Posted December 18, 2019 – Narrated by Carmen
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Self-kindled every atom glows,

  And hints the future which it owes.

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson,Nature

My favorite mountain range is always the last one I met. I’m a sucker for gushing streams, pine scented paths and sparkling ponds.

Our Autumn encounter with the Adirondacks had much to do with luck and timing, but these hills greeted us with such sweetness and purity it was like going home to mama.

We immediately sank into the bosom of America’s First Wilderness, the natura naturans of colonial culture and the ancestral home of countless generations of Haudenosaunee and Abenaki people.


The invigorating mountain air released both my inner Pocahontas and Snow White – and I was slain in the Disney spirit to attempt communication with woodpeckers and squirrels.

Yep, I pranced through the woods trying to chat it up with the residents but, man they’re fast. Mostly I just bumped my head on branches and tripped over roots.

Paddling in a technicolor wonderland.

Some followers ask us why we’re not on YouTube. I tell them because I don’t want to die. Videography would put me in Grizzly Man Heaven before my time.

I can write this blog today only because in my youth video cameras were too heavy, fragile and expensive. If I were young I’d probably shoot a scene where … in dawn’s light I perch upon a cliff gazing rapturously (for no reason whatsoever) into a tempestuous sea, my voluminous gauzy gown billowing wildly upon the wind, a trusty falcon ready upon my gloved hand …

Thank God I found Jung and lived long enough to learn that a comfortable chair on a nice porch with a growler of good brew is plenty thrilling – but nobody needs to see video of that.

Lake Placid Brewing

So, back to the Adirondacks.

Absolutely fantastic.

The campground road.

Those leaves we’d been stalking for over a month finally made an appearance in North Country. We arrived for the last few days of peak color in mid-October.


We pulled into Fish Creek Pond Campground on a Sunday afternoon without a reservation.


The park was already closing down for the season, one section at a time. The ranger at the drive-in station handed us a list of about twenty available sites where we could reserve for a full week. With no one in line behind us we took our sweet time making a choice.

Our home across the pond.

We found the ideal site. There was enough clearance overhead to allow our batteries to charge. It also had a place to launch our kayaks and a strong enough cell signal. Choices are nice.


The entire campground was soaked through from a recent storm, but fair weather was predicted. We had a week of perfectly dreamy weather with temperatures as high as 70’s during peak daylight hours and no colder than the mid-40’s at night.


And, we witnessed fall color the likes of which we’d never seen before.

If ever we wished we had a drone…

Eye candy from here to Canada.
Lake Placid on a perfect day – View from Whiteface Mountain

Solitude graced the experience.

We had Fish Creek Pond Campground almost entirely to ourselves. The vacation cottages were abandoned for the season – kinda spooky. I wonder why ghost towns make me feel like a peeping tom?


The day we arrived the ranger told us that all the leaves would be on the ground by weekend. Not a moment to waste. The trees had work to do.

Dying increases life. If I plunge into death encompassing the world, then my buds break open. How much our life needs death! ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 275.

Mournful loon song echoed across the pond, and other than the crunch of dry leaves beneath the soles of our boots, we heard no other competing sounds.

Our senses caught a glassy wave.

Our minds cleared.

We discovered that the real enchantment of Autumn is not so much the spectacular colors, but the companionship of trees. If we had stayed longer we would have given them names. Were they choosing names for us?

If you go in quest you will find yourself again in the simple and forgotten things. Why not go into the forest for a time, literally? Sometimes a tree tells you more than can be read in books… ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 479.

For hours we walked around the ponds… talking.

Talking transitioned into reminiscing about our life’s greatest joys, regrets, failures, blessings, burdens, sorrows, ambitions …


I am a fanciful person, but I cannot dismiss the sensation that the trees were acknowledging our conversation.

Flourishes of empathy, sympathy and laughter seemed to arise on cue as we progressed along the road in this mesmerizing ticker-tape celebration for the onset of our golden years.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Fall came late.

Winter came early.

Then, suddenly, the crisp night air invited us to leave. Next morning – first day of bow-hunting season – we pulled out. Two days later we heard that the campground was under snow.


Yes, it was quite a show, watching the trees light up and shed themselves bare.

The little dog was delighted – couldn’t get enough of it – everything up there coming down here to his level.

All was right with the world.


Even now, though we’re three thousand miles away, the sense memories abide.


We can feel the pond’s stillness …


and see the rosy sunsets beside the fire …


and smell the earthy fragrance of our woodland sanctuary.


Yet, from the beginning, it felt like a dream.

We have no idea when or if we will ever be able to return to the Adirondacks …

So, please, if you’re ever there, give the mountains our love and pass on the message that we’re fine and that we miss the trees and my apologies for startling the critters.

Thank you.


If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.

In the comments section below, we’d love to hear about your fall foliage experience.

28 thoughts on “Adirondacks!

    1. Hey Bill!!! Yes, we feel like we ran a marathon to get there to see the color and then the trip back south was another marathon. But, the entire trip – every moment – was spectacular. It’s nice to back in San Diego though. We’re both exhausted and have so much work to do on the rig – we really thrashed it. We’re also doing some self-care. Evidently, I need braces (of all things) and Jim could use another (steroid) shot in the arm.

      We hope your holiday season is fabulous. Update us anytime. We’re chilling. I’m grounded until my dentist gives us the go-ahead.

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen & Jim

  1. That was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey through the Adirondacks with living in beauty. Listening to that on my couch in Golden Hill, San Diego, was quite relaxing. Looking forward to the next chapter. Have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New year 🎉

    1. Thank you, Teresa. It’s so wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for being with us on this journey. How lovely that we are also neighbors for the next few weeks. Thank you for the Christmas wishes and best to you for the holidays. xoxo


    1. Thank you, Brenda. It helps when I don’t throw the iPhone in the water. Honestly, in that environment – in that seasonal condition – it would be impossible to take a bad photo. We were blessed by the elements.

      Thank you for being with us and safe and happy travels.



  2. I really enjoyed your post. I have always passed by the Adirondacks wishing I had more time to take my Airstream up and explore. It seems I’m always on my way somewhere further east and just don’t make the time for a visit. Fish Creek has been on my list and it is fascinating how early the peak occurs and the season ends. As with all your entries, I thoroughly enjoy seeing the world through your eyes. Safe and happy travels to you both.

    1. Hey Doug! Sounds like you know the east. Next time we make a pilgrimage we should consult with you. Primarily, our trip to the north-east was to see Fall color. We did the usual research but really had no idea when or where we would encounter peak season or whether we’d hit it in an urban, suburban or rural environment. We just kept moving and trying to see all we could during that limited window of opportunity. The adventure was in visiting places we never thought we’d see and discovering places we had no knowledge of. Fish Creek was one of those obscure places. Campgrounds everywhere were closing but we didn’t want to leave because we could see the leaves were peaking. We hadn’t planned to be at Fish Creek, but they just happened to be one of the only campgrounds that wasn’t completely closed. Thank goodness and the State Park system that we discovered The Raquet River area! It’s just a gorgeous “kayaking forever” sort of place that we’d like to explore more fully. A mere week really didn’t do it justice.

      Thank you for being with us Doug. Best to you during the holiday season.

      Safe and Happy Travels!


    1. Thank you, Amy! Scenery like that makes us feel like pros. Nature is so inspiring.

      We are so lucky to have you with us. Please have a lovely holiday season.

      Safe and Happy Travels!


    1. Hey Rick! We were there in mid-October.

      Thank you for being with us. Have a wonderful holiday season!

      Safe and Happy Travels,


  3. The Adirondacks are our home base. We’re glad to see to you enjoyed your time there.
    Your blog is a delight, don’t stop!

    1. Hey Damian! Wow … you are doing it right! We’re giving some thought to making the Adirondacks our fair-weather sanctuary. The kayaking is my cup of tea because – at least during our short experience – it was like kayaking in a cup of tea. Ponds are a new discovery for us. I am now, officially, a pond enthusiast.

      Have a wonderful holiday, and Safe and Happy Travels!


    1. Hey Dean, yes it is. If I could bear the cold I would be there right now to see it turn to ice.

      Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and Safe and Happy Travels!


  4. You know, we got a little lucky with our fall foliage timing in North Carolina, but the colors you experienced were so much more vibrant and impressive. What a perfect experience of Fall in the northeast. Your photographs are outstanding! I felt like I was crunching along the hiking trails and gliding along the rivers right next to you. Your ability to turn a simple walk in the woods into something so compelling is remarkable. You guys have an incredible talent for truly capturing a place or experience.

    1. Hey Laura! It was really something to see. I can’t think of a bad place to view Fall Color – I love all of it – but I can definitely recommend trying upstate NY for a dazzling display. The first place we experienced the spectacle was in the Cherokees where my sister lives, near the Cherohala Skyway, but this year just wasn’t prime for that region. Where did you camp? There isn’t much in that area for a rig your size. Did you stay at Indian Boundary? It usually closes before Thanksgiving. NPS is actively discouraging camping on that side of the Smokies. They’re afraid it will turn into Pigeon Forge. So cell signals are weak, and dump stations are almost nonexistent. Sadly, the NPS policy is hurting the economy and even driving some of the long-term residents out. Still, we love that area and know of some amazing secret camp sites if you have a rig small enough (we don’t) for $15 a night – and some of the views rival King’s Canyon in Yosemite.

      As you know, we’re big fans of your blog. Give Thor a hug for me.


      Carmen & Jim

      1. Hey, we were at a commercial campground in Cherokee, North Carolina, just south of the main southern entrance to the park. We just stayed at the same place some other folks we know had stayed at. I don’t think I even really looked into more natural campgrounds, though I’m sure, if we could have fit, we would have liked them more than the campground we stayed at. Sometimes the simplicity of just doing what others have done wins out. (In other words, I’m lazy.) 🙂

        1. Hey Laura, we usually park in my sister’s driveway when we’re in the Cherokees. I love it there. So many beautiful day-trips into NC and Georgia. One of the volunteers at the Ocoee River Visitor’s Center said the camping in Georgia is better than TN or NC. Maybe next time we will drive around and do some research on that.

          Have a wonderful full-timer holiday and we look forward to maybe meeting you on the road in 2020. I like that … 20-20. Perfect vision. Clarity. The fog clears … May the New Year give you all that and more as you consider your transition back into (well, no, you never really go back after that long on the road) conventional life.

          Thank you for being such an inspiration to us. Let’s meet!



  5. Wow, the photos look amazingly surreal! It’s something like out of a movie! These springs are truly magnificent and the scenery is breath-taking as always! I would surely love to travel there with my wife and kids!

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