The gleaming warmth of the sun piercing our office window has me ever so excited that spring has sprung. More importantly some great canoe camping adventures are now in the planning stages. If that wasn’t exciting enough, I’m having two brand new carbon/kevlar canoes built for me by the Adirondack Canoe Company of Minerva, NY. Both canoes are of their “Boreas” design which are 14 feet in length. However one will be a pack canoe (24 pounds) that can be paddled with a kayak paddle and the other a traditional solo canoe (27 pounds). I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I’m getting both. To be honest I’m a huge fan of the pack canoe and I love the feeling of a double blade kayak paddle. With that said there is just something timeless about a solo canoe that draws me in as well.
Currently our dinning room table is littered with maps of the Adirondack Park and the Connecticut River Valley which straddles the borders of Vermont and New Hampshire.
My first almost completely planned trip which will take place in September has me in Lake George, NY for two days where I’ll be photographing the Lake George Triathlon Festival. After that my adventure brings me further north to the St. Regis Canoe Area for several days of pond hopping and exploring. Another component to this canoe/camp trip is that my friend Gary Sharp will be joining me. Gary is highly entertaining, a wealth of knowledge and just fun to be around. Oh and he likes beer!
Once I return to civilization I’ll take in the spectacle that is the Adirondack Canoe Classic ( 90 Miler) for three days as a volunteer with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Originally I had thought that I might want to paddle this event in 2019. After much self reflection I feel its better to be an observer in order to get a feel for it first.
The map below is currently a mock of my trip. I might add to it or even do it in reverse but it is still in the planning stages.
I encourage you to visit the Adirondack Canoe Company’s website at the link above or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Their boats are stunning!
If you like what you see here please share and follow my blog. “AdirondackJoe” can also be found on Facebook and Instagram as well.
On Wednesday June 20th I took a day trip to Raquette Lake, NY area in the Adirondacks to canoe with friends and explore a bit on my own. I met my friends Kathy and Gretchen in Old Forge. After a brief chat session we were headed to the Brown’s Tract Ponds near Raquette Lake.
We would put in on the smaller Upper Pond clinging to the shoreline circumnavigating the pond. There is a small, narrow stream that meanders a good half mile connecting Upper Pond to Brown’s Tract Pond. We entered the stream, the water was low but passible. We zigged and we zagged, encountered three small beaver damns and one foot bridge. We were able to paddle over the first damn but the other two and foot bridge we had to carry over. I enjoyed this very much as it added to the adventure.
Exiting the stream into the larger Brown’s Tract Pond a sizable island with large boulders caught my attention standing proud on the west side. Paddling around and up to the island I noticed two wooden ladders on a large rock. It seems this is a great spot to swim, picnic and jump off into the clear waters on a hot summers afternoon. I personally was a little cold yesterday at this point so I opted not to.
We would take out on the eastern shore at the unoccupied campsite #90 of the Brown’s Tract State Campground. Here we would take time for coffee, some snacks and great conversation. Sadly this is where Kathy, Gretchen and I would part ways for the day.
I still wanted to explore more and thought I would head north 12 miles along Route 28 to Utowana lake scope out the lean-to and then venture into Eagle lake . Rolling along I crossed over South Inlet which feeds into the very large Raquette lake and immediately jammed on my brakes. I had just read about an trip my friend Daniele had done into South Inlet all the way up to the waterfalls. This was my new plan!
I parked along the side of Route 28 and carried my canoe the short distance to the water, packed up my gear and I was off. I quickly bumped into a kayaker returning from the falls and a few minutes later I spotted a woman paddling a super cool Hornbeck and I stopped to chat with her. She was from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and oddly enough camping at the Brown’s Tract Campground. After I wouldn’t see another soul as I meandered my way 2 or so miles to the falls. Quickly the road noise of Route 28 disappeared and the whisper of my paddle entering and exiting the water could be heard and the remoteness of my surrounding and solitude of being on the water settled in. The work of a Pileated Woodpecker could be heard as a Red Tail hawk floated high above me like drone surveying the landscape. A chorus of all types of birds chirped their day away where it seemed I had a traveling symphony escorting me.
Arriving at the falls I was treated to a shallow pool of water dotted with rocks and a sandy bottom. This is a great swimming hole! I exited my canoe and waded around a bit cooling off as the days sun warmed the air. I spent about a half hour milling around on the rocks and just taking in my surroundings and a few photos.
Returning back to where I began this adventure I decided to venture out a bit into Raquette lake. Staying close to the shoreline as the wind was making some decent chop, I approached a gentleman in a kayak fishing and he immediately pulled a nice size small mouth bass from the lake. We made quick conversation and I was on my way.
It was around 4:30PM at this point and it was time for my canoeing to come to an end. Packed up I made the 25 mile drive back to Old Forge for a beer and food at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery before my 3 hour ride back home.
This adventure had me on the road at 5:30AM and back home safely by 9:00PM. I traveled a total of 375 miles, paddled approximately 10 miles and spent time with good friends.
It was back in the fall of 2009 when I discovered Canadice lake in the pages of “Life in the Finger Lakes” magazine. The story was called “Canoes & Kayaks on Canadice”, and I recall thinking to myself I need to go here! Finally nine years later I did.
This morning I made the two hour trip to the western Finger Lakes and Canadice lake. Canadice is the smallest of the eleven Finger Lakes. It boasts a 6.5 mile shoreline, stretches 3 miles in length, has a maximum depth of 95 feet and is only 0.3 miles at its widest. The shoreline is void of any human presence as this is the source of drinking water for the City of Rochester.
Launching under overcast skies and wind I paddled towards the north end of the lake. There was some good chop once out on the water due to the wind whipping up the lake, which oddly enough I really enjoyed. I pretty much had the lake all to myself except for one other person. Although this lake is considered small it still is a large body of water, and having the ability to paddle in these conditions helped reinforce my confidence on larger bodies of water. After about an hour the wind calmed down quite a bit and things smoothed out. Eventually I made it to the southend of the lake. This was my favorite part of the paddle. Exploring the marshy area I was treated to some of the wildlife, such as Herons, different bird species fluttering around and possibly an Otter. I couldn’t get close enough to tell as it could have been a beaver also. Bald Eagles are pretty common here but none were seen today. However the rapid succession of a Pileated Woodpecker could be heard echoing in the depths of the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest.
Paddling back north along the eastern shore I discovered a small car top boat launch. Here you would have to carry your boat about 100 feet from your car to the water. After getting back to where I launched, boat loaded and ready to head home I saw a truck with a trailer and 8 canoes go right by me. I thought to myself that is pretty awesome! On my way home I wanted to stop and check out that small launch I mentioned. As luck would have it there was that truck and trailer loaded with canoes parked at the launch site. Coming to a stop I noticed the lettering on the truck “Hemlock Canoes”, things just got even more exciting. I pulled over and got out. It turns out that the Hemlock Canoes shop is very close to Canadice and they were demoing boats for two potential customers. Some people stalk cars, I stalk canoes. One of those canoes I drool over is a Hemlock Peregrine. She’s 15′ 9″ and weighs in at 27 pounds and wouldn’t you know it there was one strapped to the trailer. Well you know me blah, blah, blah and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to test paddle that Peregrine. I see a new boat in my distant future.
I feel very lucky to be able to live and play in such a beautiful part of our state, cheers!