Men have always been fascinated by domes, structures which seem to rise against all odds high into the sky. People have been made famous by constructing some.
However the most Majestic are not manmade and sometimes they are experienced best when reduced to an insignificant speck next to them.
For the past two days I have ridden over one of America’s largest domes.
Unlike the chains of mountains up and down the East Coast that make up the Appalachians, the Adirondacks sit isolated by themselves high in the northern part of New York State.
I was concerned about crossing the White Mountains and Green Mountains of New England and just took for granted the passage through the rounded peaks of upstate New York.
I am wiser through my mistake.
For two days I climbed higher and higher in a step wise motion and after 120 miles finally reached the top near Old Forge.
High above Lake Champlain to the East and Lake Ontario to the West the gentle curves flatten near the top allowing high wet lands for nesting birds.
Multiple lakes dot the landscape making for a vacation wonderland but frigid winter conditions limit the human population for more than 6 months of the year.
This K-12 school closed long, long ago.
In addition with much of the land protected by the National Park Service occupational options here are quite limited.
After several hours of exhaustive climbing over the past two days I begin a slow descent of 85 miles to Lake Ontario just west of Polaski.
The ride, though long is much easier given the gradual almost imperceptible drop in elevation of 1800 feet. With long stretches of coasting I give thought to the fact that I am riding down the side of a dome.
With time to think I am reminded of an experiment I did many years ago, a comparison of the perfection of the surface of a cue ball to that of the shape of the earth.
In high school we learn that our planet is slightly fatter at the equator, flattened at the poles and surface pitted with high mountains and deep ocean trenches.
However when compared to the most perfect cue ball, the earth is in fact a more perfect sphere and smoother than anything man can make.
What does this have to do with riding?
Up, up, up I climb, exhausted by the time I reach the top of this great dome covered in beautiful forests and dotted with wonderful lakes…down, down, down I speed letting caution go to the wind chasing rapid streams and rivers.
Yet for all my adventures I have in fact been moving along the surface of a sphere more smooth and perfect than anything manmade.
How ironic that on the surface of this perfect sphere my tiny size allows me to see the irregularities and more importantly the Beauties of this Majestic Dome.
Sometimes it is good to be humble, tiny, and insignificant…