Pilgrims and Strangers (No tent stakes for now.) travel blog



(Somewhere in the Adirondacks, Hope, NY)

It's raining. James really has to go the bathroom. Campground should be coming up any minute now. We see a sign on the right but it's hard to read. Yeah, this is it. We turn into a precarious-looking driveway going up at a pretty steep incline. Abandoned, dilapidated shacks and rusty machinery line both sides of the dusty road. ("You sure this is the right place?" I ask. "There's another camper right behind us. He's probably turning in here too.")

This place is called "Rainbow's End." It's definitely the end of something. "Isn't there supposed to be gold at the end of the rainbow?" says Leah. She has a point.

We pull up in front of the hand-painted "Office" sign. I look behind us. (Hey, where'd that camper go?) We all get out in spite of the rain. It's been a long ride. Two kids emerge from somewhere, a boy of about 10, and a little girl not much bigger than Anna. (Another Tiny Person). The Tiny Girl is followed by two white, tiny dogs that she's shouting commands at. James sees the dogs and is afraid. He runs from them. It's still raining, and his bladder is about to burst, but he's too busy running away from the dogs to go into the trailer. Mom looks on, laughing a bit uncontrollably at the absurdity of it all. Meanwhile, the boy says, "Can I help you guys?" (What, is he running the place)? He proceeds to tell us where we can camp. He knows where the full hookups are, etc. The Tiny Girl had gone inside the office and come back out again. "Grandma's coming," she says. When Grandma comes out, she tells us that Tiny Girl told her "some strange people are here, and they want to camp." (Didn't she mean strangers)?

Ten bucks gets us our site for the night. It's rustic, but not bad. James tells me the boy's name is Zachary. (When did he find that out?) "There's another one that looks exactly like him," he informs me. (Really? I hadn't seen this "Other").

Zachary's standing at the top of a little hill just beyond our campsite. "If you stand at the top of this hill and whistle, the horses will come," he tells Bob. "Just don't touch the electric fence."

The kids are playing on the strange assortment of playground implements right in front of our campsite. Zachary is walking around with a rifle. (Not a real one, he says. Just one he got from the five-and-dime up the road). "Glad to see you're on the job," says Bob. Zachary says he's looking out for bears "'cause one ripped our door off before we got a real one." James thinks this is hilarious.

'Nough said. Tomorrow, Vermont.

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