I went missing for five days recently. I was out canoeing on various waterways in the western Adirondacks. One day I took two trips on the West Branch of the Oswegatchie. On the second of those trips, I paddled through several ponds owned, largely or entirely, by the Oswegatchie Educational Center, a nonprofit institution in the middle of the woods run by the Future Farmers of America.
This was on Day 4 of my mini-vacation. By then I was pretty much sated with scenery. I was thinking to myself that I really needed to see something spectacular to rouse me from my aesthetic torpor. And I did.
After exiting Mud Pond near Long Pond Road, I portaged around a small waterfall and paddled less than a mile downstream to the head of another falls. I pulled over and walked to the middle of a footbridge across the river. I was stunned by the view: the river was washing over pink-gray slabs of gneiss, dropping into a dark pool, and then winding away through a lush-green marsh. It was one of the most enchanting scenes I have come across. The photo above doesn’t do it justice: I’m a lousy photographer, and the light wasn’t right. But I hope it serves as a reminder of the unexpected beauty that can turn up on any day in the Adirondacks.