[Charles E. Page, April, 2003]
On a beautiful sunny day in mid September about 56 years ago Alberta and I were married. It took place at her parents' camp on Oneida Lake under the trees in the back yard by the lily pool. It was 9:30 AM on a Sunday morning and the minister had to hurry along to finish in time to preach his church sermon in Oneida at eleven.
After the ceremony and reception we brushed off the rice, and took off in my 1938 Ford V8 toward the Adirondacks for a short honeymoon trip. It was an exceptional day, pleasantly warm, bright and sunny, a perfect day. As we approached Old Forge the foliage had begun to turn color, and the bright leaf colors mixed with the still green ones was a beautiful sight. By the calendar it was early for the fall colors but I guess this was an unusual year. It was for us anyhow! Never since that day have the leaf colors been brighter!
I wonder why that was!
We stopped for lunch at "The Ferns" in Old Forge, at the time a rather upscale restaurant, and then continued on to the Adirondack Loj, located in the heart of the Adirondack "High Peaks Region" near Lake Placid.
I had made reservations there two or three months earlier for the small log cabin located on the lodge grounds between the main lodge and the campground. I pulled out my reservation confirmation and gave it to Mrs. Trapasso who with her husband, Joe, managed the lodge. She had a funny look on her face and then said, "I'm sorry but we must have made a mistake. The cabin is already rented and is occupied". Well, that was a good start for us! She finally offered us the "bunkhouse", another larger cabin with a dozen or so single bunks. It had a big old iron cook stove. The outhouse was about 100 feet away, over in the campground. We had running water, meaning you ran over to the campground and ran back with a bucketful. But it was nice soft, cold water piped directly from a long way up Marcy Brook
Since there was still time that afternoon, we climbed steep, little Mt. Jo for a wonderful look at Heart Lake by the lodge. Early the next morning we gathered sticks and Alberta cooked our first breakfast on the old stove. She demonstrated both her ad-lib cooking skills and her ability to cope with primitive conditions. Then, about seven AM we started up the trail to Mt. Marcy carrying only a light trail lunch.
Mt. Marcy at an elevation of about 5300 feet above sea level is not considered a real steep climb, but the 14-mile round trip was longer than we were used to. We reached the summit about noon and ate our lunch near the little stone emergency shelter while admiring the beautiful views. The surrounding mountain-peaks showed clear and close-by. Coming down we stopped to rest at Indian Falls and to take in the spectacular view of Algonquin in the McIntyre range.
"Alberta on Summit of Mt. Marcy"
Heading on down, we passed Marcy Dam, and were on the last leg of our hike, being a couple miles from the lodge. As we came over a knoll, and looked down the grade on the other side, we stopped in our tracks. A short distance away a black bear was coming toward us. He hadn't yet noticed us as he came closer, ambling slowly along poking his nose into the leaves and ground cover as he looked for tasty morsels.
We didn't really know what would be the best thing to do. The only weapon we had was my hunting knife with a blade about four inches long. I wasn't going to challenge any bear with that!
Anyway, I think we did the best thing possible under the circumstances. We stopped where we were, sat down on the ground and quietly called out such things as "Hello, old bear, how are you today. Are you finding some goodies? " He jerked to a halt and regarded us for a short time. We wondered what he would decide to do! Did he consider us a threat, or possibly dinner? All at once he wheeled and took off at amazing speed. Probably he had never seen such queer looking characters before. Hikers were not plentiful on this trail in those days. We were just as well satisfied he didn't decide to investigate us further.
We returned to our bunkhouse without further incident.We went in to Lake Placid for dinner and returning at an early hour were glad enough to drop into a bunk. We were a little crowded with both of us in a single bunk, but we didn't mind. [Imagine that!] And we got more sleep this second night than we did the first night. [Hmmm]
We continued our honeymoon the next day, spending the following night near Lake George.
It was a memorable trip but we were anxious to get home and start our new life together on the farm.