July 4th this year, Daniel and I did not get to watch the fireworks by the Schuylkill with our Philly gang or bike independence route like we did last year. Nonetheless, the weekend was magical. It started with an email from @hirschey inviting us to Brantingham lake:
Good morning love birds,
I am going to Lowville Wed July 3rd - Sunday July 7. If you don't have any plans for the 4th yet, it would be great if you could join the Hirschey family. You likely could stay at the lake house and enjoy the kayaks and canoe. […] It will be the last time you get to be in the farm house […]”
And just like that, we headed north that Wednesday night.
While driving up from Philly, we received the usual greeting: “Welcome to New York!” – except this time it’s not from Google. Our dear friend and favorite hiking partner, Jake the ultralight introvert, was also driving and saw us on the map thanks to Google’s shared locations feature. We ended up 2 hours away from each other and decided to meet in the middle for a short hike. I was glad Jake is still recovering from his recent 100 mile hike (he did it all in 36.5 hours!!!) and so I didn’t have to try too hard to catch up with him. (Hope you’re better now though Cassidy!) Despite being a bit crowded up top, the view was incredible!
In the afternoon, we came down to a free camp spot nearby for some disc throwing at the beach and to enjoy the scrumptious roasted pepper+chicken sandwiches @hirschey has packed for us. This was also where we almost managed to flip over a camping table:
After we parted, Daniel and I stopped by an ice cream place on our way back to make Jake jealous (and yes, I had Jake's favorite combination: chocolate and black raspberry!!!):
Now, while this was the quintessential summer day, other times, we also ran, kayaked, swam and ate a lot! The day before meeting up with Jake, we went on a 11-mile trail run with only 500 ml of water. Luckily, a horseback rider we met in the middle gave us another half a liter. The trail was partly muddy and we had to do some stream crossing:
After, I was tiredddd, but Daniel still had the energy to coat his step stool with polyurethane.
We even got to play a little bit of steemmonsters.
Getting to visit the farmhouse the next day with its cows, ponies and chickens was such a treat. Daniel even got his hands licked when feeding the cows.
I tried to climb to the top of this 90-foot tall tower but only got this far:
I also got to participate in the informal auction through @hirschey and acquired some very antique items (results not shown).
Meeting many members of the Hirschey’s family for the first time, I was excited to be part of the ‘chaos’ (I say this endearingly). I enjoyed watching the interactions among the family members and taking part in MANY conversations. The stories we told each other were priceless, like one about that time @jhimmel left his laptop on the roof. We also got to dig into Sara’s high school notes from late 1970s, including very difficult biology and chemistry test books (Sara still knows the answers for a lot of these!!!) and an essay advocating for equal pay. Ha! (It’s funny because we still don’t have that yet.) It was also nice to see uncle Dan, Randy, Ricky and Marissa again. Randy was the one to guide me down my very first slope on skis, and I hold much respect for his sense of humor (and of course the man himself).
The last day, when realizing that @dhimmel and I were going to sleep outside on the deck, Randy said we should wake up at 2:44 am to see the international space station that would appear right above our head (84 degrees above ENE). Just finished my third tequila shot at 10:30 pm, I strongly refused: “Randy, we love you but no I’m not getting up at 2 in the morning to wait for the ISS to be visible for just over a minute.” But we did. It was really cool! I never saw something so bright moving so fast in the sky, in the midst of our magnificent galaxy.
Having been traveling for a while and busy with a paper deadline, I didn’t get to write anything about this trip until now, but everything is still so amazingly vivid in my head. Thank you, @hirschey, for an incredible time and welcoming me in the reunion of the big and fascinating family you have. Much love!!!
Bonus: Here’s a photo from one of the fireworks. (Among many fireworks from many different locations on different days, our neighbor’s must the most enjoyable, and right from our deck - minus the bugbites).