Amazingly, the moment of departure finally arrived, with friends Bill and Mary Bausch stopping by to snap a farewell photo. Bill will be the expedition archivist, maintaining a record of the SPOT tracking data and updating my progress on an old-fashioned paper map at church.
As Dad and I drove across Vermont and entered the Adirondack Park, I felt calmer than in recent days. Tiny hamlets with quaint churches appeared as we followed the rushing Hudson River toward its source. Sparkling lakes, fir clad islands, rustic cabins..all reminders of why I wanted to do this. We mused about the rapids, our thoughts traveling to our new boats, as yet untested in whitewater. How sturdy were they, how maneuverable? Soon we would find out.
We dropped our boats and gear at The Forge Motel, where they kindly let us have our room early. Then it was off to Saranac Lake with the truck, where it would wait for our arrival. Dan Brown, who paddled the NFCT last year, had generously offered to shuttle us back to Old Forge. From the minute we hopped in his car, we were talking about the trail and so appreciating not just the ride, but the stories and pointers. So many kindnesses already and we haven’t even started!