of myself than I probably should have, probably due to the late hour.

Well now, a little about myself, eh? Hi, my name is John. I am a 31 year old DME (Durable Medical Equipment, that's wheelchairs and hospital beds and the like) Technician, and just moved into the Capital Region from Hollywood, Florida(East Coast, north of Miami). I followed Hurricane Charlie up. Witnessing the destruction to the rural towns and suburbs along the Fla Turnpike just south of Orlando simply reinforced my decision to leave. Steel overhanging roadsigns tossed about like some toddler's playthings, bill boards snapped like matchsticks, open roofs and fallen walls, it was awesome and humbling. Nature, in it's fury or beauty, tends to be, but I don't have to tell you all that. I do not envy those people I left behind.

I grew up in New York, at the southwestern tip of Albany County. Though I did some fishing with my father now and again, I never really got the hiking "bug". All through high school, I only embarked on one camping trip, and it was a bushwhack with a couple of friends thinking ourselves adventurous. Obviously, we were unprepared, got lost, emerged from the woods a day later on a road only a few miles away from where we had departed, and hitched a ride home. Not very impressive, I know. And that would have been the extent of my hiking days, if not for a strange turn of events.

I spent a year at SUNY Cobleskill as a BioTech Major, and then had the sudden realization that splitting genes wasn't for me. No, I wanted to be a writer. I needed a change of atmosphere, something new, something different(reality had taken a little vacation at this point). So it was then that I agreed to move down to South Florida for a time, get my feet under me, experience life, get an English degree, and start writing. This turned out to be the overwhelming blunder of my simple nondescript life, made so by a remarkable series of non-decisions and choices based on personal security designed to avoid any manifestation of change. I ended up spending a year at a Community College, failing to achieve a degree(6 Credits Short), and the better part of 10 years working for my parents in their DME(Durable Medical Equipment) business as a Technician/Driver, and eventually Operations Manager. I don't resent the work. It is good, meaningful work. But it wasn't my life, it wasn't my goal. It was biding time, and keeping desperate hold of the status quo.

Luckily, I was forced to make a decision. The business was being sold. August 2003, and I was suddenly unemployed. South Florida had become a concrete wasteland to me, built upon an immense sweltering rancid bog. In my mind it was an analogy of my life, an illusion of structure and order built upon a great emptiness. And then I felt the call(dramatic, isn't it). Memories of old deciduous forests, and the rolling hills they stood upon, came to the forefront of my thoughts. I remembered standing on the shelves of rock above the swiftly flowing streams with my father, fishing for trout. It was the time I was most happy, and that's all the urging I needed. I was free to go where I would, but I only wanted to go one place. My older sister had moved back to upstate New York, and started a family there. She had placed an open invitation, and I took her up on it. When I made that decision, my desire to be in the wilderness grew tenfold. I needed to make a little money before the move, so it was not happening immediately. I went to the Everglades(that immense sweltering rancid bog I spoke of earlier) and walked a few trails through some hammoks(small islands in the river of grass which have stable enough ground for trees to root). It was a poor substitute for the mountains, but not nearly half as bad as I imagined. I did some kayaking in the Keys, meandering through mangrove caves, the canopies of which were so dense as to cast everything in deep brown and green. A sense of solitude was strong in those places, but merely shadow of the peace I had felt in an earlier life.

And so, a year later, and here I am. Unemployed, yet again, I arrived at my sister's on the 25th of August, perhaps a new birthday for me. First thing, after unpacking, and getting my younger brother settled in the College of St. Rose, I went to my local bookstore, a small independent shop I will likely be frequenting a lot, and happened upon Barbara McMartin's "Discover the Adirondacks" series. I didn't have the money to buy a lot of gear, so, instead, I decided to make a quick trip to Kane Mountain last Saturday. I called my brother, he agreed, being the naturalist he is, and off we went. I don't have to tell you, or perhaps I do, but the view from that firetower, well, it was enough to become inspired, and that is not an easy thing for me. So, we went down 29A the 10 miles to the Powley-Piseco Road, drove up and back, making note of the campsites and pull-offs, and then got lost(purposefully) for a few hours. It ended with us agreeing that every other Saturday we would go out to explore the Adirondacks a bit more, alternating the planning of the trips between us. The off weekends I will be going solo, and finding more than the hidden valleys and rolling peaks in the Southern Adirondacks(until I'm comfortable, and in shape, I will be keeping to the southern reaches, those closest to where I am).

Reading the previous posts in this thread, I have to admit, you all have admirable qualities, to the last. I'm coming to this a bit late in the game, and am barely an amateur, and that's being kind. But I have the desire and the will, so, in time, may our paths cross and our meeting be a good one.

Take Care and Be Well,
Revisiting favorite destinations
is as much fun
as discovering new ones.

Barbara McMartin
Discover the Southern Central Adirondacks
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