Going Back #tbt

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Greetings friends,

Today I am tossing it back about three years to August 2012. We spent sometime this particular year in Lake Placid and fell in love with the area. New to us was the Adirondack high peaks. On this particular day we drove the “Whiteface Memorial Highway” to the parking lot near the top and then hiked the remaining distance to the summit.

However in two weeks our family will return to Lake Placid and the high peaks area. My son Michael and I will be attempting to hike Whiteface this time around in hopes of completing our first of the 46 high peaks.

Cheers!

Standing a top Whiteface Mountain in the high peaks of New York's Adirondack Park in August of 2012.

Standing a top Whiteface Mountain in the high peaks of New York’s Adirondack Park in August of 2012.

View looking north from the top of Whiteface Mountain in the high peaks of New York's Adirondack Park August of 2012.

View looking north from the top of Whiteface Mountain in the high peaks of New York’s Adirondack Park August of 2012.

Under Tall Pines

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Sitting beneath a canopy of tall pines, light sabers of sunlight pierce the lush greens highlighting several different shades. A light breeze hand delivers the romantic smell of campfires while two young boys chatter away in their tent. Our overnight camping trip in Lake George has begun.

King Phillips campground Lake George, NY. Image @ Joe Geronimo

King Phillips campground Lake George, NY.
Image @ Joe Geronimo

Michael and Max are eager for a dip in the campground pool after our drive. I tag along to police the activities and enjoy the time with my boys. Cannonballing themselves into a hunger we find ourselves back at the campsite for a quick change and into the Village of Lake George for some dinner, ice cream and time along the lake.

Pool Time! Image © Joe Geronimo

Pool Time!
Image © Joe Geronimo

Michael eating ice cream and chatting with his mom. Image © Joe Geronimo

Michael eating ice cream and chatting with his mom.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Minnie Ha Ha

The Minnie Ha Ha departs on a sunset cruise. Image © Joe Geronimo

As the sun begins to set on our day and the luring excitement of a campfire, Jiffy Pop, roasting marshmallows and sitting under the stars takes hold we return to the comfort of a fire at our campsite. I am pretty good at most things, however cooking Jiffy Pop is not one of them. After I charred the Jiffy Pop beyond all recognition we decided to stick with only the marshmallows. Is there a You Tube video for Jiffy Pop!

The fire is started! Image © Joe Geronimo

The fire is started!
Image © Joe Geronimo

Night has fallen, we’re all tucked into our tents, the weather perfect for sleeping, the campground slowly grows silent and just like that sleep is upon us.

I begin to stir, its 7:15am, Michael is still sound asleep and Max well he’s Max who has been awake for at least an hour now. Shortly after Max and I hear a beastly roar from behind the walls of nylon as Michael emerges from his lair. After a quick shower we break camp, head for breakfast at one of the only remaining Howard Johnson’s left in the United States. With our day now fueled with french toast, waffles, home fries, bacon and ham we set our sights on a short 40 mile drive to the small Adirondack Village of Olmsteadville, NY where you’ll find Hornbeck Boats nestled on over 100 acres. Dubbed “The lightest boats in the Woods, it is here where I will be picking up my brand new Hornbeck “New Tricks” 12  15 pound carbon/kevlar mid profile canoe, (Boat #838). I cannot tell you how excited I really am!

Owner Pete Hornbeck gives me a tour of the shop complex.  Image © Joe Geronimo

Owner Pete Hornbeck gives me a tour of the shop complex.
Image © Joe Geronimo

 

 

On the right is a Hornbeck "Classic 12" and on the left is the mold. Image © Joe Geronimo

On the right is a Hornbeck “Classic 12″ and on the left is the mold.
Image © Joe Geronimo

On the right is my new boat just before I was fitted for the foot brace installment. On the left is another boat mold. Image © Joe Geronimo

On the right is my new boat just before I was fitted for the foot brace installment. On the left is another boat mold.
Image © Joe Geronimo

After spending about 2 hours visiting with Pete and the Hornbeck staff the boys and I were on our way back to North Creek, NY for some lunch. Two weeks ago I was in North Creek and stumbled on this small delicious gem called Izzy’s Market & Deli and I wanted to share this with them. It got the two thumbs up review and we have to bring Mom here!

Michael & Max after lunch.. Image © Joe Geronimo

Michael & Max after lunch..
Image © Joe Geronimo

After lunch we took a short ride along the Hudson so I could show the boys how awesome the rapids were. The rapids were intense, amplified by all the recent rains. You could see the boys eyes grow wide with excitement and almost instantly they proposed how they wanted to go whitewater rafting next time. I gave a nod of assurance that we would as we climbed back into our car for the journey home.

Getting ready to head for home! Image © Joe Geronimo

Getting ready to head for home!
Image © Joe Geronimo

Our trip may have been short on time but it was definitely long on memories. I had the opportunity to spend some wonderful time with two amazing guys. In two short weeks our family will be back in Lake George as we begin our summer vacation.

Cheers!

Vermont #TBT

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Michael & Max on Hall's Lake, I mean Pond on August 26th 2010. Image © Joe Geronimo

Michael & Max on Hall’s Lake, I mean Pond on August 26th 2010.
Image © Joe Geronimo

The year was 2007, and it was our first “Official” vacation as a family in which we didn’t visit family. As a child I grew up going on vacation to New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Lakes Region and fell in love with those areas at an early age.

I had hoped by taking my family to New Hampshire, they might feel the same way I do about it. Our trip was thus planned for a week of relaxation on glorious Lake Winnipesaukee. We left our home here in New York the day after school finished for the summer, with a two-day stop-over in West Newbury, VT, to visit with friends. Michael & Max, who both share a love of water, were extremely excited about prospects of swimming in Lake Winnipesaukee but also had a keen interest in a small, obscure swimming hole near Newbury called Hall’s Lake or in New England most everything is referred to as a “Pond”.

Over the years of their short lives they had heard all the stories of summer fun on Hall’s Lake. Tales of fishing, swimming, girl chasing and star gazing from my friend Ian, whose family has a cottage there. Shortly after our arrival in West Newbury, the boys were begging to head over to the lake, and this is where we fell in love with Vermont.

We now return every summer as kind of a guys getaway where we get to bond as father and sons, and swim, fish, gaze at the stars and tell more stories. Maybe Michael will even girl chase this year!

Cheers!

The On Going Battle in the Adirondack’s

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Adirondack Scenic Railroad Otter Lake, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Adirondack Scenic Railroad Otter Lake, NY.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Last week, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a proposal that could bring big changes to the region and potentially enhance both recreational and tourist opportunities between Adirondack communities.

The proposal concerns the Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor, a 119-mile strip that winds from the southwest corner of the Adirondack Park to the northeast corner. The corridor was originally home to a railroad that was built in the 1890s to bring wealthy families to their seasonal Adirondack estates, but parts of the line began falling into disrepair in the mid-1900s. By 1975, the line had been completely abandoned, and was taken over by New York State.

In 1992, a 4-mile stretch of the track opened from Thendara to Minnehaha, and it was so well-received that it was taken over by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in 1994. After overseeing the repair of additional portions of railway, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad began operating rail service in two sections, as it still does today: between Big Moose and Remsen and between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. Unfortunately, the middle section of the rail line from Big Moose to Saranac Lake is still in a state of disrepair.
The combined proposal from the DEC and DOT is an effort to compromise between those who are in support of further railway restoration and those who would like to see the tracks ripped up in favor of a multi-use recreational trail. The proposed changes were described on the DEC’s website as follows:
  • Removing the rail infrastructure within the Corridor between the Village of Tupper Lake and the Village of Lake Placid and establishing a multiple-use recreational trail
  • Maintaining the existing rail infrastructure and enhancing train service between the village of Remsen and the Big Moose Station
  • Rehabilitating the rail infrastructure between the Big Moose Station and the Village of Tupper Lake to allow passenger train service to be restored for a contiguous 85 miles
  • Developing a community connector snowmobile system both within and outside of the Corridor, which will attract additional snowmobilers to the Adirondacks and Adirondack communities.
In total, the proposal will cost approximately $20 million to carry out, with $11 million going toward rail rehabilitation and another $8-10 million required for ripping up the tracks and converting the 34-mile section into a recreational trail, according to the Associated Press.
The Times Union reports that Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald “said the rail extension would ‘provide train passengers an opportunity to view parts of the Adirondacks very few have seen,” which could bring more tourist dollars to the Adirondacks. The region would also presumably see an economic benefit from more widespread recreational opportunities in the corridor all year round, including hiking, biking, nordic skiing, and snowmobiling.
Interested in learning more about the proposed changes or want to make your opinion known? A public hearing will be held in the Tupper Lake Middle-High School auditorium on Wednesday, July 8 at 7:00 pm, and all are welcome to attend.

 

This has battle has been going on for years now and I am literally torn on the issue. Part of me wants to see the rail line intact all the way to Lake Placid. This rail line traverses some of the most beautiful scenery in the Adirondack Park. However another part of me likes the idea of a multi use trail giving other opportunities to see this wonder. In a perfect world a multi-use trail right beside the railroad would be the perfect compromise. No matter the final outcome of this I look forward to exploring this remote section of the Adirondacks.

http://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/rail-trail-or-both

http://www.adirondackexplorer.org/search-results?cx=013059154616239745149%3Apuni5ad9rhe+&ie=UTF-8&q=rail+trail&sa=Search

The above link you can find most articles related to this issue archived through the Adirondack Explorer.

 

Sources:
  • DEC: DEC & DOT Issue Proposed Amendment to the Management Plan for the Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor
  • ABC News (AP): NY Plans Tourist Train Upgrade and New Trail in Adirondacks
  • The Times Union: Adirondack rail line survives, but shrinks, in state trail plan
  • Adirondack Scenic Railroad: History

Throwing it back to 2010 #TBT

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The Green Mountain Flyer makes its way along the Connecticut River just north of White River Jct. Vermont in August of 2010. Image © Joe Geronimo

The Green Mountain Flyer makes its way along the Connecticut River just north of White River Jct. Vermont in August of 2010.
Image © Joe Geronimo

My sons Michale & Max ride the Green Mountain Flyer in August of 2010. Image © Joe Geronimo

My sons Michale & Max ride the Green Mountain Flyer in August of 2010.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Testing the Waters

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The south end of Lake George looking north.  Image © Joe Geronimo

The south end of Lake George looking north.
Image © Joe Geronimo

The sun shined, rain poured, thunder roared, lightning flashed and the sun shined is a very good narrative to my day in the Adirondack’s yesterday.

A quick nap after work coupled with the excitement of test paddling some very light weight pack canoe’s was all the fuel I needed for a long day. I made really good time, reaching Lake George in just under three hours. A short bathroom break, a stretch of the legs and the remaining 40 miles to Hornbeck Boats in Olmstedville, NY. Pulling into the driveway I noticed the Hornbeck staff gathered around a table beneath a large tree conversing and eating lunch. I extended my apologies for interrupting them however they were very gracious and welcoming. Shortly after introductions I was lead down a dirt road to a rather large pond. It is here where I was to test paddle two particular boats I have been drooling over for quite a while now. The first was the “Classic 12″ which is 12 feet in length, 28.25″ wide and weighs all of 18 lbs. due to its kevlar layup. Next up was the canoe I had REALLY wanted to paddle the “New Tricks 12″. At 12 feet long, 24.5″ wide and a whopping 15lbs she was a joy to pick up and carry. A mix of carbon fiber and kevlar this boat was just awesome! Tracked like the arrow of a hunter, its primary stability excellent but where it really shined was in secondary stability. Heck, I was able to lean this baby until the gunwales touched the water never once feeling like I would swamp the boat. She was smooth as silk through the water, graceful responding to my every demand. I was in love…

After asking what seemed like an endless freight train of questions I left Hornbeck smiling and elated that the experience had gone just as I had hoped. Now with several hours to kill before my next test paddle it was time for some lunch.

Horseback Boats "Classic 12" Kevlar Layup.

Hornbeck Boats “Classic 12″ in Kevlar Layup.

Horseback Boats "New Tricks 12" Carbon Fiber Layup

Hornbeck Boats “New Tricks 12″ in Carbon Fiber/Kevlar Layup.

With my stomach growling as loud as the Hudson River rapids in the distance I’m found myself searching for a place to eat in North Creek, NY. Perusing the Village’s Main Street my eyes caught a glimpse of Izzy’s Market & Deli. If ever there were a salesman the gentleman sitting on the front porch reading the newspaper and having lunch this had to be the place. Stepping inside Izzy’s is inviting, greeted bya friendly staff, there is plenty of room to sit, eat, read and chat. A large an inviting menu written in chalk hung on the wall. The sandwiches had names like Engineer, Boxcar, Conductor and Train Wreck. Ok I’m an engineer and there seems to be a railroad theme going on here so I went a little Crazy Train and decided on the “Train Wreck”.  Layered with ham, salami, roast beef, provolone, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, sliced red onion, lettuce and oil & vinegar only to be compliment with fresh sour dough bread. I splurged a bit more adding a very delicious homemade cranberry/orange scone. I chose wisely!

Now your probably wondering about the railroad theme. North Creek sits on the former Delaware and Hudson line that branches off its main line in Saratoga Springs, NY. No longer part of the Delaware & Hudson Railway or its subsidiary Canadian Pacific this scenic line is now the tourist operation of the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad and it is also their northern terminus. Sitting in the cafe enjoying my lunch I couldn’t help to reminisce my test experience in the “New Tricks” canoe just shortly before. I was left pondering what the next one had in store for me.

"Train Wreck" Ham, Salami, Roast Beef, Provolone, Banana Peppers, Roasted Red Peppers, Sliced Red Onion, Lettuce and Oil & Vinegar on fresh sour dough bread. Cranberry/Orange Scone.

“Train Wreck” Ham, Salami, Roast Beef, Provolone, Banana Peppers, Roasted Red Peppers, Sliced Red Onion, Lettuce and Oil & Vinegar on fresh sour dough bread. Cranberry/Orange Scone.

Still with more time to kill I decided to make my way the 18 miles from North Creek to Indian Lake to check the scenery out. About a mile out of North Creek route 28 parallels the Hudson river which has many pull offs to take in the views. In the distance my ears are treated to the rumblings of an approaching storm. The sky turning to darkness, large drops of water pelting my windshield and a ferocious deluge of water rains down from the heavens. I thought for a brief moment maybe an Arc would be a better choice. Peering through my windshield and out over the Hudson I can see several whitewater rafters making their way to the next set of rapids most likely already drenched. Brave the elements and grabbing a quick picture of the small convoy. The downpour didn’t seem to phase them as one boat saluted me with their bright yellow paddles.

Whitewater rafters on the Hudson at North River, NY.

Whitewater rafters on the Hudson at North River, NY.

In the safe shelter of my car I continue onward and the rain literally coming down in buckets that I can barely see. My car feels more like a hydroplane than an automobile. Into Indian Lake and the rain is still driving I decided to pull over at the bottom of the lake and settle in for the show. Heavy rain, roaring thunder pierced by bright flashes of light made this show something I have not witnessed in a long time.

About an hour had gone by and the rain had let up and the skies began to brighten I needed to get headed back. My next test paddle was rapidly approaching.

Now I was in Minerva, NY for scheduled 4:30PM appointment with the Adirondack Canoe Company. A new and small venture by two gentlemen who had worked at Hornbeck Boats for many years. I was here to test paddle their “Skylight”. A 12 foot carbon/kevlar layup pack canoe with a width of 28.5″ and tipping the scales at 20 lbs. Shortly after arriving I was greeted by Chad who was one of the owners. After some brief introductions and a tour of the shop Chad loaded a demo boat onto his car and we made the short drive to Donnelly lake. Boat unloaded, some more chit chat and I was on the water. Puffy white clouds above and the warm sun was painting the lake. I was in my element and enjoying this boat. This piece of Adirondack tradition tracked exceptionally well. To be honest not as well as the “New Tricks” but it was a pleasure to paddle. With its amazing secondary stability I again was able to lean it to the gunwales without the fear of swamping this boat. I was impressed again.

Adirondack Canoe Company "Skylight 12" Kevlar layup.

Adirondack Canoe Company “Skylight 12″ Kevlar layup.

After my paddle I spoke with Chad at length again asking a multitude of questions before we shook hands and parted ways. Chad did make sure I found my way back to the North Way. Entering the highway I glanced down on my watch, the hands at 6 O’clock, two hundred forty miles until home and I was left with many things to think about.

NOTE: With respect to both these amazing boat builders I did not take any images of my own in order to preserve individuality of their designs. These images here are readily available on the internet.

 

Cheers!

http://www.adirondackcanoecompany.com

http://www.hornbeckboats.com

https://www.sncrr.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Izzys-Market-Deli/285096208226172

 

 

Coffee O’Clock

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My morning coffee on Long Pond. © Joe Geronimo

My morning coffee on Long Pond.
© Joe Geronimo

Awakened by the aroma of freshly brewing coffee, its 4AM and I stumble my way downstairs. I reach for the coffee pot and pour myself a cup, taking a few sips, ahhhhh! I fill my waiting thermos like the belly of a dragon, slinging my camera bag over my shoulder, reaching for my car keys and out the door I go.

Shrouded in heavy fog I arrive forty five minutes later at Long Pond. Its quiet today compared to Friday morning. A few bullfrogs murmur and in the distance I can hear a Pileated Woodpecker attempting his breakfast. The water is smooth as glass, the silence becomes deafening only to be disturbed by what sounds like the pitter patter of little feet across a hard wood floor. Dew dripping from the many low hanging trees ripple the pond’s placid water.  I paddle my way along the shoreline littered with lily pads.

Slowly I enter a few bogs looking for signs of life. All is quiet on the western front. I meander for a bit only to be startled by a beaver who has surfaced next to my kayak. He retreats and I’m in pursuit. Cautiously I paddle finding his lodge which he is now proudly protecting. We court one another and I give him some distance. He again retreats and I stand my ground, floating patiently waiting for his return. I pour a cup of coffee for the long haul, shortly after he reappears, THWACK! He then disappears into the fog only to repeat his actions again and again. I begin to wonder, is he angry or is he playing? This display would continue over the next forty five minutes. My camera’s motor drive echoing the haunted sound of a gatling gun at war.

Mr. Beaver @ Long Pond © Joe Geronimo

Mr. Beaver @ Long Pond
© Joe Geronimo

MR. Beaver @ Long Pond © Joe Geronimo

MR. Beaver @ Long Pond THWACK!
© Joe Geronimo

Beaver Long Pond_03SB

Mr. Beaver on Patrol @ Long Pond © Joe Geronimo

Continuing my journey back up the pond and still covered in a heavy fog I notice a lone fisherman in a canoe. As I get closer a friendly voice greets me “Good Morning” I reply in kind. We paddle towards one another and strike up a friendly conversation. Don is from Ithaca and he enjoys the fishing on Long Pond. He has also paddled the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, the entire length of the Susquehanna, amongst other places. Don casts his line. Almost immediately he gets a hit. I back my boat away to give him room to reel in this catch, camera at the ready. Don had caught a Chain Pickerel. This was his third of the morning and he had only been on the water twenty minutes. I ask Don for his email address so I can send him a photo, he agrees. After a few more minutes we part ways and I shortly after am loading my kayak back onto my car, thus far ending another episode at Long Pond.

A Lone Fisherman (Don) on Long Pond © Joe Geronimo

A Lone Fisherman (Don) on Long Pond
© Joe Geronimo

Don nabs a Chain Pickerel on Long Pond © Joe Geronimo

Don nabs a Chain Pickerel on Long Pond
© Joe Geronimo

This Mornings Chorus

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Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Arriving Long Pond State Forest shortly before 5AM and stepping out of my car into a witch’s brew of fog and mist I was greeted by a melodic symphony unlike any I have ever heard before. The sound was so rhythmic and so soothing that I had to pause and pause I did.

The wildlife was in rare form on this placid pond nestled just outside of the small village of Smithville Flats. The harmony of vast tones sung by a variety of birds had the forest alive, the who’s who of owls on backup vocals, the Pileated Woodpecker providing percussion and filling out the baritone section was the charge of many a bullfrog.

Unpaused now and launching my kayak, I slowly threaded my way out into the darkness only to be spooked by a rather large beaver rising from the depths and then rapidly disappearing. Several fish as well made their way over to greet me wondering who was coming to visit. Off in the distance the amber glow of a Coleman lantern barely able to pierce the fog as soft voices of campers could be heard against the stillness.

Continuing my slow paddle I made my way to the opposite end of the pond all the while my mind had been conjuring up romantic thoughts of exploring this beautiful world. In the background the symphony was still going strong as Mr. Bald Eagle had finally strutted on stage, his screeches echoing off the hillsides for the encore.

With the sun now poking its head over the treetops, pockets of fog and mist vanishing, the sky above painted and the greens of spring along the shoreline popping, Long Pond was alive.

Mr. Bald Eagle thought it was fun to taunt me, moving from perch to perch in his attempt at breakfast. He however did provide ample photographic opportunities but this fellow left the house without “Big Glass” this morning. None the less I was determined and pursued Mr. Eagle.

Returning to my launch site I came upon two fisherman preparing their small boat, a brief conversation was struck and we went our separate ways. Loading my kayak onto the car and gazing back out over the pond the fog and mist had vanished. Just as quickly had the fog and mist vanished, this mornings beautiful chorus was fading into the distance like that of a steam engine’s whistle making its way towards another town.

With Long Pond now in the rear view mirror and the open road ahead I thought to myself how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place.

Time for my coffee, cheers!

http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/8180.html

Sunrise Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Sunrise Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Mr. Bald Eagle taunting me. Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Mr. Bald Eagle taunting me. Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Reevaluation of Life

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Over the past six months I’ve been doing some real soul-searching pertaining to my life and what I want. My soul-searching began not long after finishing the New York City Marathon. I realized all these things I had been drawn into was truly taking me away from my ultimate passion, my family. The very people who have unconditionally loved me, supported me and most of all missed me.

Over the course of this reevaluation I realized that my passion for cycling pretty much wasn’t there anymore. I began to feel it was a major time suck. I also realized that my passion for running was growing two-fold. It was simple, no expensive gear, just a pair of running shoes, shorts and a shirt. I had visions of triathlon’s but who was I kidding. I’ve never really been a swimmer and quite honestly I don’t want to be. At points I felt like I was forcing myself to be something I truly wasn’t.

All of these things have really removed me from my family so to speak. My family has no interest in cycling, running or swimming. However we do share some common passions that were staring me right in the face. We all really enjoy getting out hiking, kayaking and canoeing. My boys who are now thirteen and sixteen really enjoy this and I well, I love to canoe. As a mater of fact my sons and I are planning a 2016 canoe/camping trip along a beautiful section of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. This summer our family will visit Lake George and Lake Placid to canoe, kayak, hike and spend time in a beautiful place. Michael and I will hike our first high peak together.

I truly miss spending time with my wife. We’ve always had a wonderful relationship and have always enjoyed being together. We want to do more traveling together. Nothing exotic, just time spent seeing new places whether right here in our own State or some place else in America. She has always wanted to visit Charleston, South Carolina. In July just the two of us will be flying there to take in the sights, enjoy the food but most importantly spend time together without our referee shirts and red cards.

So with that said I will be hanging up my swim trunks and deflating my bike tires. I will embrace my paddling, whether being by myself on a remote Adirondack pond or paddling with my family on the many beautiful lakes so close to where we live. I will continue to embrace and develop my passion for running but most of all I will make every attempt to nurture my relationship even more with three of the most beautiful human beings.

Cheers!

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