Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Happy place.

I returned a few days ago from a wonderful vacation. Not only did I travel to the farthest point north I have ever been before, but I also experienced something very special. For the July 4th holiday, Crystal and I took a road trip to New York. More specifically, we visited with her extended family on the majestic Lake Owasco. As one of the glacier-carved Finger Lakes, Owasco stands out as a serene setting that's historically been a very popular vacation destination for over a hundred years.

I experienced many personal firsts on this trip...

  • I rode in a canoe (absolutely terrifying).
  • I went floating in an innertube.
  • I went fishing in a boat.
  • I shot off fireworks.
  • I endured nearly a week without a shower (lots of sink bathing).
  • It was the first real vacation Crystal and I have ever taken in the many years we've been together.

Certainly, there are other great moments I'm forgetting at the moment. A perusal through my photos would surely reveal more moments I'd consider as firsts. I can't help but be thankful for the new memories I made with Crystal and her family. They couldn't have been more warm and inviting to me. Folks I'd never met before knew my name. They knew who I was. They knew what I did for a living. They knew things about me I never expected anyone to know. It was like... they cared about me. It was a new feeling, but certainly quite welcomed. I'm very eager to see everyone again. They're part of my family now... and that means a great deal to me.

I also had the pleasure of visiting Fillmore Glen State Park. Hands down, this is one of the most spectacular parks I've ever seen. The vegetation was so lush and green. With the finely cut stone and rock from years of being weathered by rushing streams and waterfalls, it was almost too much to take in. I absolutely suggest it as a place you must visit at some point in your life.

To cap off our trip, we were walking out of the deepest spot in the park when a thunderstorm formed over us without warning. We were drenched. With a mile and a half to go, our little group kept in the trees to avoid lightning strikes (many struck close by). By the time we made it to our vehicle, our clothes and bags were sopping messes. No matter... it was fun like I don't recall experiencing in many, many years. I'll cherish this memory for the rest of my life. Crystal, Brad, Jacqueline, Cale - thank you for helping me have some fun for once in my life. Thank you for helping me find a happy place. You rock!

Yep... I look like a bloated knucklehead in this photo... but do you see that smile on my face? What the hell is that?! ;-)

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