Every inhale sends my heart into pitter-patter mode. Every breath, involuntarily, my eyes close as the scent of Adirondack rain courses through me and I can’t help but smile. My lids linger, closed but soft, until I get to breathe it in, again.

This… is home.

Rain is different in the Adirondacks. It smells different, feels different, looms overhead different.

When she finally makes an appearance, the only words spoken are the raindrops conversing as they hit the ground.

I want to hike the mountains just before a storm hits when the air is starting to get damp and heavy, and every breath is leafy. Essence of Eastern White Pine, Paper Birch, Sugar Maple, American Beech – too many to name – nature’s remedy. Every step, every crushed leaf, therapy. I want to sit on my front porch in anticipation of an Adirondack rain shower, feeling the mist envelop me even before the rain.

I love the Adirondacks. It’s that kind of one-sided love affair you have when you’re 11 and can’t stop thinking about that cute 4-H camp counselor, four years your senior… your first real crush. Heart-sick, unattainable love – always there in your view, having no idea you exist, but every which way you turn, encompassing you. There to be worshiped, belonging to no one.

Northern New York. The North Country. The Adirondacks.

My Walden.

For locals, there is an unspoken bond; no matter what area of the Adirondacks you are in during that moment in time—you could live in Indian Lake and be 80 miles away from home in Keene Valley, eating the best quiche known to man, at the Noon Mark Diner—you are a local… an Adirondacker. You are home, welcome anytime.

There are mountain ranges everywhere. Maybe as beautiful. Maybe as therapeutic. Maybe. But there is something special about the Adirondacks; something… only we get. Wild. Secluded. Remote. Revered. Discovered, but so far beyond off the beaten path… ours.

One-day road trips are meant for the Adirondacks.

Take a map. Don’t take a map. Either way, you’ll find yourself.

Every town… charming. Every view… picturesque. Every person… neighborly. Corner ice cream shops in the middle of nowhere—no, really—in the middle of nowhere. Spring water—from actual springs—spouting out of mountainside rocks, waiting for you to take a sip. Help yourself corn, firewood and apple stands—leave your money in the coffee can and make your own change—corn, firewood and apple stands. Watering holes—the no beer served here, bring your bathing suit because I’m actually talking about a waterhole, waterhole—tucked away here and there.

Loons as far as the eye can see. The sweet echo of their call, the only sound for miles. In some ways comforting, in others, an almost nostalgically happy melancholy. Either way, it penetrates your soul.

The Adirondacks have hundreds of summits, countless lakes and more activities to do than time to do them. Life is meant for the Adirondacks. Seasons are meant for the Adirondacks. Planting gardens in the spring – life blooms as far as the eyes can see in the spring. Swimming, kayaking, boating, golfing, fishing and camping in the summer. World-renowned—reserve your room at the inn three years in advance—fall foliage (the best time of year to take a hike if you ask me). Skiing, ice skating, sledding, ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter. Capping off a day on the slopes with mulled wine at The Cottage in Lake Placid. Walden.

The Adirondack Life. Something to be treasured. Tonight, I’m going to sip my wine in an Adirondack Chair, breathe that Adirondack air and dream about the Adirondack Great Camp I’ll someday own.