The Plan of Return

Last October, I journeyed to the Boreas Ponds, the newly-opened parcel in the Adirondack Mountains.  It was an emotional adventure for me, as it involved a five-mile hike to and from the Ponds itself.

I promised myself I would return some day and take more pictures at that peaceful, serene location.

Then life interfered.  A broken foot.  Surgery.  Recuperation.  And just when I was physically able to contemplate the journey … well, I had another break in April, the end of an eight and a half year long co-dependent relationship.  And I had to recover emotionally from that.

Through all those moments, I kept looking at the Department of Environmental Conservation reports as to when access to the Boreas Ponds would reopen to the public.  First, I had to deal with the long winter, which effectively closed down access to Gulf Brook Road, the only car-accessible road to the Ponds – well, the only car-accessible road that would turn an eight-mile walk into a five-mile walk.

And even when the snow finally melted, I had to wait another month – apparently the High Peaks area has a fifth climate season, “Mud Season,” for which cars are not allowed on the dirt roads lest they get stuck in the mud.  And fair warning – AAA does not send tow trucks up to old Adirondack dirt roads.  You get stuck, you’re stuck for a long, long time, bucko.

This is also why I’ve been obsessively planning this trip for months.  I purchased good, durable hiking boots from L.L. Bean, along with various travel essentials.  I stockpiled a backpack with camera equipment, food supplies and a first aid kit.  I downloaded maps and charts on my BlackBerry PRIV to guarantee that the photos i take in the Boreas Ponds in 2017 will be the best Adirondack Mountains photos I could possibly achieve.

A couple of weeks ago, I checked the DEC website.

Mud Season is now over, and access to the Gulf Brook Road parking areas is available once again.   No decision has been made yet as to motorized access to the Ponds itself, so I will still need to hike 5+ miles up and back to get to my desired location.

That’s fine.  I can do a five-mile hike.  (If i keep saying this enough times, I will believe it to be so.)

Again, I’ve checked my online maps and charts.  If I don’t go to the Ponds at the right time, the photos I take there will only be “just good enough.”  Big deal.  I don’t want “just good enough.”  I want total success and will not settle for less.

How obsessed am I with this goal?  I already have five pictures designated for the New York State Fair’s 2017 photography competition.  A sixth photo is waiting as an alternate if I don’t get the shot I want within the next three weeks.  And even if I don’t get the photo in time for that deadline … I’m seriously hyper-focused on getting that photo for Competition Season 2018.  Or 2019.

And maybe, just maybe, capturing that photo – this is my travels on the Pequod.  I am Starbuck, sailing on a journey that might be in conflict with reason, yet I still persevere.  I am Starbuck, fighting in the service of my captain Adama and alongside Apollo in the protection of my people against an invasion of obliteration.  I am Starbuck, hoping that my journey to the ponds at night … will be lit by moonlight … that feels right …

But for this moment, I am Starbuck, and I need a cup of coffee.

I’ve been through these self-reflective journeys into the world before.  Photographs of the sunrise along the Bay of Fundy.  Photographs of melting waterfalls near the Great Sacandaga Lake.  Photographs that open my mind to the beauty and wonder of our world.  A symbiosis of my imagination and my heart and the shutter button of a camera.

Once this happens, once the conditions are perfect … I will set sail for the Boreas Ponds.  My Pequod is my Chevrolet.  My Moby-Dick lies five miles within.

And I will get that photo.  The photo that has been dancing in my dreams, singing in my subconscious, whispering in my will.

Will.  As in I will get this photo.

There is no won’t.