Yesterday, before the current heat wave began, I decided to take a long walk.
I drove to the Blue Mountain trailhead in the Adirondacks. Instead of going up, as I’ve done several times already, I hiked down through the woods, along the perimeter of an area marked for logging, and descended to the intersection with the Northville-Placid trail, where I turned right and headed toward Tirrell Pond. During the first two miles of this walk, I could hear saws and the felling of trees, as well as the buzz of amphibious planes taking off from Long Lake and transporting eager tourists on aerial rides over the park. But when the trail began its steady descent toward the water, the woods became amazingly quiet.
Tirrell Pond, which looks more like a lake to me, is far enough into the wilderness to be out of earshot of any sound of human invention. It’s not only peaceful, but also quite beautiful. From every perspective I had, the water reflected Tirrell Mountain with its prominent rock face, standing like a sentry over the eastern shore. Blooming lily pads, thin grasses, and colorful butterflies graced the water’s shallow edges. I followed the shoreline about half a mile, then doubled back and spent some time on the sandy beach at the north end of the pond. I did not encounter another soul until I was making way back, when I greeted a hiker about my age who was resting at the lean-to near the pond. As I began the return ascent, I thanked God for the solitude.
When I reached the trailhead, I was rather taken aback by how many cars were crowded into the parking area and lining the adjacent highway. One of the vehicles was a school bus. No more solitude.