Mosquito Coast

After watching the tower come down, Anna and I continued on to our real adventure planned for the weekend — bike camping along the lake shore. On our way out of town we stopped at the public market to pick up Katie, Jake and Tom, and went on from there to route 101, and about a 40 mile ride to Sodus Point. Our destination: Beachwood State Park, a newly acquired property that was once the boy scouts’ Camp Pioneer (which would be replaced in 1951 with the current Adirondack site), then the girl scouts’ Arrowhead Camp, before closing around 2000.

Just off of 101, the first ruin we’d noticed was this “cobblebrick” construction, probably from well before the Civil War. I’ve never seen anything like this before, probably one of a kind architecture? (normally cobblestones are not the exact same size, and are piled on just as they fit)

And then, the mosquitoes started. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. Walking through the camp. their buzz was constant, a teeming, pulsing life to the fields and the undergrowth. We finally escaped the horde in the abandoned mess hall, probably the largest of the surviving buildings

They left the antiquated kitchen appliances right in place. These probably were relics from the boy scouts’ days here, I would not be at all surprised if they’re 60+ years old.

This was the only graffiti we saw in the whole camp. And just before we noticed a rather rowdy group starting to show up.

We had started to claim Yellow Camp for ourselves when these teenage thugs began laying claim to it themselves, saying it was reserved for someone’s high school graduation party. Whether or not this was true, we let them be and went looking for the beach. Continuing past Yellow Camp there are apple orchards, going the other way the trail follows the shore rather closely.

Close to the lake, we found another camp, with a few abandoned cabins in it, and took this one instead.
Not Yellow

After watching the sunset and having a fire on the beach, at around midnight we tried to sleep in the largest of the cabins. Katie, Tom and Jake fell right asleep, somehow, but I was being eaten alive by the worst infestation of fleas I’d ever found. After a while Anna was awake and just as aggravated, so the two of us went down to the beach, and took advantage of our new environment. Just as we nearly fell asleep again, the thugs were back, chucking firecrackers and mortars over the cliff at us. I’m still not sure if they were that oblivious, or if they thought two naked hipsters on a beach made fun target practice, but after about 10 shots or so, one connected, and exploded right in front of our faces! After that though it was an amazing night and morning, at least until we got back to the cabin. All of our belongings were thrown around all over the place, and Tom and Katie left at 5am, leaving behind only a note, “couldn’t take the bugs, got a head start”.

Upon further review, it was clear we had been ransacked. The thieves were classically inept, at best, but still managed to rob us blind! They did their best to relieve us of our clothes, and took my phone, but left two wallets full of cash, and our expensive cameras, completely untouched. We picked up what little remained of our stuff, downed the last beers we’d brought, and went searching for the thugs of Yellow Camp, whom we found almost immediately. As soon as they saw who they were, they broke into a run, and we gave chase as well as we could, only losing then once they’d piled haphazardly into a pickup truck and hauled ass toward the 101.

With our remaining direct actions at a loss, we did the one thing we could think of, and biked to the police station (remember, we can’t call — fuckers took our phones!), and filed a report. The officers weren’t the most helpful, but I’m not sure how much they could have done anyway, when we didn’t know whose party it was, or even who might have been there. The ride home was long, but relaxing and quite interesting, 61 miles along the roads and canal in Wayne county.

This morning, I finally heard from my phone, after a few dozen calls to it, believe it or not — calling the number actually worked, and it wasn’t a thug who picked up, but a fireman. Unfortunately, the battery picked the worst time imaginable to give out: halfway through his address, thirteen thousand, eight hundred and ni….”. I tried to find 1389x of every road in the area and call them, but none seemed to have an extra Droid lying around. At least I tried…

And when all is said and done, a phone was a small loss to pay for an amazing weekend with Anna, and the chance to go bike touring and see a place I never would have otherwise.

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