Sunday, August 24, 2014

Upon This Rock

While this spot is usually given over to my Sunday homily, I don't have one to post here for you today. Fr. Stitt gave me the unexpected gift of offering to cover my Masses, and I took him up on it.  It would have been to have the chance to reflect with you on St. Peter receiving the keys to the Kingdom...but instead I headed out on a short solo camping trip to check on a different sort of "rock"--one in the Adirondacks, not Rome.

None of my camping trips go completely as intended...and this one was no exception.  

My original hope was to camp in the lean to at Trombley Landing on the Raquette River (between Saranac and Tupper Lake)...but when I hiked in the 1.6 miles to get there early Saturday afternoon, the place was already rather full.  So, it was back out to the car, and on my way to the Debar Mountain Wild Forest.  

This would be familiar turf, and an area which I know is rarely occupied.  I've stayed a couple of nights on Grass Pond before; I'd start out on the same trailhead (just north of Paul Smiths), but with a different destination: the Sheep Meadow.  I've hiked there (3.6 miles) several times in the past, but never stayed the night.

I arrived a bit later than I would have liked (now with almost 7 miles walking with a pack for the afternoon), but the weather was super, I had the place all to myself, and there was still time aplenty to bring up water from the creek, gather wood for a fire, and find a place to hang my food in the trees after supper.  As happened on my last camping trip, my water filter failed again--making me extra glad I always have a backup plan for drinking water.  It also seems that someone (not sure weather beast or barbarian) took it upon themselves to attempt some "remodeling" of the campsite's privy...

That always makes time in the woods just a little more interesting than you really wanted it to be.

It was probably one of the quietest nights of my life: other than the occasional distant hooting of a couple of owls, there wasn't a rustle, a peep, or sounds of any sort.  And the night sky was perfectly clear, giving me a "stellar" view of the Milky Way.  Before such mysterious beauty, one can't help but ponder his place before the Beautiful Mystery that's behind it all.

What's left of the "meadow" (it's getting increasingly overgrown) had a surprising abundance of late season wild blueberries to offer, adding a delicious touch truly worthy of Sunday morning to my breakfast...

After a chance to pray and read a spell, it was time have a quick lunch, pack up camp, and leave this Sheep Meadow behind for the pastures the Lord usually has me tending on the weekend.  Thanks, Fr. Stitt, for this unanticipated sabbath rest!

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