Lake Abanakee, Adirondacks: Not Lost, Only Confused

Lake Abanakee Enter the Water

Getting ready to paddle Lake Abanakee.

Why is it that sometimes we willingly make life hard on ourselves? Despite the ease that GPS provides, I just won’t get one. I prefer the now-archaic act of jotting down or printing out directions. When I encounter roadblocks, construction, or lose my way, I use good old-fashioned intuition or ask for directions. Arriving at my destination gives me a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that I blazed a trail instead of cruised on autopilot.

This weekend I found myself in a GPS-tempting situation: lost in the Adirondacks somewhere outside the town of Indian Lake without a cell phone signal and no street signs. I had directions to a camp a group of us rented for our friend Kati’s rustic bachelorette getaway, but got off track within miles of my destination thanks to a bridge being out. (Note to Michiganders: cabins and cottages are known as camps in these parts.) I followed the detour signs, but somehow ended up circling the pristine Lake Abanakee – twice. Feeling frustrated but not too proud, I rolled down my window and asked a family working in their yard for directions.

I pulled my sunglasses up to reveal that typical sheepish expression everyone gets when lost. The man laughed, and walked up to my car; I was their first lost tourist of the season. He patiently explained how to get to the Gitchie Goomie camp (another Michigan reference). I was about to pull away when he called after me:

“Hey, don’t get discouraged. Think of yourself as Daniel Boone.”

“Umm, who was he again?,” I asked, with a vague vision of a big man in a coonskin cap.

“Daniel Boone? Only one of the greatest pioneers in American history. He helped settle Kentucky. And he famously said ‘I have never been lost, but will admit to being confused.'”

This friendly stranger’s words resonated with me. Beyond alleviating my temporary yearning for a GPS and the soothing sound of a British lady directing my every turn, he had reminded me it’s alright to be confused on a journey. Just days ago, I started another journey the hard way: I put in notice at my job, and am currently on a new trail. My destination? To be a freelance writer and communications consultant. Being self-employed is a dream I’ve had since playing on the oriental rug in my grandmother’s own antique shop. Watching her interact with customers and take pride in her own business left a strong impression on me. And I was given an opportunity to pursue this destination – so I took it.

Now, my favorite sunglasses are in fact, rose-tinted, but I have a realistic view of the journey ahead. It’s not going to be easy. And I’m not ashamed if I must turn back because the road is too treacherous. But for now I’m prepared to navigate around whatever roadblocks or downed bridges await me. I know I’ll experience fear, disorientation, and plenty of confusion. But I promise I’ll never say I’m lost when things get tough.

The bride wore...a life vest? My friend Kati & I.
The bride wore…a life vest? My friend Kati and I.

After getting my altered set of directions, I set out for Gitchie Goomie Camp. I arrived slightly disheveled, those rose-colored sunglasses caught in my wind-tangled hair. But soon I was relaxing and paddling out on Lake Abanakee with my friends. As I drifted over alone to a pine-covered cove, I thought about how driving without GPS opens you up to unexpected experiences and opportunities. You meet new people and you learn new things – like the Daniel Boone quote that I’ll add to my list of favorites. I hope my self-employed journey will be like a drive without GPS – revealing sound intuition, resourcefulness, and the ability to find peace even in confusion along the way.

A Quote I Love

“Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.” – Fermin from one of my favorite books, The Shadow of the Wind.

Where I Was!

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8 comments to Lake Abanakee, Adirondacks: Not Lost, Only Confused

  • Mom

    Another great blog! You are a “pioneer” of your own destiny! You have a great start and certainly a great support group who love you and are ready for this new chapter to begin. We’re excited to hear about each new discovery as you journey ahead with your dreams. Enjoy the adventure with each hill, valley and accomplishment. Wagons HO!! (great quote from old TV show, Wagon Train)

  • Susan Schaeffer

    Little Linds!!!! I know in my heart this is a wonderful adventure you are beginning. You have a gift!!! If you need a place to gather material there is a little “cottage” in TC you can work from!!! Keep it in mind!

  • Darcy

    Kudos, my friend! (and the veil while paddling, priceless!)

  • We love Daniel Boone. And that quote of his is surely my favorite (wonder why, hmmm…).

    My kids also love Davy Crockett, with his Crockettisms: flutterated (aka, flattered) and exaltification are some of our favorites. LOL.

    I agree about the GPS… one enjoys the ride so much more without the gadgets. 😀

  • Joel Schaeffer

    Ah, Adirondacks Park, I wondered how long it would be before your search for open spaces would lead you across the blue line. What a wonderful place and you are so close to it. Explore it well. It will remind you alot of Northern Michigan except for the mountains (we don’t have any).

    And what great news that you are starting out as a free-lancer. You will do well! We have a magazine published in Traverse City called “Traverse”, kind of a regional travel magazine, exploring the little nooks,crannies, and other undiscovered treasures in the TC region, kind of top-shelf. Maybe you’ve seen it. I’ll get a copy and send it out. They are all the time publishing stories written by free-lance writers. There is probably something similar published in up-state NY dealing with the Park and the local communitites. Check it out.

    Here’s a link to the publishers of Traverse. Who knows maybe you can do a little story about Lighthouse Park at the tip of Old Mission. I know where you can stay.

    Good luck to you, Lindsay, and take us along for the ride.

  • CourtneyK

    Linds, I almost cried reading this post. I know that confused journey so well….bush-whacking through the backwoods without a trail in sight, trusting that you’ll arrive at your destination before sundown. Or maybe the journey is through a rocky desert and you’re about to run out of water, you can’t even tell which way is North, South, East or West. So you trust and go and you sure as hell don’t give up, even if you’re tired. But somewhere within that tiredness you remember why you set off on the adventure in the first place…because it’s supposed to be fun!!! So good good luck to you on this new adventure and don’t forget to have fun, otherwise, it’s really not worth it, is it?


    Lindsay – so many things I love about this entry :-) First, the Adirondacks! Then, the quotes — I collect them. Thanks for 2 more to my collection. Love your setting out with courage to find your passion! Your take on life’s journey. And, lastly, we share a love for a favorite book: The Shadow of the Wind – one of my all time favs!

    Can’t wait to hear how your new GPS-less trip is going!

  • Lindsay

    Hi Carole, we’ll have to catch up soon, maybe take a hike together in one of your neighborhood parks?! The GPS-less trip is so far, so good – all the writing I’m doing to make a living keeps me away from my blog though; I’m trying to find a better balance. In fact, I will be posting this week on Oakwood Cemetery!

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