The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Otis goes to Otis

This past week I was in Upstate New York on a business trip and when searching the map for things to in the area I turned up pretty much nothing...until, I noticed the name of this tiny city in Massachusetts about 60 miles from where I was staying. And that's when the goal was set, I needed to go take one of the most important pictures of my life.

Despite my fears that Otis, Massachusetts would be a total dive, it was actually quite cute. Nestled in a semi-mountainous region, filled with lakes and flowing streams, the town was quaint but in a really good way. Kids can go skiing on a mountain just outside of town and while quiet, everything is pretty well taken care of.

But, there really wasn't much to do in town and I had to get back to New York to catch a flight. On the way out though, I saw the town cemetery, where who knows...maybe one of my ancient relatives is buried*.

Something cool happened though on the way out of town I saw some people ice fishing. I thought about just moving on, but realized I would forever regret never having walked on a frozen lake if I didn't. Therefore, I pulled over the car, and called to the guys in the middle and asked where it was best to start walking. They ended up just laughing and said that the whole thing was safe. So I went out there and joined them and got a decent education on the joys of ice fishing. It actually seems like the best way to fish. You aren't stuck in a boat. You don't ever cast a line, you get to grill and hang out with your friends and drink beer. Basically everything lazy about fishing is rewarded with ice fishing. And like they told me, "It's the only way to walk on water without going to church." If nothing else, they would have made my dad proud because they went on a rant at how they hated Ted Kennedy and wish the old drunk would just keel over.

They ended up showing me how much ice was actually on the lake and I was pretty much blown away. If you look at the picture below you can see about 1.5 ft of white ice in the whole...however, that's really just the snow pack (much like the top of a glacier). The 'real' ice is actually below that and is a deep black color. That's where the real strength of the ice is and it's about the same thickness. In fact, some of the lakes in the area are so secure people bring their houses out onto the lake for the winter. I actually had a really good time talking to them for awhile, but had to cut it short because the slush was starting to soak through my tennis shoes.

So it turned out to be a great trip, I got my picture, visited with some locals, ate some decent ribs, talked with fishermen, and walked on my first frozen body of water.

I hope to get back there one day again, it's really nice and supposedly in summer and fall it's just mind-blowingly peaceful and beautiful.

*Just in case you are interested. The Otis family is actually one of the original settlers of America. They came over from Sussex County in England just a few miles from Stonehenge and were actually a somewhat prominent family. One of the most interesting characters in the whole line was James Otis, who is known for helping a lot of pre-Revolutionary War thinking. Most notably the quote, "Taxation without representation is tyranny." And is really one of the 'grandfathers' of our nation.

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