Earlier this month myself and friend Gary Sharp spent several days camping at the Rollins Pond campground outside of Tupper Lake, NY. That morning as I left my home a light rain was falling however the further north I drove the rain began to dissipate. Over the next several days we were rewarded with blue skies and lots of sunshine. Temperatures would barely top 80 degrees and most importantly little to no bugs. September and October are my two favorite months of the year.
One of those days we would meet up with our friend Kim Wilkes and her pooch “Winnie” for an afternoon pond hopping adventure in the St. Regis Canoe Area of the Adirondacks. I’ve paddled and camped on these ponds before but they never get old.
The weather was sunny and warm with just a slight breeze if any. The water was refreshing and perfect for an afternoon swim. Below is a link to a video from the day.
September 9th 2021: Just coming off an overnight canoe camping trip to a lean-to in the St. Regis Canoe Area of New York’s Adirondack mountains (https://youtu.be/JeK0CwD7YKA) it was “New Canoe Day” for me. Earlier in the year I had ordered a Northstar Canoes “Northwind Solo” in the starlite layup. It was delivered to Raquette River Outfitters in Tupper Lake, NY in late August.
After picking up my canoe almost immediately I hit a small pond outside of Lake Placid, NY to get some time in my Northstar “Northwind Solo”. Later the same day I took it on a small section of the Chubb River also in Lake Placid where I tried to paddle over a beaver dam, I was successful! The next day I would spend some time paddling the canoe on the same pond but this time loaded with about 60#’s of gear. To date I have yet to take it on an extended trip. Although I am currently thinking I’ll be bringing it with me on my trip to Algonquin Park next summer.
My thoughts: The canoe is a dream to paddle, I love it. The tumblehome is great, it tracks amazingly, the glide is phenomenal, I just love how it handles and how it feels. The boats construction is solid and rigid. This canoe in my personal opinion is pretty much a do it all canoe, one of the best solo canoes I’ve paddled.
Why I opted for the starlite layup:#1. Cost #2. Ease of maintenance #3. Weight
My only complaint: The “Plastic” decks or end caps, they look cheap.
Northstar Northwind Solo specs: 15’6” Length 30” Max width, 26.5” at the 3” waterline and gunwale 17” Bow Height, 12” center height, 15” stern height 2.5” bow rocker, 1.5” stern rocker Weight: 27 Starlite / 29 Blacklite / 41 IXP Optimal Load: 170–340 lbs Displacement: 2” WL : 175 lbs 3” WL : 265 lbs 4” WL : 370 lbs
In October 2020 my wife and I along with some family and friends were in Lake Placid, NY for a long weekend enjoying some beautiful mid October weather. In October of this year 2021 I was in Lake Placid with a friend spending time canoeing and just taking in the amazing weather and fall color we were treated to.
Below are two images of the same location taken 361 days apart. I’m fascinated by the difference a year makes!
I would meet my friend Jerry who lives in the Hudson Valley along I-87 at the Clifton Park rest area before continuing onto the Village of Saranac Lake, NY. The weather was stellar as we launched that afternoon on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake making our way through Oseetah Lake and into Kiwassa Lake. We would take a break and have a snack at the campsite on Kiwassa before returning. We also checked out the lean-to site which was recently rebuilt. Afterwards we stopped in at Blue Line Brewing for a few cold ones and some amazing food. My favorite brew of theirs is the “Leaning Pine IPA”. Food there is excellent as well and I love their wings smothered in the Gilly sauce “Sweet & Tangy BBQ” and the pizza is great too!
October 13th: 7.85 miles of paddling
We began our morning outside of Lake Placid, NY capturing a few fall sunrise images before the clouds rolled in for the day. Afterwards we drove to Follensby Clear Pond where we launched our canoes exploring most of the pond along with the island lean-to site. We then would make our way through Spider Creek into the Fish Creek Ponds and Upper Saranac Lake, taking the reverse route returning back to the launch on Follensby Clear Pond. Due to the cloud cover we couldn’t see but there was no mistaking the fighter jets roaring overhead while on Upper Saranac Lake. Once back into Lake Placid we had an early dinner and drinks at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery before Jerry would have to make the long drive home. After Jerry took off it was just about sunset and I found myself taking my 3 mile run through Placid and around Mirror Lake before settling in for the night. Our adventures were fun and it gave us time to catch up since we haven’t seen each other in a few years.
I look forward to returning next October!
Canoes: Northstar Canoes: Northwind Solo – Hornbeck Boats: New Tricks 14
Cameras: DJI Osmo Action – Canon EOS 7D – Canon EOS 60D
As autumn approaches summer takes its final breaths. I find peace and reflection in a morning paddle on a small lake close to home. There is just something soothing about sipping a hot cup of coffee out in nature.
My newest addition to the fleet is a Northstar Canoes ” Northwind Solo”. This boat is in the starlite layup weighing 27#’s at 15′ 6″.
“The Bourbon Brothers” consisting of Scott Ireland, Gary Sharp & myself adopted a lean-to on a remote pond in the Adirondacks of New York.
Our brother Scott recently had dual knee replacement surgery and could not join Gary & I for our overnight journey to inspect the lean-to. Our trip into Fish Pond consisted of short and long carries. Our route began on Long Pond in the St. Regis Canoe Area as we paddled through Slang, Turtle and Clamshell Ponds in order to reach Fish.
Originally we had planned to return the following day via another route but had heard the mud on some of those carry trails was knee deep, so we opted to reverse route instead.
So please join us for our journey!
Canoes: Hornbeck Boats “New Tricks” 14
Camera: DJI Osmo Action Camera
“Recently the United States Military has been training over the Adirondacks. The roar of fighter jets could be heard above the clouds. Just as we arrived at the lean-to on Fish Pond an Army UH60 Blackhawk flew over. Although this stuff is neat it also disturbs the solitude that we seek in the wilderness.”
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!