I'm not very into nature. I like to look at nature, but through a window from indoors where I'm not constantly being bit by bugs. However, when a full weekend of being in nature in Lake Placid, NY came up, I reconsidered my dislike for being in the outdoors for two reasons. One, a good friend that I don't get to see that often was going to do a triathlon which was the whole reason for this trip. Second, some of our friends were going and I didn't want to have FOMO. So I decided to go on the trip.
I have a bad habit of getting too ahead of myself when plans with friends come up. I also get really anxious about forgetting things so I overpack for every trip. So this combination kind of annoyed my friends when we were getting ready for this trip. As if texting our group chat every day saying, "I'M SO EXCITED" wasn't enough, I had packed and repacked my suitcase at least a hundred times in the month leading up to leaving. Yes, I am aware that's really annoying and yes I know packing a suitcase a month in advance is pretty ridiculous. Thank god I have friends who are very patient with me.
My boyfriend Andrew, myself, and our friend Klo decided to take the 6 to 7-hour drive to Lake Placid together. The ride was full of great music and my horrible dance moves in between stopping at rest stops along the NY highway. The rest stops there surprised all of us. They were so clean and HUGE and looked so so nice. Pennsylvania really needs to step up their game.
Driving through mountains and thousands upon thousands of trees on either side of the road really took my breath away. I felt so small but in the best way. Getting closer to Lake Placid, we went through a stretch of road where people would pull their cars over onto the shoulder and get out and explore. There were small lakes and streams and waterfalls on the side of the road and everyone was laughing, exploring, and just enjoying their time outdoors. Seeing all this before we even got to our home for the weekend definitely made us all super excited about what was planned for the weekend.
The house we stayed in was beautiful. A huge deck out front and surrounded by wilderness, we had such a peaceful little spot on this Earth. We sat around the couch laughing at funny videos on YouTube, laid on the deck in the mornings with our coffee, and counted how many bears were incorporated into the decor of the home. Although the home was beautiful, there was so much to explore and discover that we didn't really spend a whole lot of time there.
The ultimate reason for going to Lake Placid in the first place was to see our friend, Creamer, finish his first Ironman. An Ironman, if you don't know, is an insane triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and a marathon at the end. Yeah, my jaw dropped too. He's been training for this for a long time and he really wanted all his friends and family to be there with him for this experience. The morning was a little hectic as it was very early and we didn't really know how the shuttle system there worked. So all of us, decked out in our matching T-shirts courtesy of his family, anxiously stood in a gravel parking lot waiting for a shuttle and praying we didn't miss the swim portion of this race.
Although we didn't get to see him dive into the lake for the swim, we did get to see him complete the swim and hop on his bike as we screamed our heads off cheering and ringing cowbells. After he hopped on his bike we went back to the house to grab a quick nap as it would be several hours before we would see him again. By the time we got to his family's home base along the race route we really got to see the sheer amount of people who were doing this race. Sitting there for a couple hours, we got to witness people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicity, all striving for the same goal of completing the race. It was very motivating. We all made several jokes about how ridiculously out of shape we are compared to the people going the triathlon.
We all were at the finish line for a good chunk of time before our friend finished. That was the best part of the whole weekend. Getting to see people who were cancer survivors, people who traveled across the world, ran in memory of someone else, and teams who trained together for months maybe even years, cross the finish line was very emotional. There were so many friends and family at the finish line screaming, cheering and some even crying was truly a moving experience. We screamed so loud and jumped up and down and basically just kind of lost our minds for a few minutes when Creamer crossed the finish line. We were all so proud and felt so so happy for him to complete a bucket list goal.
All in all, this trip was the best trip of my life. We swam in lakes and streams that were crystal clear, laughed so hard our sides hurt, hiked, explored, ate our body weight in delicious food, met a lot of great people, but most importantly we all had a great time just being together and cheering on our friend. This trip was something we all looked forward to for a long time and something we'll definitely talk about for many years to come.