Because the summer season in the mountains hasn’t begun yet, the wildlife still have most of the park to themselves, even in the hamlets. We saw deer ambling across the lawns of summer cottages, enjoying the unmown grass. A wild turkey watched us from the side of the road, just outside town. We stopped one morning when we saw a teenage girl standing guard over a big snapping turtle that had wandered onto the road. “I don’t want it to get hit,” she said. We took turns poking and prodding the turtle until we were able to coax it off the pavement and down into a shady gully.
In the little town, many of the businesses were closed. No one stood in line at the ice cream stand. We had the public dock to ourselves as we wandered about in the evening sunlight. Floating docks were still pulled up on the shore all along the lake. The little playground, where we used to bring out kids when they were small, where in fact I played when I was small, was quiet. My father, who worked in the mountains as a musician back in the 1950s, always says, “The season in the mountains is really short. Just July and August.” It seems like he’s still right. The only people we saw were townspeople: the young couple who own the inn, an elderly woman who needed a ride to the grocery store, the teenager rescuing the turtle, and a couple of local boys sitting at the end of a pier after an afternoon of fishing.