(Natalie completes her summer journalism fellowship with NCPR this week. We’ll miss her. But the good news is this: she’ll return as a part-time apprentice during the coming academic year. Thanks for your good work, Natalie. –Ellen Rocco)
After spending the last 2 summers in Canton, I will sorely miss these fleeting months full of swimming and hiking and reading when I graduate from St. Lawrence next May. As a native of Massachusetts (state of bad drivers, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Plymouth Rock), I can objectively say that the farmers’ markets here are abundant, the St. Lawrence is the very best river, and the Adirondacks have the most impressive views. There is something about summer in the North Country that keeps pulling me back.
Maybe the best thing about summer here is that everything blooms at once. After a brutal winter, summer comes in a single heated moment. I think about this as I sit in the garden outside of NCPR on my lunch break. A butterfly flits between my calves, lands on my knee, and moves on. Tucked between the walls of the E.J. Noble Medical Building and the parking lot, fragrant bushes full of flowers (meant to attract butterflies) tumble over each other in a cacophony of color.
But, really, the best thing about summer is pie. I was down at the Canton Farmer’s market in June, and talked with some of the farmers. Gwen Law, who has a stand selling pies, some herbs, and a few other baked goods, gave me the best pie crust directions. I made my first rhubarb pie, which I turned into my first blog post for the station. In July, Martha Foley brought a raspberry pie to a news meeting. I recognized the tag from Gwen Law’s stand. Her crust was better than mine, but I remember how she told me not to get discouraged. Nobody makes a good crust on their first try.
But maybe the best part is hiking. I admire of all of those aspiring 46ers, but most of the time I climb a mountain and forget the name afterwards. This summer, I managed to do Azure and Lower Wolfjaw, as well as Rooster Comb with the NCPR interns. We received some great suggestions via the Facebook page. Hiking in the Adirondacks is great; I always meet friendly hikers on the trail who share useful tips and encouragement. But in terms of parking, it’s not so great. Honestly, I don’t want more parking, even if I’m one of the hikers who have to turn around and hit up another peak instead. Parking takes up space. Imagine how terrible it would be if the Adirondacks had parking like a mall. That brings up the accessibility issue, but that’s for another post.
This will probably be my last North Country summer (at least for a while), and I can’t help but think of scenes, like pictures in an album, that I will miss. I remember swimming in lakes and rivers, bonfires, barbeques, walking across campus each morning to work, the family of deer that trot across my path as I run at dusk. I can’t decide what, if there is only one thing that makes a North Country summer, but I do know that I will surely miss it when I leave.
What do you think defines a North Country summer? Do you hike, swim, or garden? Share some of your summer memories in a comment below.
Natalie Dignam’s internship at NCPR is supported by the Stan Macdonald Journalism Fund.