Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Adirondack Adventure

Things really came together for us since our last post. For starters, I was offered a job at one of the places where I'd interviewed. Prior to our trip to Seattle, I'd given the company my list of references but because of the holiday (and because I knew some of my references were on vacation) I wasn't sure how quickly they'd be able to contact them and then make me offer. However, when we landed in Boston from Seattle I had a message from the recruiter with my verbal offer. We made it official via e-mail the next day. My start date is this coming Monday, September 20. I'm excited for the job. I'll be working for an Internet Marketing company doing some programming and data manipulation. I'm excited because their primary programming language is Python, a language I've never used before. I'm really glad they trusted that I'd be able to learn it quickly enough.

Second, we found an apartment! As we might have alluded to in this blog, apartment hunting in Boston was a real challenge. We looked at dozens of places, but apart from one place where someone else rented it between us seeing it and telling the landlord we wanted it, none of the other places grabbed us. Until we saw a really cute third-story attic apartment, advertised on craigslist as the "tree-house apartment". It's the top story of a three-unit building in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston. It's essentially a big studio apartment with five large sky-lights and plenty of closets. It's within our budget (although more than we were paying in Seattle, for less space too) and it's within walking distance of both Roslindale village, with numerous shops and restaurants, and the commuter rail station where I'll be just a 12 minute train ride to my new office (the office is on the 7th floor above the train station at Copley Place in Boston). We'll show some pictures after we move in on September 25.

So, with the job and apartment all squared away, we decided to take a mini-vacation during our last week of "freedom". We drove up to the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York for what we thought might be a few nights of camping. Our main purpose in going up there was to climb Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York state. Unfortunately, we did very little planning with regard to the trip so it didn't work out quite how we would have liked.

For starters, it took a long time to get there, and we got kind of a late start so we didn't get to the area until after dark. Then, the campground we'd planned on going to was closed for the season. Since Mount Marcy is really close to Lake Placid, there were plenty of hotels, but none were very cheap. We found a little "cabin" in nearby Saranac Lake, which was habitable but full of mouse poop and if we turned on the gas heater we felt like we were going to get asphyxiated. We ended up sleeping on the bed in our sleeping bags, although we did use the little gas stove to cook our camping food.
From Mt Marcy
The next day we climbed Mount Marcy, which was a 15 mile round trip hike with about 4,000 feet of elevation gain. As mentioned, it's the highest point in New York (and therefore all the Adirondacks) at 5,344 feet. Despite the length, the hike was pretty easy, except for the summit push which was quite steep and the top was very windy and cold. We took a few quick pictures and headed back down.
From Mt Marcy
In addition to being a state highpoint, Mount Marcy has historical significance as well. In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt was camping in the area when President McKinley was assassinated. He was summoned to take over and he then became the youngest President ever at 42 years old. (President Kennedy would later become the youngest elected President at 43 years old).

There was a campground at the base of the mountain, but they charged $40 per site to camp! Plus, "room tax" of 10% and $10 a day to park! That would add up to $54 to camp for the night. Seriously? Even though that was cheaper than a hotel room (or cabin) nearby, we felt that was a ridiculous amount to pay for camping. So we left and got a hotel room in nearby Lake Placid. We probably violated all sort of regulations but we cooked up our camp food on our camping stove inside the hotel room.

We then came back to Massachusetts, stopping for one night to visit my lovely Aunt Lisa and Uncle Dick in Catskill, New York on the way. We had a quick visit, but we enjoyed catching up with them and having a nice dinner. We came back to some sad news regarding Jaimee's family though. Her grandfather spent the day after his 90th birthday in the intensive care unit of the hospital. He'd been having various health problems over the past few months, but he got a bladder infection that sent him to the hospital. We visited him at the ICU and he was not doing that well, barely aware of his surroundings. As of this writing he's still there and hanging on, and we're all hoping that he can pull out and survive the infection.

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