My getaway for the past few summers has been a ‘camp’ in the Adirondack Mountains. It is a series of rustic cabins scattered around an old farmhouse, with a raging little river running adjacent. The guests eat breakfast and dinner together at long tables. The camp, surrounded by the high peaks, has no cellphone service and very limited internet access.
It is my time to eschew technology, to reset and embrace all things analogue. I will take a couple of books, my journal and fountain pen, and sketchbook. (My phone becomes an alarm clock and occasionally a camera.) It is a quiet time, but not a silent one. I usually book a week in early July, when guests come to play old music every evening after dinner. Conversations are entertaining, amusing and often informative.
The camp has been a destination for revivification since the 19th century. One gentleman, a retired college professor, told me he’d been coming to the camp since he was five years old. In fact, the visitors book from 1919 has signatures from famous guests: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Sandor Ferenczi.
Ultimately it is a time to be in Nature. Let me leave you with an anecdote from last year:
Last July, when my son and I were driving to the Adirondacks, we made our way into New York at quiet border crossing. The thirtysomething immigration officer asked where we were going. I said we were hiking the Adirondack High Peaks.
Which ones? he asked.
I thought he was quizzing me to see if we were really going hiking. It made me a little anxious. I named two or three mountains we’d likely climb
“Ok,” he said, “but don’t let them make you hike Gothics! My cousin told me we were going for a ‘little walk.’ It almost killed me!”