New England Rendezvous

Finished with exploring Henderson lake I reloaded all my gear into and onto my car and began the slow journey from New York to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Making a quick stop in Ticonderoga for fuel and food before crossing at Crown Point. There is no highway that runs west to east in Vermont so the 158 miles to my destination was slow but the scenery more than makes up for it. Leaving the Champlain Valley my favorite section of this adventure is on route 17 as you cross the Green Mountains and descend into the Mad River Valley. There are six hairpin turns I believe on this section of road.

I would spend the next several days visiting with friends and doing what I enjoy most. Roaming around Vermont and New Hampshire taking in their beauty. Over the past several years I have visited the town of Newport, VT and Newport has really grown on me. Nestled along the US/Canadian border, Newport sits at the southern end of Lake Memphremagog. Lake Memphremagog stretches 32 miles to the southeastern Quebec city of Magog. I hope to someday kayak parts of this lake which oddly enough is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. After a long day and as we were 200 hundred yards or so from the house my friends truck would lose its brakes to a ruptured brake line. All I can say is thank goodness it happened close to home.

On our way to Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch State Park we are climbing route 112 which is also called the Kanc (Kancamagus Highway) cresting near Beaver Pond we noticed smoke along the Kinsman Range. It appeared that a small forest fire had started and personnel were on the scene. Continuing on to Cannon Mountain we would take the tram to the summit. As the tram car climbed the winds increased quite considerabley and the temperatures dropped as well. At the top we made our way to the tower, a viewing platform where on a clear day you can see for over one hundred miles. The fog and clouds were rolling over the mountain tops playing a game of hide and seek with the sun.

Afterwards we stopped to check out the “The Basin”. The Basin is a 20 foot diameter granite hole at the base of a beautiful waterfall. Some say it had been eroded 15,000 years ago while the North American ice sheet was melting. Over time The Basin has been smoothed small stones and sand, whirled around by the Pemigewasset River.

Stopping in North Woodstock, NH at the Woodstock Station Inn & Brewery for lunch it was so sunny and warm at this point we chose to sit outside. I sampled some of their beers with my favorite being the 4,000 footer IPA. For lunch I would knock down their adult grilled cheese sandwich with a side of chili.

Heading back west over the Kanc we noticed there was a lot more smoke than earlier this morning. A helicopter was also on he scene making water drops on the mountain side. We would spend the next 90 minutes watching and photographing the efforts of all involved. I’ve never witnessed a forest fire of this size about (5 acres) at the time up close. Looking at the sheer rock cliffs one could see the firefighters trying to advance. The aggressive sound of their chainsaws cutting timber in efforts to battle the blaze could be heard echoing down below. The heat from the fire was causing slides and I could see trees falling. According to news reports that I have read there is speculation the fire was caused by a meteor strike which is unconfirmed at this time. As a note this section of the White Mountain National Forest is also part of the Appalachian Trail.

The next afternoon I would begin my long trek back home taking me 6.5 hours. The traffic on route 4 across Vermont was horrible and slow going. I was glad to be home!

See you in Old Forge….

Our morning begins in West Newbury, VT. © Joe Geronimo
On top of Cannon Mountain Franconia Notch State Park, NH. © Joe Geronimo
Cannon Mountain tram arriving the summit Franconia Notch State Park, NH. © Joe Geronimo
Cannon Mountain tram Franconia Notch State Park, NH. © Joe Geronimo
Echo lake view from the Cannon Mountain tram, Franconia Notch State Park, NH. © Joe Geronimo
The Basin Franconia Notch State Park, NH. © Joe Geronimo
Forest fire White Mountain National Forest N. Woodstock, NH © Joe Geronimo

Forest fire White Mountain National Forest N. Woodstock, NH © Joe Geronimo
Forest fire White Mountain National Forest N. Woodstock, NH © Joe Geronimo
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Exploring Henderson Lake

Originally I was supposed to be hiking Mt. Washington today. I had to cancel my plans as Max was marching in the Maine Endwell homecoming parade on Saturday and I did not want to miss it. I love watching and listening to him play in the high school band.

Recently I had been reading that Henderson lake in Newcomb, NY was spectacular to paddle offering breathtaking views of the Adirondack high peaks. Henderson lake is also the headwaters of the 315 mile Hudson river. I contacted friends Gary Sharp and Chad Smith and made alternate plans. After the homecoming parade that afternoon I packed up and headed north to the Adirondacks stopping in Lake George for a couple of hours to catch up with friends. Afterwards I would continue my northward trek making it to Schroon Lake, NY for dinner at a bar called Flanagan’s. After dinner I drove to my new favorite place to car camp along Blue Ridge road in North Hudson. I threw on an extra layer of clothing knowing it was going to be a cold night in the mountains. All settled in it was time to get some rest.

I woke early Sunday morning 0430 and peered out the window to see the night sky littered with stars. Falling back asleep I would find myself wide awake by 0600 and the fog had rolled in, it was a chilly 33 degrees. Once the sun began to shed some light on the day I packed up and drove to meet Gary and Chad in Newcomb. Cell service in these parts is very sparse and I never saw Chad’s message that he had to cancel. Gary and I would make our way to the parking area, load our gear for the short half mile carry to the put-in on Henderson lake. As we arrived the last of the fog was pretty much all burnt off and the sun was warming things quite nicely. A good 5-6 MPH wind had reared its ugly head adding some small whitecaps to our adventure.

Gary and I were off exploring the shoreline and taking in some of the views. My favorite had to be the view of Indian Pass and the huge cliffs on Wallface. At the northwest end of the lake Gary and I would take out for a little exploration and coffee at a lean-to. This is a great place to camp and carry the 1.7 miles to the Preston Ponds. But we will leave that to another time. We spent about an hour enjoying our coffee, conversation and a small brook and waterfall. Back in our boats we zig-zagged along the lake back to where our adventure started. The color is almost nonexistent and what is there is very muted. The birch trees have been stripped bare of their leaves as well.

Great day spent paddling, see you all in Vermont!

Gary and I getting ready to set out on Henderson lake in Newcomb, NY October 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Poking around one of the bays on Henderson lake in Newcomb, NY October 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo
View of Indian Pass and the cliffs on Wallface from Henderson lake in Newcomb, NY October 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Gary and I enjoying some hot coffee at the lean-to on Henderson lake in Newcomb, NY October 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo
A small waterfall along a brook that empties into Henderson lake in Newcomb, NY October 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Gary and I exploring Henderson lake in Newcomb, NY October 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Gary signing us out at the DEC register Upper Works trailhead in Newcomb, NY October 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo

Welcome Fall

It’s September 22nd 2017 4:02PM and I am teaming with excitement as the Autumn Equinox has officially begun. Fall is by far my favorite time of the year. There is so much to be excited about. Crisp temperatures, changing and falling leaves and the fall harvest of fruits and vegetables. I personally love the apples and squash that come into season this time of year.

For me Autumn also enhances my love of running and canoeing. There is just something peaceful and magical about the crunching of leaves underfoot, our hillsides burning with reds, yellows and oranges or a placid lake at sunrise or sunset. No matter what you enjoy doing Autumn is a perfect time of year to be outside!

Autumn in the Air

While summer slips into Autumn I am reminded at how much I enjoy fall paddling in the Northeast. I try to take every advantage I can get to be out on the water whether by myself or with my family. Sadly this summer I/we have not been on the water much and Max and I have not even taken the Cownoe out together.

The boys and I had plans to camp and canoe in the Fish Creek Ponds area of the Adirondacks this summer but we had to cancel. However not all was lost. Julie, Max & I took advantage of the nice weather this past weekend and made the short drive to Nanticoke lake in Lisle, NY. Nanticoke is a small and quiet lake. This is partly due to the quarter mile hike in from the parking area.

I also learned a very valuable lesson for the future as well. An 18 foot 47lb canoe with gear and a 30 lb kayak strapped on top make for a heavy portage. The lesson I learned is two canoe carts instead of one and your shoulders will thank you.

To our surprise we discovered two other people kayaking, a sight I have not seen here before. Then again I’m mostly here at sunrise.

No matter what you enjoy doing Autumn is one of the best times to get out and do what you love, so enjoy!

Max and I canoe around Nanticoke lake in Lisle, NY September 10th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Julie kayaks on Nanticoke lake in Lisle, NY September 10th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Elsie getting her feet wet on Nanticoke lake in Lisle, NY September 10th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Max and I walking Elsie back out to our car from Nanticoke lake in Lisle, NY September 10th 2017. © Julie Geronimo
Julie made this image of me portaging all our gear back to our car from Nanticoke lake in Lisle, NY September 10th 2017. © Julie Geronimo

Props to the Adirondacks

October 2016 I spent a couple days kayaking in the Adirondacks under amazing Autumn skies. While on 7th lake I discovered Payne’s Air Service and was immediately intrigued. I’m not really a big fan of video and I think this was literally the fifth time using the video feature on my DSLR camera, but gave it a go. I only took a few very short clips. I asked my son if he would take them to school for me and merge them together.

The video is a bit bumpy most likely due to the motion of my kayak, however I think it represents the uniqueness of the Adirondacks.

Cheers!

The Yellow Submarine & Grilled Cheese

Five hours of sleep, a cup of coffee and an amazing wife who got up to take me over to Grippen Park in Endicott so I can kayak the Susquehanna this morning. Almost immediately I was greeted by an eager beaver. A few “Thwacks” of his tail and had disappeared. Burnt reds and oranges were on borrowed time while the yellows seemed to be clinging to the ropes of life waiting for Mother Nature’s knockout punch. The mirror like waters of the Susquehanna reflected the darkening skies to the west assuring there would be rain on my parade.

It was very quiet for the most part except for the chorus of my paddle. Along the way I spied several bald eagles, ducks, duck hunters, geese and quite a bit of fisherman as I glided towards the river walk in downtown Owego. Luck would be on my side today because almost immediately as I arrived under the highway bridge the skies opened up. With my gear packed into the kayak I lifted it up and over the rocks onto the river walk carrying it 100 yards to the street. Standing in the rain waiting for Julie to arrive a very kind woman offered me the shelter of her front porch.

Shortly after Julie would arrive and it was time for lunch. Several friends had recommended the Owego Kitchen on Lake Street, so off we went. It was warm and inviting with a great menu. Julie and I both ordered the french onion grilled cheese and I had the farmhouse chili as well. If you are ever in the area I strongly suggest a visit.

I paddled 13.60 miles in 3:05:24 with an average speed of 4.4 MPH.  When my alarm went off this morning I was seriously considering not going because of my lack of sleep. However I’m glad I chose wisely and took the opportunity.

Cheers!

GPS of my trip: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1427554364

Almost ready to go, Grippen Park Endicott, NY October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Almost ready to go, Grippen Park Endicott, NY October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Along the Susquehanna river Apalachin, NY October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Along the Susquehanna river Apalachin, NY October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
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Along the Susquehanna river between Apalachin and Campville, NY October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Approaching Hiawatha Island I came across several fisherman October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Approaching Hiawatha Island I came across several fisherman October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Getting close to Owego, NY October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Getting close to Owego, NY October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Arriving in downtown Owego, NY October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Arriving in downtown Owego, NY October 30th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo

A Short Susquehanna Sojourn

As we watch the colors of Autumn slowly fade into the grays of Winter I find myself taking advantage of every opportunity to be out on the water. Undeterred by the mornings brisk temperatures I decided to launch on the Susquehanna river along Conklin Ave yesterday. Paddling my way west under cloudy skies towards the “Rock Bottom” Dam I lay witness to the remaining pops of color grasping our hillsides. On my way back the wind would let me know who was in charge and the sun randomly checked on me the closer I got to my destination.

Back in my car it was time for some coffee at my favorite place, LaVeggio Roasteria

GPS: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1422611379

Along the Susquehanna river Binghamton, NY October 26th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Along the Susquehanna river Binghamton, NY October 26th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
The former Crowley's Milk plant and approaching "Rock Bottom" dam along the Susquehanna river Binghamton, NY October 26th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
The former Crowley’s Milk plant and approaching “Rock Bottom” dam along the Susquehanna river Binghamton, NY October 26th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Crossing under the railroad tracks the Binghamton Psychiatric Center is visible on the hilltop October 26th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Crossing under the railroad tracks the Binghamton Psychiatric Center is visible on the hilltop October 26th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Back on dry land and ready for some coffee Binghamton, NY October 26th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Back on dry land and ready for some coffee Binghamton, NY October 26th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo