Once again the need to git outta Dodge has overtaken me. It is the first weekend in March and it has come in like a lion.

It didn’t take long for the need to travel to start my feet to itching for the road. I’ve only been back from Arizona for 3 weeks and already the traffic, tailgaters and piles of roadside litter being exposed by the melting snow has pushed me to be out and about. So I gather up my traveling gear and often fellow traveler John Ryan and head for the Adirondack Mountains.

Photo by Jim Hoffman, ANaturalSight.com

Now for someone, who with age and infirmities, has come to dislike the cold, snow and general yuck of the Hudson valley in late winter it might seem strange to head north into more snow and cold, but the chance to visit with a good friend, photographer, whitewater kayaker, banjo picker and traveler is going to be well worth the trip. Jim’s busy season is just about to get underway so a chance to sit down and talk about his kayaking experiences in the Grand Canyon and Hudson River Gorge was not to be missed. So sit back relax and enjoy the trip as north we go.

I gave you the briefest of introductions when you went to Arizona and the Grand Canyon with me. On that trip I mentioned Jim kayaking the Colorado River thru the Canyon.

John and I stay at the Indian Lake Motel, which is one of our favorites when we are not staying in a tent somewhere in the back country. It is an older motel but has been lately undergoing renovation. The room we used was one of the recently refurbished and the slab wood wall makes a favorable impression when you open the door. It gives the place a real Northwood’s feel.

Photo by Jim Hoffman, ANaturalSight.com

The room has warm homey feel and rejuvenates our spirits. This evening we drive to North Creek for an excellent dinner at the Trappers Tavern.

Saturday morning dawns bright, cold and clear. After gathering our wits about us we head for another of our favorite jumping off points, the Indian Lake Diner. No chrome, brass and sparkling glass here, this is one of those good home cooked local favorites. We will be back here again as it one of my favorite jumping off places for adventures in the Adirondack Park. After a satisfying breakfast we off to Jim’s.

We are on our way a little early so I decide to explore some of the back roads and see if there was a good shot to be had. John and I found a stream just waiting for the attention of someone’s lens.

Photo by Jim Hoffman, ANaturalSight.com

I first saw Jim as he toted his kayak and camera down the hill to the put in on the Indian River. He was on his way to shoot photos of the white water rafters coming down thru the Hudson River Gorge. Latter that evening I got to know him as he was picken his banjo in the Indian Lake motel parking lot along with John and Wayne Failing, who owns and operates a white water rafting company called Middle Earth Expeditions, on guitars. Tunes like “ Willin “ and “ A Friend Of The Devil “ went rolling out across the area tempting others to come and listen, hum, sing along, tap a foot or bring their instruments and join in. Since then we have kept in touch thru e-mail and side of the road encounters during the white water rafting season. Some day we will go and visit Wayne and hopefully be well enough to take a raft trip with him.

We arrive at Jim’s home which is situated on a lake shore surrounded by tall Pines with a number of blue jays flitting thru the tree tops. Jim meets us at the door and we are welcomed into a warm friendly kitchen with hot coffee awaiting us. It is good to see him after a long winter and to see, as he puts it,”able to sit up and take nourishment”. I sit down at the kitchen table and wrap my paws around a warm coffee mug and we start to discuss his kayak trips on the Colorado River thru the Grand Canyon.

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