Our family has spent many summer weekends on Lake George. We often go with another family who shares our enthusiasm. Neither family is fortunate enough to own property on the lake, but we own boats. They are open bowed, built with high sidewalls, to prevent small children from falling overboard. Since we began our adventures when our children were young, some just out of diapers, this seemed like an important factor. With safety in mind the parents established the butt rule. If the boat was moving, your butt was on a seat. As time went by the kids found a loophole, somehow they managed to stay seated while riding the open bow like a bucking bronco. The young cow rustlers would grab hold of the front railings and let their bodies bounce and fall as our boats hit the huge wake created by larger craft. Sometimes, the dads would deliberately seek out a rough ride and chase the Mohican, a tour boat close to 100 feet long, just to hit its wake.
We found The Narrows of Lake George and the picnic islands. These outcroppings of rock and trees became our summer home. Often we would arrive early and settle in for the day. This was fine when the kids were young. As they became older and grew restless, tubing was discovered. Going on a slow, smooth ride did not last long; soon wake chasing became a sport. The rambunctious dads would spend hours on the water, pulling tubes around loaded down with kids; sometimes two to a tube, sometimes two tubes with kids jumping back and forth between them as the boat ran at a fast speed. Often the chant would be heard “Mohican, Mohican” and encouraged, the dads would seek out the largest wake. With their eyes squinted in search, the men resembled crazed sailors searching for shore after a long voyage. Eventually, one of the dads would spot a cruiser and head for its wake. As the tube vaulted over the huge waves the riders would soar into the air, be momentarily suspended then, with a crush, their faces would hit as rider and tube bounced back onto the water. The moms put a stop to these wild rides when the kids climbed into the boat with huge smiles and bloody noses.
Once the wild rides quieted down, the dads started the cliff jumping escapades. We started out small, in Paradise Bay. Here a large rounded rock juts from the shore line into the water. The kids would leap from the boats into the deep, calm water, warm on the surface for northern natives, but icy a few feet down, and swim to the rock. The climb up was slippery, but only about as high as a flight of stairs. It seemed safe enough. Both families enjoyed many great afternoons filled with robin egg blue skies and puffy clouds, enough sun for warmth, but not too much to wilt, laughing kids and contented moms. Apparently, contentment was not part of the dad’s game plan.
Both men grew bored with Paradise Bay and one day discovered the cliffs at East Dollar Island. This rock face was much more intimidating. When our children stood on the top it looked like they were preparing to spring off a two story house. To get to the cliffs required a swim from an idling boat, then a climb up steep, moss covered rocks. The first few times many of the kids, especially the younger ones stood at the top, thinking long and hard before they made that initial, heart stopping leap. After many weekends spent at East Dollar Island the youngsters became the experts. They laughed when much older, first time jumpers would approach the edge and cautiously peer over. Suddenly, our crew would run from behind and bound off the edge of the rocks, into the open air, performing outlandish maneuvers as each one plunged to the water. Some older jumpers would be shamed into following the younger kids, others would shake their heads and crawl sheepishly back down. The dad’s hid smirks of pride at the sight.
Over the years we have continued to enjoy Lake George and its beauty and wonderful playgrounds. Our children grew up there and now take the boats out on their own. Recently, they have introduced high school friends and college roommates to this queen of lakes; a lake that keeps calling them back