St. Regis Canoe Area

In early September myself and two other friends went on a canoe camping trip in the St. Regis Canoe Area of  New York’s Adirondack Park. The weather would be perfect with nights dipping into the low 30’s. I loved this adventure and hope you enjoy some of the images from it.

September 8th I left my home in the Southern Tier of New York arriving in Lake Placid, NY 4.5 hours later. Here I would meet my friend Gary with Placid being our home for the night. We would do some paddling in the area, also hitting a few of the local breweries as well.

Early the next morning Gary & I would meet our friend Scott at our starting point “Little Clear Pond” for our adventure. Our canoes loaded and I mean loaded we were off for 4 days/3 nights of adventure.

Once across Little Clear Pond we would have a 1/2 mile canoe carry to St. Regis Pond. Each of us wound up doing a “Double Carry” due to our packs being so heavy. Our goal for this trip would be to hopefully snag the only lean-to on St. Regis Pond. Our hopes would be dashed as it was already occupied. No worries we scouted a great primitive campsite not too far away. We unloaded our gear, setup our site and we were off for a great little pond hopping adventure for the rest of the day.

We would paddle across the 400 acre St. Regis Pond to the 116 meter canoe carry into Green Pond, followed by a 255 meter carry to Little Long Pond, followed by a 315 meter carry to Bear Pond and lastly a 121 meter carry to Bog Pond. I’ve paddled most of these ponds mentioned here before. I love these little ponds, especially Little Long Pond. We would make it back to camp around 5:30 in order to get dinner cooking and the campfire going for the evening. Later that evening we would crack a few beers, peer through the tree canopy as millions of stars shined in the night sky.

Morning came and our first order of business was coffee! Our plan for the day was another pond hopping adventure with one of the carries being 1.4 miles. The day would contrast in many ways. I mean we had periods of sun and light mist. We also battled a little mud especially at the aptly named “Mud Pond” where I sank down to my waist. As my cohorts were laughing I was able to free myself rather quickly. 

My favorite from the day was “Fish Pond”. This pond is remote and takes some getting into. It does have two lean to’s on it and we decided to sit out some of the passing weather at one of them enjoying a hot fire and some lunch.

After spending most of the day paddling and carrying we found ourselves back at camp around 5PM. This seemed like a perfect time to get things in order, cook dinner and relax and watch the day fade into night. 

We were still exhausted the next day from our prior adventure and decided a camp day was just what we needed. We sat around and told tall tales, sipped some whiskey, paddled and even took a nap. We knew this coming night would be cold as overnight temperatures would dip to just around freezing. The night sky was clear and in the distance we could hear the thunder of Vermont’s Air National Guard and their F16’s doing some night training. The Adirondacks see’s a lot of that my guess is because of the low volume of air traffic but I’ve been wrong once or twice in my life.

With silence restored Gary and I sat and watched the Milky Way begin to appear as Scott snored away in his tent. Later we would be awakened by a crashing noise in camp and I thought to myself we have a bear in camp. I sprang up quickly grabbing my headlamp and peered out of my tent. Gary immediately did the same as Scott was sleeping😂. It turned out that we had three skunks checking out or homestead. They quickly dispersed into the woods and we never saw them again. However I had a difficult time getting back to sleep because of the loons and owls that began to jam at 0330. I will admit it was an amazing symphony.

The next morning it was cold and we quickly got the campfire started for some heat as well as coffee. We ate breakfast and chatted about our adventures. Afterwards we would break camp, douse our fire with water, load our boats and begin our journey out. 

Once we were back to our cars with boats loaded and gear packed it was time to hit Raybrook Brew House in Raybrook, NY for a late lunch and a few cold beers. Yeah that hit the spot!

Cheers!

Gary Sharp Lake Placid, NY September 8th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Pond hopping near Lake Placid, NY September 8th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Gary & I pond hopping near Lake Placid, NY September 8th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Loading up our boats at Little Clear Pond near Saranac Lake, NY September 9th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
We just paddled across Little Clear Pond to the 1/2 mile canoe carry to St. Regis Pond September 9th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Scott Ireland walking the plank St. Regis Pond September 9th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
I stepped in a little mud trying to launch at St. Regis Pond September 9th 2020. © Scott Ireland
Scouting campsites on St. Regis Pond September 9th 2020. © Scott Ireland
Coffee & campfires at our site on St. Regis Pond. © Joe Geronimo
We are at the canoe carry from Ochre Pond to Fish Pond which is 1.4 miles. September 10th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Taking a break on Fish Pond September 10th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Checking out the Blagden lean to on Fish Pond September 10th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Mud Pond, need I say more. September 10th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
We’ve just carried from St. Regis Pond to Ochre Pond September 10th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Paddling across the small Ochre Pond September 10th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Friday was camp day on St. Regis Pond. September 11th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Scott Ireland paddling across St. Regis Pond on our way out September 12th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Gary Sharp paddling across St. Regis Pond on our way out September 12th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Our adventure has come to an end at the Raybrook Brew House in Raybrook, NY.

 

Canoeing The Upper Susquehanna River

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.

Cheers!

Launching our canoes on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

My friend Marty on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

We’ve just entered the upper Susquehanna river paddling north towards Cooperstown, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Taking a break on the Cherry Valley Creek Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Making our way back down the Cherry Valley Creek near Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Dodging some rain and thunderstorms along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

My friend Marty eases his Northstar Phoenix around one of several hairpin turns along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Song of the Paddle

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.

Cheers!

Hemlock Canoe Works “Peregrine” Canadice Lake © Joe Geronimo

Looking north up Canadice Lake from a Hemlock Canoe Works Peregrine. © Joe Geronimo

Finished with my time paddling a Hemlock Canoe Works Peregrine on Canadice Lake. © Joe Geronimo

Cayuga-Seneca Canal

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!

Entering Lock CS4 (Eastbound) Cayuga Seneca Canal Waterloo NY July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

I’m holding onto the rope lines waiting to descend the 14.5 feet in Lock CS4 Waterloo NY July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

Exiting Lock CS4 after descending 14.5 feet (eastbound) Waterloo, NY July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

Paddling along the Cayuga Seneca Canal July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

Making our way along the Cayuga Seneca Canal July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

My cousin Chris and his wife Dawn along the Cayuga Seneca Canal July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

Entering lock CS4 (westbound) July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

 

Almost there! Waiting for the lock doors to open to continue July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

 

This is an image of the double locks CS 2/3 in Seneca Falls, NY  I took a few years ago. © Joe Geronimo

 

 

A Brief Update

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.

Paddling Jabe Pond in the Adirondack Park with my brand new Hornbeck Boats “New Tricks” 14′ pack canoe May 16th 2020.

 

Paddling my Adirondack Canoe Company 14′ 24# “Boreas” on Little Colby Pond in Saranac Lake, NY August 2019.

 

 

 

Camp Meal

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.

Maybe this dehydrating food isn’t so bad!

 

This is how I Social Distance

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.

Here’s to Social Distancing!

The Struggle is Real

Since the beginning of the year I have been running consistently and on a plan. I’ve also noticed small gains as my fitness slowly makes improvements. However I’ve also paid more attention to my bad runs where I’ve begun to notice a pattern emerging. In the past this is something I have not given any attention so I am intrigued to say the least.

My “Bad Runs” runs that I believe should have felt less effortless or where my heart rate seems higher than it should are due to several things in my opinion.

#1. Sleep or the lack of: Most mornings I get up at 0330 to be at work by 0430. I find it very difficult to go to bed before 8PM. I’m currently getting on average 6 hours per night. When I come home from work I try to take at least a 2 hour nap most days. I feel that sleep or proper rest plays a HUGE roll in the quality of our lives.

#2. Feeling Rushed: If I don’t give myself down time between work,life, etc and a run my heart rate has the tendency to be higher as well. I firmly believe if there is not a transition period that this definitely affects attitude, approach and performance. Also time constraints fall into this category as well.  I’m keeping a close eye on this one.

#3.Fear: Fear of getting hurt again rules the roost here, as does fear of failing in my workout. This is just a major part of my personality or as my wife calls it “The Mr. Excess” clause. As much as I want to say she’s crazy I can’t because she is 100% correct. Over the years I’ve struggled with this in many aspects. I’ve had this predetermined notion if you aren’t running big miles or fast paces you’re really not running. This is absolute foolish thinking on my part and a major reason of why I’m always injured.

The Positive: This past Sunday was my long run (8 Miles). This would be my longest run in well over a year. I got a good nights sleep, woke early and took the time to do my pre-run stretching, rolling and mentally eased myself into the workout. I was rewarded with a great run!

As I move forward I hope to learn and grow with this process. I also hope that even when I have a bad run/workout I can move past it and live for the next day.

Question: Do you struggle with anything similar?

Cheers!

Long run (8 Miles). This was a great run in my opinion.

My go to breakfast and post run fuel is:
“Chocolate Oatmeal” with raisins. 1 cup quick oats, 1 ounce serving raisins, 1 Tbsp mini chocolate chips and 3 packets Stevia sweetener.

 

 

Winter Hiking

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.

Nancy signing us into the trail register Blue Mountain Lake, NY © Joe Geronimo

Paused to take in the view as I make my way towards the summit of Blue Mountain. Photo by Nancy Lyons.

Nancy snaps a few photos as well. © Joe Geronimo

Arrived the summit of Blue Mountain. © Joe Geronimo

The 35 foot Blue Mountain fire tower stands encrusted in Mother Nature’s fury. © Joe Geronimo

The view of Blue Mountain Lake and others from the fire tower’s cabin. © Joe Geronimo

The summit of Blue Mountain provides a window into the eastern Adirondack high peaks. © Joe Geronimo

Making my way back down the trail from the summit of Blue Mountain. © Joe Geronimo