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My last day in New York was simply too gorgeous to be spent inside. So I switched my plans at the last minute and headed to the Saratoga National Battlefield instead. As a recovering historian, I have to admit that battlefields as battlefields hold little interest for me. I mean, yes, yes I know that the Second Battle of Saratoga was a critical turning point in history and responsible for allowing the U.S. to gain its independence and all that, but while that’s all very nice, on a personal note, the only real benefit of the Second Battle of Saratoga was the lovely walking trail created in its wake, which gave me a second day of walking and looking at mountains. And the chance to look at 18th century cannons, which are still sitting there. Not that I really spent intense time looking at the cannons.

I did, however, see and listen to the Canadian geese heading south for winter, with some irritation at realizing that I was going to have to listen to all of this again in a few more weeks. I realize that up in the sky, in formation, they are lovely birds; I just occasionally wish they could turn down the volume a bit.

Naturally, as I walked, I could feel my different reactions to the Adirondacks and this trail (some observations from the Friday mountain trip:

The poet: The colors! The splendour! The colors!

Carping voice: That’s not exactly poetry, you know.

The environmentalist: Er, what is green grass doing in the Adirondacks this late in the year? Why are the Canadian geese flying south so late in the year?

The world-weary teenager: I can’t believe that I didn’t charge my iPod -- wow! Wait! A radio station that actually plays things? (I’m so accustomed to the hell that is South Florida radio that this sort of thing always leaves me in shock.)

My inner seven year old: LOOK! A BIG PILE OF LEAVES! JUMP! JUMP!

…naturally, the inner seven year old won.

On two other minor notes:

1. I don't usually chat about my rental cars, but the Dodge Caliber is one awful car on multiple levels: the visibility is awful, with two major blind spots, one of which almost got me killed on the highway; the mileage is awful; the car does not do even small mountains (which slowed down my Adirondacks explorations), lights come on and off when you don't want them to; if you need to lock all four doors the car will beep, with no way of silencing this no matter what the hour of the night, it steers like a tank; the drink holder is annoyingly placed; and no matter where you put the steering wheel, you can't see the complete dashboard, which makes it very difficult to see where you’re going. And this was supposedly my upgraded car.

2. The cats have decided that the best way to keep me from traveling ever ever again is to sit on my luggage and guard it from all comers, including me. This has the added effect of keeping me from being able to unpack the luggage, which might, cats, help encourage me to stay. I'm just saying.

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mariness
Mari Ness

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