Friday, November 8, 2013

When in Doubt... New York Part 2

We ended up leaving Niagara Falls later than planned so on the way back to our campsite we had to stop at Walmart to get some groceries and hand and feet warmers to try and avoid the occurrences of the previous night. Being at Walmart made me feel kind of homesick and we were both just so cold and exhausted. I got another hot fudge sundae at a nearby McDonalds and went back to the campsite. We made some dinner and tried to relax, but to my discomfort a couple campers that were there the previous night had left and now the campground seemed desolate. Because of this I got scared and forced Finnley to go to Walmart again an hour away so I could buy a DVD player to give me the comfort of white noise. 

Finnley had a few beers so I had to drive. I was so scared and stressed the whole drive because we were in deer country in the pitch black. I drove like 20 mph under the speed limit the whole time. We finally got there and I picked up a DVD player. On the way back I almost hit a little bunny, but luckily he was fast enough. There was also a deer, but it didn’t come too close. When we got back to the campground there were also more deer out in a field near our site. They were so cute just laying in the grass or eating it. 

I slept fairly well that night due to a combination of old comforts and exhaustion. When we woke up Finnley and I decided to take a shower and get ready to clean up all our gear and get prepared to set off the next day. After our shower the weather had completely changed and it looked like a cold front was blowing in. We went to book another night at the campground first and then came back and Finnley started to make us breakfast. As he did that the temperature really started to drop and the wind picked up. I was hurting bad because I still had wet hair so I hid in the car and tried to dry my hair with the heater while Finnley fought it. 

When I finally got it dry enough I came out and ate breakfast with him. We started cleaning up and by we I mean Finnley and I basically just stood there frozen, wearing long johns, fleece pants, sweat pants, a fleece shirt, a fleece jacket, a soft shell jacket, a down jacket, a hat, scarf, and gloves looking as awkward as possible. Right when we finished and when everything was looking grim for the night because of the cold, a state park truck pulled up in front of our site.

A ranger got out, walked towards us, and said “I got a weird question for you guys”. At this point I’m thinking are we in trouble or are things really about to get weird? I’m going through my mind of all the things we did that could have gotten us in trouble: moving the fire pit, the hour plus hot showers, the late night park drives? But no he goes on to tell us that Zippo Lighters/ Case Knives is doing a photo shoot for their catalogue in the park and would like real campers to be in the photos and asked us if we would be interested. Obviously we were like heck yeh!

At this point we are thinking that they are going to photograph us at the tent with our gear and stuff, but 15 minutes later the guy shows up again and offers us a cabin and some fire wood all expense paid. I’m thinking it might of had to do with my very Floridian display of dealing with the cold. It was pretty much our lucky day and from there on it only got better. 

We took our tent and gear down and loaded up for the short drive over to the cabins. The cabin was big with a heater, a nice big patio, and wood waiting for us upon our arrival. Not to mention the view was outstanding. Finnley and I unloaded the car, got a fire going, and just waited for the crew to arrive. I still can’t believe how lucky we got, we were in awe of everything that was happening. When the Zippo/Case Knives guys got there they came and said hello and starting setting up their “stages”. Finnley and I watched them for a while until they came over and asked us to join them. 

The first set up was a little orange Marmot tent in the woods with camping gear next to it, fall leaves everywhere, and a stream running along. It was so weird and funny being directed for a photo. Finnley and I couldn’t stop laughing and staring at each other awkwardly. It was such a different experience. It was really fun too though because the crew was so funny and nice. They kept making jokes about everything and making Finnley and I laugh when we were trying to pose for long exposure shots. I kept thinking it must be so nice to get to enjoy your job so much. The photographer Sean Hemmerle was not only ridiculously talented, but he was also such a cool person. They all really were. Finnley and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them and hanging out. 

Photo take by Sean Hemmerle

The second shot was at night by a cabin and we all had to stand around a raging fire. This too required long exposure shots which I thought was really cool because I always wanted to learn how to do them. We were cold earlier so it felt better to stand next to a fire, but when you have to stand there with your hands out for minutes it gets pretty hot. However we were so excited and having fun we didn’t care. 

When we were done and they got their shots we hung around by their fire for a while and talked. They gave us some advice on places to go on our trip and told us about some of their travels. As they were leaving they ended up giving us a bunch of food that was supposed to be props and these badass zippo fire starters that Finnley is in love with. It was so ridiculously nice meeting them and we are both truly thankful for their kindness and generosity. They not only helped us have a much more comfortable night, but they gave us an unforgettable memory and a good blog story.  While I doubted this place all along, I must give credit where credit is due, Finnley was right, this was the place we were supposed to be.

We wrapped up New York the next day and got on the long road for South Dakota to see some big faces in a mountain ;-)

On to the next...

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