On this very cold Adirondack morning, a thin skin of ice on the Oswegatchie River held up a mirror to the altocumulus sky, making for one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. Whenever I catch a stunning sunrise from a perfect vantage point like this, I always feel like I’ve landed in the right place, at the right time, a priceless feeling for a drifter.
One of the great challenges of winter road tripping is that most campgrounds close for the season around Halloween (Rule of the Road Trip #6: Always camp out). On this road trip, I had been getting by mostly on luck, staying at free National Forest sites, trailheads and only one night at an RV park near Niagara Falls. When I’m on the road, I usually have no idea where I’m going to sleep each night but things always seem to work out. Only once have I settled for staying in a WalMart parking lot– blech.
I ended up camping on the edge of the tiny wooded town of Wanakena, on a tip from a fellow wanderer. I met Paul at a trailhead near Cranberry Lake. I was hoping to camp there, but a big “No Camping” sign was making me reconsider. I didn’t want to worry all night about a ranger knocking on my Teardrop door.
As I was lacing up my boots for a hike, Paul wandered over to ask me about the solar panel on the Teardrop. Eyeing his camo and flannel outfit, I asked him if he was going hunting and he said, “Nope, just wandering”. We talked for a bit – one of my goals on the road is to have a real conversation with a stranger at least once a day – and learning he he was a long-time local, I asked if he knew anywhere nearby that I could camp for the evening. Sure enough, just up the road in Wanakena, was a free campground, right by the Ranger School. Thanks to Paul for the tip and the hot chocolate. I owe you one for this sunrise!
I’ve met a lot of really wonderful people on the road and not one psychopath. Read about some of my encounters here: The Loneliest Road in America, Tahoe Knows Hospitality and The Lost and Found Coast. On to Vermont!