Lake Placid & Adirondack Mountains -

Some of my excellent plans have been the plans made in a jiffy. This story is about a trip, which just happened, was planned over a cup of tea, within an hour. And it happened, because of the people, who were part of this trip.

July 2014, 4th July was a Friday, which means, we had a long weekend. Long weekends in that part of world are not meant to stay at home, especially if they are during summers. We just discussed it over a cup of tea, it was agreed upon, that we will go somewhere. But where? It was yet to be decided. Vibhu bhai suggested Lake Placid, we all agreed. Since everyone in our group had some plan or other, so it was only four of us. jasu ben was included at last. Final group consist of five people, Jasu Ben, Vibhu bhai, Dhara, Sumu and I. 

When Vibhu bhai is there, you need not to worry about anything, hotels, deals, food, plan, fun, Vibhu has the answer for everything. Vibhu bhai is resourceful. The only input I had in this plan was, lets start on Thursday night, instead of Friday. This holiday saving planning became a part of my several next plans. This was a masterstroke, to avoid holiday traffic and also the return traffic.

Mother Nature had her own plans thou, Thursday 3rd July remained overcast throughout the day, but as soon as our departure time neared, the heaven started pouring. Not just rain but thunders were so loud and deafening, that some of our close friends suggested us to cancel the trip. However, the group was courageous and unwilling to drop the plan.

Evening, around 8 PM,  we started from Stamford, Connecticut, Our plan was to stay somewhere at upstate New York, Albany or nearby. Vibhu had already struck a deal. We got a big suite, good enough to host five of us. However, the drive was tough, pouring rain and city traffic. As we moved upstate, the impact of storm gradually decreased.

As soon as we moved away from the frightening storm, the holiday mood creeped in. The singing ladies showed their skills, we were awestruck by Jasu Ben's performance. She barely speaks Hindi, and here she sang her favorite bollywood numbers with ease and grace. Within minutes, Dhara turned DJ played choice of songs demanded by everyone. We all sang together, loud and in sync, until we ran out of breath. Old numbers, Mukesh, Kishore Da, Rafi, Lata, Asha, all of their souls were present inside us. Then came the dance numbers. It was mainly to keep Vibhu, the driver, awake. It all ended, when we reached our night halt.   We stayed overnight. Next morning, we woke up normally and reached Lake Placid on time. 

Lake Placid, is a typical holiday town, normally would have been slow, calm and serene, laid back. But it was vibrant that day. Out of many other factors, the independence day was one of the reasons. Our group was no less vibrant. However, Vibhu, tired of long drive and less sleep, straight away went to bed, to catch up some sleep. Rest of us roamed around the area. In the afternoon, when Vibhu woke up, we roamed around the town, cannot call it a trek, but saw some beautiful scenic views. Had late lunch in a nearby restaurant. We all agreed that the homemade food we were carrying, mostly prepared by Jassu Ben and Dhara, were heavenly, as compared to the restaurant we were in.

This group was interesting in one more aspect. Everyone barring me were vegetarians, three of them were strict vegetarian. But that was a big plus, as we had a lot of snacks with us for entire journey. I never had before, so much of tasty munching on the go. To respect the vibrant group, I decided to be a vegetarian for the trip. And I can tell you, I don't regret it.

The best part of the day was yet to come. It came in the evening. The entire town, with locals and visitors were rushing towards the lake. We also became part of that rush. We noticed that people were bringing heavy jackets and blankets with them, which we were puzzled about. It was summer, we spent entire day in tees, what were blankets and heavy jackets doing at this time? We got the answer within couple of hours. As it happens in all such public events, the local police was responsibly handling the crowd, we got the parking. We came to the lake, grabbed one spot and eagerly waited for the show. Before the show started, we started feeling the heat, the chill in the air, became uncomfortable to unbearable. 

This is typical nature of a hilly town. The pleasant weather turns chilly during nights. The people carrying blankets and heavy jackets were now much more comfortable. The show started and flattered us for half-an-hour. 4th July and around this date, USA has more fireworks that we have during Diwali in India. The fireworks were flattering, but the best of the trip was yet to come.

We came back, enjoyed the bonfire inside the hotel premises, had the thepla and other delicacies, before sleep. Next morning, we woke up normally, no rush. Got ready, had breakfast, a good complimentary one. Filled up tummies led us to plan a trek, without a map, by just following the marked trails. The plan was to roam around and head back and reach Stamford, by night.

Earlier we saw a lot of scenic views around, so we were quite positive about the views, that we can get. We were roaming around, it was more fun, because of company we were in, but we were not satisfied with what we saw so far. We kept on exploring, for the view, until we found one trail, which was leading us to summit. We followed, but came to a dangerous cliff and stopped. We were exploring our options, trying to have a view without climbing the cliff. Deep down, we were not satisfied, but looking at the cliff, it looked too dangerous. Then from nowhere a young family of trekkers came, and their kids climbed and went ahead on the cliff like they were crossing just a narrow footbath. This gave us some courage, shame would be appropriate thou. Some of us were still reluctant to ascend.

Jassu Ben, who was the senior most in the group, took the lead. She was willing to go up the cliff. We courageously followed her. To our surprise, at the most dangerous place on the cliff, a strong rope was tied, which helped people pass that stretch with little ease. While ascending, the thought of coming back struck me. I knew, descending would be much tougher than ascending. Anyway, we went ahead. The courage paid off, we landed in a place, which has the most scenic view of Lake Placid, so far. The peaks of White Mountain, were visible from the one side view window, the place had. We spent some time there. We thought, this is it, this is the most beautiful place.

The astonishing view made us move ahead, to see more. We went further up, to the summit. Mesmerizing is the word. We were on the top, surrounded by several peaks of Adirondack Mountains. This was way better than we just saw from the stone above the cliff. We spent a lot of time there, soaking in the view, admiring the nature, roamed around, relaxed, had some food and drinks, which we brought with us. Vibhu bhai played some slow relaxing songs on his mobile, as we were the only group. The thought of descending the dangerous cliff was still haunting me occasionally, until we saw a pregnant lady coming from the other side of the summit. On talking to her and her friends, we came to know, there was a less steep trail on the other side. It calmed by fear of dangerous descend. I enjoyed little more after that. 

We took the easier trail, while going back, it was long route, but safer. There were slippery places but way safe than the route by which we climbed the summit. Though nature provided us the solution, we picked up some sticks and enjoyed the descend as we enjoyed the ascend. We call nature as mother nature for a reason, isn't it? 

We left the Lake Placid with great memoirs, awesome views imprinted in our memories, which was going to have lasting impression on my lives. On the way back, we kept on stopping at several view points. We stopped at a lakeside, to just relax. We were already tired of hiking, and the long drive was taking toll. 

Way back, Vibhu had another surprise plan, he planned to visit his old place in Albany. We had a grand Dinner at Maharaja Restaurant. It was a bonus of the trip, the courteous staffs and delicious food made our day. Later we went to meet some of the friends in Albany and headed back home. As planned, the highways were empty, as the return traffic was yet to come on Sunday. 

We reached quite late that day, tired yet refreshed, recharged. This trip is one of the most memorable road trips I ever had.


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