©Bert Gildart: I started writing travel blogs almost five years ago, and don’t think I’ve missed a week. But now I see that I have missed almost a month and in short I just needed a vacation and some time to regroup from many distractions.
That said, there are also some extenuating factors, one being that our predominate location in the Adirondacks made it challenging to access the Internet. As well, I had some work conflicts and had to spend what time I had creating an outline for a book that I very much wanted to pursue this winter.
L to R: Bridge near Concord Massachusettes where first shots of Revolutionary War were fired; Don, Nancy, Janie sailing; Cassy Polga and interior of Thoreau’s cabin.
The book is about Glacier and I can now report that my time was better spent creating an outline than trying to write blogs – or make contribution to Facebook or Twitter, both of which I have concluded are a waste of time for me. My conclusion is based on the fact that I now have a contract, so now know that Janie and I will be spending much of the winter working on a book. Blogs, however, are beneficial to me as I often draw on them for article material. Also they provide an excellent accounting of our activities, making them fun to refer back to.
But still, there have been a number of highlights and with a bit of a vacation from blog writing want to return by reporting that the past month has provided time with friends and family which neither of us would have traded.
Starting from north to south, we spent a night in Vermont with Don and Nancy Dennison, who took us out for a day in their beautiful sailboat. We cruised Lake Champlain for several hours, and in the morning, the wind was perfect. But then it died and we had to power back with their auxiliary motor. Like us, Don and Nancy also travel in an Airstream and over the years, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time with them in various parts of the country. Don is fighting a courageous battle with cancer and is a man to be respected and admired.
L to R: Exterior of Thoreau’s cabin; Dunker Church at Antietam; plaque near observation tower overlooking cornfield at Antietam, where 21,000 men killed or wounded in single day.
Working south, we spent a week with my sister and her family on Lake George. While there my daughter and granddaughter flew in and I believe the highlight for them was getting granddaughter Hallie up on water skis. Forrest, my brother-in-law is patient and a wonderful teacher.
LEARNING (AGAIN) TO ROLL
My nephew and his wife Becca also flew in and introduced us to their 15-month son Eadan. Nephew Joel is a world-class kayaker (literally) and he finally helped me combine the right moves so that I was rolling my kayak consistently.
One of the most memorable Lake George outings was a kayak trip my sister and I made in pouring rain. We were attired in water-repellant kayak gear. We stayed dry despite the thousands of tiny rain drops which dappled the lake around us. There was no wind, just a thin fog and a warm rain.
MEMORABLE HISTORIC MOMENTS
In Massachusettes we spent time with Janie’s daughter and family. Karen and Alun have three lovely children and while there the family took us to several spots that commemorate some of our most memorably moments in history. Near Concord we hiked across the famous bridge where the first shots of the Revolutionary war were fired, “The shot heard round the world.”
As well, we toured a replica of Thoreau’s tiny cabin and walked around Walden Pond, which I thought was actually more of a lake. Posted near Thoreau’s cabin was a cost break down of materials used on the log structure and that came to about $30.
Departing Massachusettes, we returned to Janie’s other daughter, Katie, who lives in New Jersey. Her husband Keith consistently wins mountain biking contests and though I try and keep up with him, it is impossible and would have been even if I were 30 years younger. I joke and tell him he’s awesome, but it’s really true. But we have fun (I think I crashed just once), and so do Janie and I with Cory, Kelsey and Kyle. The family stresses athletics as does Janie’s son, Scott, who lives just fifteen minutes from daughter Katie. Katie lives along Shades of Death Road, Scott nearby in Hackettstown, with three super kids.
BACK TO SHENANDOAH
Two days ago we departed New Jersey and our travels now find us moving toward Shenandoah, where we’ll be updating an exploring book we wrote for the park a number of years ago. We should make it today, but two nights ago we stopped at Hagerstown KOA to enjoy nearby Antietam, one of our favorite Civil War sites. In previous posts I’ve written about the site. As well, I’ve also written a number of magazine stories about the area. Tragically, more men were killed in a single day than at any other Civil War battlefield.
Many years ago I co-authored a coffee table book about national parks with Jim Murfin, who was a director of publications for the National Park Service. Murfin died prematurely, but Antietam honors him by naming their auditorium for him.
We’ll be in Shenandoah for almost a month and if we have access to the Internet will be reporting frequently from that park.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR:
*Alaska Still On Our Minds
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