July 27, 2016
Clark in July
This was my very first hike since returning from Scotland three weeks ago, an inexcusable lapse that has lead, I am ashamed to say, to no small amount of moping on my part. I have been extremely discouraged by the horrendous heat and humidity, and compared to the cool perfection of the Scottish climate, it has seemed even more unpleasant than normal. The day we flew home there was a 40+ degree temperature differential from morning in St. Andrews to evening in Syracuse. Then, just when I promised myself I'd get out that weekend, no matter what the weather and enjoy myself (dammit!), I was dispatched to western New York for three days of invasive plant surveys. Field work means very long days, even when it's 90 degrees, so after arriving home late Friday, I was feeling more like crawling into a dark cave than heading back out into the beastly weather.
Finally, this afternoon, something inside me just snapped! We'd come home after Frankie's swim lesson and changed into dry clothes, then ate lunch. We were waffling about what to do next, and Frankie kept hinting I should take a shower and let him watch the Weather Channel. This is not something I normally (or ever!) do, but Erwin does occasionally when I'm at work. The kid is obsessed with weather, and a half hour of television certainly isn't the end of the world. However, in my world, watching tv is not something you plan a day around. So I pitched a minor fit (not my finest moment), then filled some water bottles and off we went. It was too late in the day to go anywhere far, but we hadn't been to Clark Reservation in a while, and with the drought this summer, I figured the mosquitoes would be manageable.
I told Frankie we would go down to the lake and he could throw rocks, and that is what we did. We both started out in long pants, but were able to convert them into shorts once we confirmed the lack of bugs. I let him select the route, and he decided he wanted to go down the stairs, then west along the shore, then up the hill, and finally return via the Cliff Trail. Erwin had been at the doctors when we left, but came and joined us when he was through; we were still by the water. Frankie can throw rocks in the water and bathe sticks and such for a very long time, and I was happy to chill in the shade and let him devise and implement various strange projects. It was getting toward dinner time when Erwin tried to convince Frankie we should take the shortest way back, which would mean re-tracing our steps. My little guy stuck to his guns and insisted we take the Cliff Trail back, as he'd planned -- he wanted to do some scrambling. I definitely need to get this kid back in the mountains!