Summering on Tupper Lake

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There is a certain tranquility being lakeside, a peacefulness expanded by the call of the Loon and a soft splash of ripples on the rocks. A fire in the hearth on a cool morning sipping a hot mug of strong coffee with friends nearby and Buckley the dog at my feet make for a moment; a moment to simply be.

Our friends Brian and Ray, a married couple together for thirty seven years are summering on Tupper Lake and invited us for a visit. A side trip within our own summer trip is a welcome diversion from camp though a trip to the lake fails to deliver any improvement in the cold, cloudy weather.

Their house is a converted boat house perched in the lake with the dock harboring several boats and two kayaks. Windows on three sides offer a panoramic view that disappears into a cove to the right, a shore line to the left and a tree covered ridge across the water. Our accommodation is a perfect moss covered cabin under the pines with a varnished wood interior of log rafters and tongue in groove pine paneling, furnished with Adirondack style furniture and a big stone hearth and chimney with fireplace.

A pile of corn kernels surrounds a pine on the sloping forest floor from the drive to the house. Deer arrive leisurely for a nibble or a meal and a dwindling family of ducklings follows mom to the food and back to the lake. The Loons have a chick and though Loons usually live as a pair, one pair per lake, there are three pairs on Tupper Lake.

We took the pontoon boat on a tour of Tupper Lake from end to end. Crawling under a low bridge barely clearing the girders we made our way to the old stone bridge across falls that empties a big stream into the lake in a quiet cove perfect for lunch. All the trip rain threatens; there is a chill in the air and a stiff breeze from the north. Although we are on an open boat with a convertible top that would prove useless against anything more than sun the beauty of the lake, islands and coves proves stronger than any desire to be concerned.

Lunch is a PB&J on the gently rocking boat just offshore of the falls dumping into the lake. Rain begins to fall as we finish eating and everyone is bundled in their rain gear. I have no shame in being a Floridian and have my heavy hoodie fully zipped with the hood over my head and cinched tight; on top of that my Gore-Tex Helly Hansen hooded rain gear, also with hood up and cinched blocking the sharp wind. My fellow boaters smile at my bundling.

The rain fades as Brian presses the throttle to full pushing us ever faster into the wind. Buckley is cold and I tuck him tightly against my thigh on the lounge, blocking as much wind as I can. He shivers and John slides beside me sandwiching Buckley between us. He is covered with a towel and seems content; he finally sticks his nose under John’s leg, doggy noses get cold too.

The dock comes in view and Brian slides the boat expertly alongside as Ray and I jump off with ropes. The boat is secure, we grab everything loose, and Buckley, and head to our separate cabins to warm before a fire in the hearth. Moments after settling in rain comes with a vengeance; the cold ride into the wind across the lake would have been miserable heading into that driving rain. Thankfully we avoided the wet part of the cold adventure in exchange for another fire in the stone hearth. Ric Reily

Greg Kabel

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