July 7

Start: Altamont, NY
End: Duanesburg, NY
Mileage: 10

I had expected today to be a rather uneventful day of roadwalking, but that was not at all the case.

I slept great last night and had a wonderful French toast breakfast at the Altamont Inn this morning. Soon after I left, clouds started rolling in. By the time I had walked the half mile into town, it was raining really hard and there was thunder and lightning. The good thing about being out of the woods is that there are many safe places to take shelter from storms. So I ducked into the public library and spent some time uploading the rest of my photos. By the time I left, the sun was back out, but it was lunchtime, so I got lunch in town. I didn't start hiking until 2:00!

Nothing too eventful from the road walk. I crossed into Schenectady County. Around 4:30 another thunderstorm moved in pretty quickly. I was passing a golf course that had a bar/restaurant, so I decided I would buy a Coke and wait out the storm in there. Just a few minutes after I got inside, the storm was directy overhead. It was pouring, and there was less than a second difference between the thunder and lightning. It got pretty crowded inside, with the regular bar patrons now joined by all the golfers whose games were interupted. (Is it called a game of golf? I'm not very familiar with golf vocabulary.)

Anyway, I became quite an attraction at the bar. Everyone loved to hear about my hike and they all wanted to buy me drinks. One man, TJ, was the golf course superintendent and actually lived upstairs. He was very nice. He also drank six whiskeys on the rocks while I sat with him. He insisted on buying me dinner. I refused repeatedly, but then he went into the kitchen and brought out the chef and pretty much forced me to order something. It was very nice of him.

So while I was there, I was talking a lot to the guy next to me (Dave) about the Adirondacks (where I'm headed next). Dave was there with his wife Laura having dinner. He went to the Adirondacks a lot, and was giving me a lot of advice and suggestions.

As he and his wife were getting ready to leave (and I was too), his wife offered for me to stay at their house tonight, in a one-room log cabin in their backyard that Dave had built. I said no at first, but when she asked a third time, I figured, "why not?" If I had continued hiking to a park where I had planned to camp illegally, I would've gotten there around dusk. They live just around the corner.

So now I'm at Dave and Laura's house. I know it sounds very sketchy to stay with strangers who I met at a bar, but I trusted my instinct and they are fine people. They have two sons (17 and 20) who I enjoyed talking to when I got to the house. Zach, the younger son, had some friends over, and I'm sure they thought it was a bit unusual for me to be there.

Their house was beautifully decorated with tons of nature stuff. It looked like a cabin in the Adirondacks. Dave was really into Native American artwork (that he crafted himself), and many of his pieces hung on the walls.

Before I went to bed, I was talking to Dave on the porch and he was telling me about how his family goes to primitive rendezvous. They are gatherns modeled after the rendezvous gatherings of fur traders in the early 1800s. In springtime, the fur trappers would come together at a gathering called a rendezvous, where they would trade, resupply, and get drunk. So Dave and his family go to these primitive rendezvous, where everyone wears clothing from the early 1800s and camps out for a few days. He showed me the clothes that he had made himself, using leather from a deer he had hunted. It all sounded pretty neat. Apparently the gatherings are really big, and I'm sure it'd be a cool thing to see.


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