“Patchwork Community” is another entry in the Champlain Area Trails Travel Writing Contest. In her essay, local Rebekah White describes some of the spectacular sights that can be seen while hiking Coon Mountain. She also mentions some wonderful places that are culturally unique to our Champlain Valley towns including the Depot Theatre, Sportsman’s Diner, Meadowmount School of Music, and the Elizabethtown Farmer’s Market. White does a wonderful job of combining the uniqueness of local businesses and the natural features of the Champlain Valley that make the North Country so special.
Turbulent Essex-Charlotte Ferry Rides
When she mentions a turbulent ride on our local ferry that made some passengers excited and others fearful it brings to mind experiences I’ve had myself. I’ve ridden the Essex-Charlotte ferry when the winds were so strong and fast that the boat tipped deeply from side to side and huge waves splashed onto the deck. I admit it was very exciting to me. When I was younger and more reckless I remember walking (or more like wobbling because of all the tipping) around the deck with my brother and cousins during one of these strong wind storms. I’m surprised none of us never fell overboard or at least hurt ourselves falling onto the metal deck! I still enjoy rides on the ferry like that, though my imagination has made me worry about the ferry actually capsizing. I don’t know if that’s actually possible, or how bad the weather would have to be for it to occur! I hope we never find out.
Locals vs. Tourists
White also discussed the situation surrounding thoughts on tourism throughout her essay. She began with a feeling of animosity toward tourists who she felt were encroaching on the peaceful Champlain Valley. Then she began to realize that us locals aren’t that different. We are coexisting with all of the animals and nature here. We fish in the lake like tourists do and take advantage of our location. Conversely tourists eat our local foods and support local businesses; tourism is a large part of our economy. We are all connected in a symbiotic relationship. Us locals are the few lucky ones who managed to be born here, but we shouldn’t begrudge others the chance to experience the beautiful North Country while they can.
“I sit down on a cold rock and take a few pictures. Despite the effects of winter, I manage to capture the everlasting ebullience of an evergreen. It has plopped itself onto this swatch of land, declaring first squatter’s rights and then permanent residency. Like the tree, I was born in the Adirondacks, and I have assumed that my residency is a right.
I think of the barred owl my sister and I saw when hiking here last summer. It stared at me accusingly as I raised my camera, so guiltily I lowered it. I felt like an intruder as it flew away. I had disturbed its napping place. I had become a nosy obstacle to relaxation. Often, it is easy to see tourism as an intruder to the peace and serenity of our region. Yet take them away, and the balance of our region fails. We are all tourists, and we are all laborers, working towards a common purpose…” [Continue reading "Patchwork Community."]
- Conquering Coon Mountain in Winter (champlainareatrails.com)
- Valley of the Porcupines (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Just Some of the Reasons Why I Love the North Country (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Celebrate Champlain Area Trails on June 2 (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vote in CATS Travel Writing Contest (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex-Charlotte Ferry Schedule (essexonlakechamplain.com)