Quest For Beauty


Leonard, one of camp’s newest 46ers, wrote this poem, which he read at the final camp service of the summer.  Written about the Advanced Section’s sunrise climb up Haystack Mountain, the poem eloquently evokes the feelings many have in the mountains.

A voice in the dark cuts through my deep slumber, causing disturbance and confusion until all at once I remember where I am.

The hard packed earth of our campsite is cushioned by a layer of down, protecting me from the cold and harsh jungle outside. 

Once again, I hear the sound, ordering me out of the comfort of my tent, and into the darkness of the night.

The others emerge quickly awakened. A good man lends me his flashlight, nonchalantly saving my life, and we are ready.

We move together up the hidden trails; one strong pack, yet there is also a deep solitude felt by all – to be the only waking souls for miles around – as if we are kings of this desolate woodland realm, yet seeing only the smallest piece of it at once.

In the absence of light, the rich alpine scent takes over, sweet and subtle, with hints of mint and pine.

As we merge onto Haystack’s great rock face, the predawn winds glide across the mountain and envelope us, a constant reminder of the the bare and unprotected nature of this high and remote peak.

At the summit, I gaze deep into the eastern night, seeing only the outlines of the mountains that form the Adirondack Park.

Waiting for a glowing hint of sunlight, as the night draws to a close, a seemingly infinite rainbow emerges from the pitch black horizon.

Bit by bit, the trees, valleys, cliffs and slides are revealed, coming together to form a surreal and beautiful landscape, growing more detailed and illuminated, as the round and red ember at the center of our solar system floats out of the Champlain Valley.

As day breaks, the cold continues to sink in, the mountain’s way of telling us to once again awaken and continue our ever exerting quest for beauty.


Pok-O-MacCready Camps
1391 Reber Road, Willsboro, NY 12996

Located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains

[email protected]

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