In mid August I had the opportunity to paddle a portion of the upper Susquehanna river here in New York. In all honesty I really never thought much about it. When a friend suggested we do it I was intrigued.
We launched from the Crumhorn Pond/Susquehanna State Forest a few miles north of Portlandville, NY. Upon arrival I was shocked to see a Waterway Steward at the launch site checking boats for invasive species and washing them before they enter the water. In the Adirondacks I have seen many of these stewards but not so much around here. I think this is a great program!
The morning was warm and sunny as we slid our canoes into the water making our way from Crumhorn Pond into the Susquehanna. This section of the river differs immensely from where I live. The river is narrow and has more water due to the dam on Goodyear Lake. I loved the way the river snaked its way through the rural farm land of Central New York, throwing in a few hairpin turns just for fun.
Paddling north 4 miles to where the Cherry Valley Creek enters the river, we hung a right hand turn exploring the creek for about a mile. One spot we had to navigate a narrow passage due to a fallen tree across the creek. Shortly after we came to a point where we had to exit our boats due to low water and a small rock garden. We decided to take a break and have a snack and chat here for a bit before turning around and heading back. “Cherry Valley Creek is a 34.1-mile-long headwater tributary of the Susquehanna River in central New York. Cherry Valley Creek flows southwesterly through the Cherry Valley in Otsego County, making its way through the towns of Cherry Valley, Roseboom, and Middlefield before joining the Susquehanna River east of the village of Milford”.
On our way back that beautiful sunshine gave way to some storm clouds. We could hear thunder in the distance and we dodged a few rain drops as well. Thankfully the storm steered clear of us. As we entered Crumhorn Pond the boat launch had a few more people starting their day on the river. This was a fun 10 mile round trip adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the upper Susquehanna river in the near future.
This weekend I drove 260 miles round trip to Hemlock Canoe Works in the western Finger Lakes region of New York to test paddle they’re Peregrine. The Peregrine is a 15′ 9″ solo canoe and this particular one weighs in at 32 pounds. With its slotted spruce gunwales, butternut decks and walnut inserts, she’s a beauty!
I’m use to light weight pack canoes where the paddler sits on the bottom of the boat. I actually have two of these built by two different New York canoe builders. In my limited experience with solo canoes I believe traditionally the paddler kneels. Well I have a hard time kneeling since my knee surgery back in 2019. I spent over an hour sitting and paddling this canoe and over an hour kneeling in it as well.
Sitting: This canoe is setup for kneeling but I found it very stable while I was sitting and paddling. I also liked how I was able to move my legs around.
Kneeling: Once in the kneeling position this canoe became rock solid stable and it paddled more efficiently. I really liked it! With that said for some reason I was ok and my knees did not bother me.
I do plan on having it setup with the seat lower for sitting but will keep the shorter drops if I feel like kneeling.
This demo canoe will become available around mid October so I put a deposit on it giving me first choice at purchase of it. Is it October yet!
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have three beautiful canoes built right here in New York.
This week has been fun as my wife and I have spent it relaxing at our families lake house. My cousin and his wife own a summer home on the same small lake also. A few days ago the four of us decided to take a ride to the Cayuga-Seneca Canal in Waterloo, NY for an afternoon of locks and paddling.
The Cayuga-Seneca Canal is approximately 20 miles long linking Cayuga Lake with Seneca Lake or vice versa. Our plan was to launch from Oak Island in Waterloo, pass through lock CS4 (14.5 feet lift) and head east towards Seneca Falls. The highest single lift on the canal is found at Locks CS2 and CS3 in Seneca Falls. Each having a lift of 24.5 feet for a total lift of 49.0 feet. Our hopes were dashed as lock CS 2/3 is closed and under construction until early-mid August.
Paddling along we only saw one boat heading towards Seneca Lake. This boat was huge and traveling at the canal speed limit of 10MPH still produced a very large wake. But that was it, no other boats or paddlers did we see. Ducks, Herons, turtles, various types of birds were in abundance along the canal. I even spotted a very large tree that beavers had been hard at work on.
We spent several hours enjoying our time on the water, however it was hot and breezy requiring us to stop at Three Brothers Winery & Warhorse Brewing a few miles away in Geneva, NY. We had also wanted to stop at Bottomless Brewing in Geneva as well but they are closed on Mondays.
This was a fun day and look forward to paddling more of the canal in the future, cheers!
Over the past month we’ve had some really beautiful weather along with a few real scorchers thrown in. Back in mid June I had the opportunity to go canoe camping in one of my favorite places in the Adirondacks with my friends Gary and Amy.
Amy had gotten there on Thursday in order to secure a campsite. With the State Campgrounds shutdown the back country sites were filling up fast. She was able to get one of the last two sites on Follensby Clear Pond. Gary arrived early Friday morning and I got to the launch around 12:30 that afternoon.
I’ve read the stories, seen the pictures and dreamed of one day being here myself. My canoe loaded with the hope I didn’t forget anything, the register signed, my map spread out I was off on my 1.75 mile journey to our campsite at the northern end of Follensby.
Once at camp I set up so I would not have to do it in the dark later. Afterwards the three of us did a short paddle and carry over to Green Pond paddling under marshmallow skies above reflecting in crystal clear green waters below.
Back at our campsite and dinner cooking I was really eyeing Amy’s solo canoe. Most of my experience has been with kayaks and pack canoes. So as the fire in the sky flickered I asked Amy if I could take her canoe for a test drive. Amy paddles a 16′ 6″ Wenonah Prism ultra light kevlar that weighs 32#’s. From the first strokes of my paddle I fell In love with it. (I plan on adding this or something similar to my collection come fall)
Later that evening as we sat around the campfire the loons were pretty much at it all night. I retired to my tent around 12:30AM and was woken around 3:30AM just as a chorus of owls had joined the loons, their voices echoing through the stillness. Thankfully I was able to fall back asleep finally stirring around 7:00AM.
Gary was awake and boiling water for his coffee. I walked down to the lake scooped some water fired up my Jetboil and a few minutes later I was relaxing with a hot cup of Joe myself. Not too long after Amy would emerge from her tent as well.
Today’s plan would have us paddling a loop from Follensby Clear Pond to Horseshoe Pond, Little Polliwog Pond, Polliwog Pond and back to Follensby. This would be a very nice relaxing 7.15 mile adventure according to my GPS. We got back to our campsite shortly before a thunderstorm rolled through. Once the stormed blew over we had a wonderful evening again by the fire.
My original plan was to paddle out of camp on Monday morning and make the long drive home then. But it was Sunday morning (Father’s Day) and I was missing my boys. I decided to break camp, paddle out that morning and get home to have dinner as a family and hang with my sons, I made the right decision. Amy and Gary did the same as well.
This was a fun adventure with some great friends. With so many more places to explore I hope to get back there soon.
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It has been a while since I’ve written so I figured I’d give you all a brief update. On May 16th I traveled to the Adirondacks to pick up a new canoe I had made. I purchased a Hornbeck Boats New Tricks, this pack canoe is 14 feet long and weighs 24 pounds.
I cannot express enough how fortunate I feel to own two beautiful canoes handcrafted right here in New York. Some people collect cars, me I have begun to collect canoes. I’m Looking forward to this years adventures, however I’m not sure what they might be as our world is different now and I plan to adapt accordingly.
I really do not like dehydrating food, I find it to be more hassle than worth. However since I have a lot of free time these days I decided to dehydrate some food to pass the time.
Packing light weight is an integral part of my canoe camping adventures. Some of my trips require carrying distances between ponds and lakes. One way to keep things light are dehydrated meals.
I did some experimenting with pasta and sauce. It rehydrates really easy and packs a caloric punch after a long day.
I started with one pound of cooked rotini pasta, a 16oz jar of pasta sauce plus 4 more ounces, one can sliced mushrooms drained and 1 cup frozen peas. I used rotini because a lot of the research I’ve done shows that it holds the sauce better. After cooking, draining and letting the pasta completely cool I combined all ingredients in a bowl covered it with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge overnight.
The next morning I spread the pasta over my dehydrator trays and let it go for 9 hours. Once dehydrated I put it into a ziplock bag and weighed it. It weighed in at 18 ounces.
Yesterday afternoon I weighed out 8 ounces and began the rehydration process. Once the water was boiled I covered the pasta leaving just a little exposed, covered it and let sit exactly 20 minutes. The rehydration time was just about perfect and the taste was great. My wife even enjoyed tasting it as well.
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood and I had the itch to get outside with my stove and cast Iron skillet and do some cooking.
I’ve had this Uberleben twig stove for about a year now and this thing is just awesome. It had no issue what so ever supporting my 10″ 6.5# cast iron pan. It literally took two minutes for the pan to get hot and start cooking.
Approximately 20 minutes and two beers later the peppers and onions were cooked to perfection! I’ve used this fire breathing monster on several of my past canoe camping trips and again it works perfectly.
For your viewing pleasure I present to you a fun video of my recent winter hike to the Blue Mountain fire tower . Thanks to my friends at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery for a place to park my tired self and some great beer after an awesome day in the park.
Living in New York State we get winter, or something that resembles it depending on the year. I’ve learned to embrace it because it can be long and cold. Over the past few years I’ve been out and about our local parks and trails hiking with my snowshoes. I find winter hiking to be some of the most beautiful and peaceful time to be outdoors. Recently I had the opportunity to change things up a little. So I hopped in my car and headed for the Adirondacks.
A few hours later I arrived at the trailhead of the 3759 foot summit of Blue Mountain. This 2 mile trail (One Way) climbs 1670 feet in elevation with moderate to steep grades, ending at the fire tower. At the trailhead I met my friend Nancy an experienced hiker who would go with me since this would be my first winter hike with considerable elevation.
We decided that we didn’t need snowshoes and that micro spikes would be sufficient since the trail was very well packed. This is a very popular hike in any season. It was sunny and in the low 30’s when we began and quickly I had to stop to remove my jacket putting in my backpack. The trail climbed steeply as we bumped into our first hikers coming down from the summit around the one mile mark. We stopped and chatted for a little before continuing. We would see three more before reaching the summit.
The closer we got to the summit the snow got deeper, the temperatures colder and you could feel the wind picking up through the trees. Just before coming out of the tree line I stopped and layered back up before exposing myself to the open summit. Stepping out into the open the Blue Mountain fire tower stood proudly at an additional 35 feet encrusted in snow and ice.
Climbing the tower to the observers tower the wind was whipping pretty good and my fingers were so cold even through my gloves while trying to take some photos. The stairs were covered in at least 6 inches of snow and ice and the cabin had at least a foot of snow inside. The handrails were also encased in ice.
Even though there was a vast temperature difference between the base and summit the warm sun was doing its best to remove Mother Nature’s grasp. Chunks of ice had begun to fall off the tower like crystals falling from a chandelier crashing to the ground into pieces. The trees at the summit were encrusted in snow and ice giving them a powdered sugar look, it was breathtaking.
We spent about an hour at the summit taking in the sheer beauty, chatting with a few hikers who had come up the trail shortly behind us. I was completely hooked on winter hiking.
Once down and back to my car, putting my gear away it was time to head south to Old Forge where I would spend the night. But not before a stop at Fulton Chain Craft Brewing for a couple of well earned beverages.
I absolutely loved this experience and I hope to do some more winter hiking in the Adirondacks in the future.