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The helpeX files - Spirits in the Springs

….my first experience of helpx as a friendly little helper.

snow 0 °C

My first helpx experience has absolutely flown by, although I do still have a few days left here in Saratoga. I’ve been up to all sorts of interesting things, met more great people (a continuing theme on my travels, long may it continue) and seen a lot of amazing sights.

One great sight was the full moon or should I say Wolf Moon, which I now know is the Native American name for the full moon of January! We went to the house that Steve built (his own) and into the fields behind to see the moon rising. Afterwards we continued into the woods and went to see the fault line that runs through Saratoga, luckily no plate shifts whilst we were there.

The Wolf Moon

The Wolf Moon

On the weekend after my last entry (Sat 30th Jan), Renata, Steve and myself went up to the Adirondacks to visit one of Renata’s properties. ‘Pocomoonshine Camp’ is hidden in the forest with views of the Mountains and (frozen) Lake Augur .

Pocomoonshine Camp

Pocomoonshine Camp

Pocomoonshine Kitchen

Pocomoonshine Kitchen

On the frozen Lake Augur

On the frozen Lake Augur

Over the weekend we did a few improvements to the camp, painted walls, sealed a bathtub and gave it a spring clean so its ready for guests. But it wasn’t all work, we had plenty of spare time to visit Ausable Chasm (one of the 3 natural wonders of NY, official) and a frozen beach. The chasm was pretty incredible, who needs the Niagara Falls!

Me, Renata and Steve at Ausable Chasm

Me, Renata and Steve at Ausable Chasm

Upper Chasm

Upper Chasm

Frozen beaches are now becoming a favourite pastime of mine, that is the second one visited on my travels.
At the beach I attempted to make my way across Lake Champlain to Vermont, however I managed only to drift about a foot on my ice raft before I got that sinking feeling and jumped back to shore. Running around on the beach taking photos helped us keep warm but it may have looked slightly absurd to people on the shoreline. I think they were the ones who tipped off the two patrol cars that cruised by observing us slowly - “why would they be on a beach in this weather? Must be tourists, now where did I put that donut!”

Frozen Beach

Frozen Beach

Another house that Steve built!

Another house that Steve built!

We arrived back in Saratoga to find a little visitor had been enjoying my room, a friendly little mouse had taken a fancy to the bedsheets and had left several mouse sized holes. The the two cats (Kicia and Spirit) were introduced to the equation and the mouse was not seen again. With these predatory skills, the little blighter didn’t stand a chance!

The week following, was a busy one and it absolutely flew by. We worked more on listing property and were invited round to dinner by the people who owned one of the houses. They are old friends of Renata’s, a couple who design and built their own home. It’s an incredible place and the offers have been flying in to rent the house since putting it up on the internet…. They also have a singing dog, although when I tried to record it, he ran and hid under a desk!

Renata's friends house

Renata's friends house

I met up with a local CS host and his friends on another evening for a pub quiz at a place called ‘Desperate Annies’ (I wonder what Annie looked like?). It must have been fate, as the first question as I sat down was… “what is the name given to the guards at the Tower of London?”…. I got it wrong! – just kidding.

On the weekend I met up with one of Renata’s daughters friends (a tenuous link!). We went to a bar called Putnam Den to check out some music (Some rapping poets from NY accompanied by acoustic guitar, bass, bongos, harmonica and didgeridoo – it was a good mix).

Band at Putnam Den

Band at Putnam Den

We then went off to meet a few of his friends at a pirate party and returned to the town later. It was good to go out with so locals and see what was going on. It was a good, long night and I walked home the following day in the midday sun along the highway (maybe not highway, but a big road none the less). I spent the rest of the day watching the Superbowl, which was good as the Saints won. WHO DAT!

The long and winding road, to walk home

The long and winding road, to walk home

This week I’ve re-sealed another bath tub, changed the filters in another fish tank, put Renata’s properties on facebook (you can see them if you go to my profile and view my pages) and got a mp3 player for one of Renata’s spa. All the work is enjoyable and its easy to do with such nice company around (Renata, Steve, Judy, Tristan and Lorraine).

The house I’ve been staying in is superb, and I don’t think I’ve given it enough credit on here. I basically have my own private living quarters, king size bed, living room, steam shower and sauna! I’m a lucky boy. I’ve had such a good time here meeting all different kinds of people and learning a lot, especially from Renata and Steve. On the nights that we’ve not been out/busy we’ve listened to a lot of music and watched some great films usually finishing in the early hours (I think we’ve rented about 20 from the library already, though not had time to see all of them).

I’ll be sad to leave Saratoga, as I have done everywhere that I’ve stayed. A great testament to CS and Helpx. I’d definitely like to return at some point, maybe in the summer when it’s a little warmer :)

That’s it for now….. next time on my blog you’ll hear about the last few days in Saratoga Springs, Philadelphia - the city of brotherly love (not in the YMCA way) and Washington where I’ll be couchsurfing with this guy called Barack (from his profile pics, it looks like he has a pretty big house!).

Posted by Sampri07 09:14 Archived in USA Tagged volunteer

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