By Nathan Landis
Thanksgiving–for many of us that word immediately conjures up images of a laden table surrounded by family, laughing, talking and enjoying one another’s company. This past Thanksgiving however, Alex (ADK summer staff ’13-’14) and I (summer staff ’12-’14) found ourselves in a unique position–our families either live overseas or far from the Massachusetts coast. Sensing the chance for adventure, we asked Nate if we could spend the long holiday weekend staying at the ADK Base Camp. With his okay we were on our way. Our trip itinerary originally called for us to climb 13 High Peaks (over 4,000ft) and spend four days hiking through the Park; however, as any seasoned Sherpa knows, plans are everything….and plans mean nothing.
A faulty weather report and sense that we both were looking for a more relaxing weekend landed us back at Base Camp after just one snowy, cold night camped at Lake Colden in the High Peaks Region.
The remainder of the weekend included a stop at the Lake Placid Pub, a tour through the “closed” Olympic Ice Arena (site of the “Miracle on Ice”), a day hike up Mt. Van Hoevenburg (just over 2,000ft) and evenings spent playing scrabble, eating Trader Joe’s instant Indian food and drinking green tea around the roaring wood stove in the staff lounge.
One afternoon included a special edition of “Sherpas tackle the low-ropes course…in snowshoes.” We didn’t finish the wall.
As past staff will know, Nate closes the Base Camp up for the winter months, which meant we had to get a bit creative at times. The bathroom at the local Stewart’s gas station became an essential stop each day as we headed out; likewise, free water from the local McDonald’s soda fountain kept coffee mugs and Nalgene bottles full.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend and Alex and I felt so blessed by La Vida’s generosity in allowing us to make Base Camp home for the weekend. Although it was beautiful to see the property in the snow, Alex and I both commented on how empty and out-of-character the property seemed to us without the hum of conversation in the lounge, the clatter of meal-prep in the kitchen and the excitement of doing ministry that each summer brings.
Nathan Landis is a senior at Gordon College studying history. He has served at the Base Camp for 3 full summers and will be returning as our property manager this summer. He is also one of our LEAP interns this year, a Discovery TA, and Adventure Pursuits facilitator.
Alex Bostian is a senior as well studying political science. He has spent 2 full summers at Base Camp serving as a sherpa and will be leading a May Expedition this spring. He has also worked as a Discovery TA and Adventure Pursuits facilitator.