Day Tripping

Brown’s Tract Ponds:

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.

A little wind along Upper Pond near Raquette Lake NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Gretchen and I on Upper Pond near Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Kathy navigating over a small beaver damn along the connecting stream between Upper Pond & Brown’s Tract Pond near Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
It is Gretchen’s turn to get over one of those beaver damns June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
I’m entering Brown’s Tract Pond near Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Gretchen & Kathy chatting it up on Brown’s Tract Pond near Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Gretchen has just entered Brown’s Tract Pond near Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
One of the wooden ladders I spoke of in my post on Brown’s Tract Pond near Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Kathy & Gretchen on Brown’s Tract Pond near Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Finished with the Upper Pond & Brown’s Tract Pond near Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Coffee O’ Clock along Brown’s Tract Pond near Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, photo by Kathy Corey.

South Inlet:

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.

Cheers!!

Beginning my adventure on South Inlet in Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
a sizable beaver lodge along South Inlet in Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Approaching South Inlet falls in Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
South Inlet falls in Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Taking a break at South Inlet falls Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Approaching the Route 28 overpass and the entrance to Raquette lake June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
My time on South Inlet has come to an end hear in Raquette Lake, NY June 20th 2018, © Joe Geronimo.
Advertisements

Autumn in the Air

Cool and crisp as an Autumn morning should be. This morning my cars thermometer read 38 degrees as I drove the backroads to Nanticoke lake. Arriving under a blanket of fog and now 35 degree temperatures it was time to unload my canoe and hit the water. My friend Don from Ithaca who I met last summer while paddling another area lake was joining me as well on this small hidden gem near Center Lisle. The fog seemed to roll across the lake as a slight wind kept the water from being glass like. Right before the 0659 sunrise the Canadian Navy (Canadian Geese) were doing maneuvers as well as the local beavers. One beaver in particular wasn’t too fond of me being close to his lodge and thought it would be fun to try and splash me with a few “THWACKS” of his tail, he was unsuccessful! I did however slowly back away to witness the three of them playing and pushing one another around for a short while.

The sun had finally broke over the tree tops creating pockets of beautiful color along the shoreline. The color is definitely beginning to show here and it made for a nice backdrop for a beautiful setting.

At 46 acres with a maximum depth of 20 feet, sitting at 1,400 feet of elevation, Nanticoke lake was originally constructed in the 1970’s with the intention of establishing a wild, self sustaining brook trout fishery similar to those found in the Adirondacks. Unfortunately, due to low dissolved oxygen levels in the summer months, brook trout survival was extremely limited.

Notes: From the parking area to the lake is a 1/4 mile carry on a well maintained trail. Having a 17lb canoe made this extremely easy, however Don used a set of canoe wheels to wheel in his canoe into the lake.

Early morning on Nanticoke lake September 28th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo.
Early morning on Nanticoke lake September 28th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo.
Don Welch taking in the Autumn beauty on Nanticoke lake September 28th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo.
Don Welch taking in the Autumn beauty on Nanticoke lake September 28th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo.
Blue Heron on Nanticoke lake September 28th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo.
Blue Heron on Nanticoke lake September 28th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo.

The Return to Long Pond:

For the first time this year I was able to finally get out in my canoe this evening. I made the 40 minute trip to Long Pond near Smithville Flats. Launching my boat I made my way down the pond. The water was placid and the surroundings quiet only to be disturbed periodically by the chorus of song birds. Looking off to my right I noticed a female Canadian goose sitting atop a mound. I instantly realized that she was with her young.

Female Canadian goose with her chicks. Image © Joe Geronimo.
Female Canadian goose with her chicks May 11th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo.

Moving on quietly the silence of Long Pond was interrupted by a fisherman hacking his brains out as I watched him return his cigarette to his mouth. I paddled into a cove on the east end only to be greeted by two more fisherman sitting along the shoreline. After a few words I was on my way again slowly paddling along the shore.

I paused for a few minutes in an attempt to photograph a Northern Flicker but it proved fruitless. Then I caught a glimpse of movement from the corner of my right eye. Slowly I turned and there I spied a beaver having some dinner. I dipped my paddle in the water and turned my boat cautiously toward him. A few soft paddle strokes to move closer. This beaver has yet to notice my presence as I ever so slightly reach for my camera. Click, click, click and he still does’t know I’m there. Click, click, click and now his attention turns to me and he disappears into the brush.

I patiently waited to see if he would return but to no avail. I returned back up the pond to the launch site feeling excited about my return to Long Pond.

Beaver having some dinner on Long Pond. Image © Joe Geronimo.
Beaver having some dinner on Long Pond May 11th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo.

Coffee O’Clock

My morning coffee on Long Pond. © Joe Geronimo
My morning coffee on Long Pond.
© Joe Geronimo

Awakened by the aroma of freshly brewing coffee, its 4AM and I stumble my way downstairs. I reach for the coffee pot and pour myself a cup, taking a few sips, ahhhhh! I fill my waiting thermos like the belly of a dragon, slinging my camera bag over my shoulder, reaching for my car keys and out the door I go.

Shrouded in heavy fog I arrive forty five minutes later at Long Pond. Its quiet today compared to Friday morning. A few bullfrogs murmur and in the distance I can hear a Pileated Woodpecker attempting his breakfast. The water is smooth as glass, the silence becomes deafening only to be disturbed by what sounds like the pitter patter of little feet across a hard wood floor. Dew dripping from the many low hanging trees ripple the pond’s placid water.  I paddle my way along the shoreline littered with lily pads.

Slowly I enter a few bogs looking for signs of life. All is quiet on the western front. I meander for a bit only to be startled by a beaver who has surfaced next to my kayak. He retreats and I’m in pursuit. Cautiously I paddle finding his lodge which he is now proudly protecting. We court one another and I give him some distance. He again retreats and I stand my ground, floating patiently waiting for his return. I pour a cup of coffee for the long haul, shortly after he reappears, THWACK! He then disappears into the fog only to repeat his actions again and again. I begin to wonder, is he angry or is he playing? This display would continue over the next forty five minutes. My camera’s motor drive echoing the haunted sound of a gatling gun at war.

Mr. Beaver @ Long Pond © Joe Geronimo
Mr. Beaver @ Long Pond
© Joe Geronimo
MR. Beaver @ Long Pond © Joe Geronimo
MR. Beaver @ Long Pond THWACK!
© Joe Geronimo
Beaver Long Pond_03SB
Mr. Beaver on Patrol @ Long Pond © Joe Geronimo

Continuing my journey back up the pond and still covered in a heavy fog I notice a lone fisherman in a canoe. As I get closer a friendly voice greets me “Good Morning” I reply in kind. We paddle towards one another and strike up a friendly conversation. Don is from Ithaca and he enjoys the fishing on Long Pond. He has also paddled the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, the entire length of the Susquehanna, amongst other places. Don casts his line. Almost immediately he gets a hit. I back my boat away to give him room to reel in this catch, camera at the ready. Don had caught a Chain Pickerel. This was his third of the morning and he had only been on the water twenty minutes. I ask Don for his email address so I can send him a photo, he agrees. After a few more minutes we part ways and I shortly after am loading my kayak back onto my car, thus far ending another episode at Long Pond.

A Lone Fisherman (Don) on Long Pond © Joe Geronimo
A Lone Fisherman (Don) on Long Pond
© Joe Geronimo
Don nabs a Chain Pickerel on Long Pond © Joe Geronimo
Don nabs a Chain Pickerel on Long Pond
© Joe Geronimo

This Mornings Chorus

Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo
Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Arriving Long Pond State Forest shortly before 5AM and stepping out of my car into a witch’s brew of fog and mist I was greeted by a melodic symphony unlike any I have ever heard before. The sound was so rhythmic and so soothing that I had to pause and pause I did.

The wildlife was in rare form on this placid pond nestled just outside of the small village of Smithville Flats. The harmony of vast tones sung by a variety of birds had the forest alive, the who’s who of owls on backup vocals, the Pileated Woodpecker providing percussion and filling out the baritone section was the charge of many a bullfrog.

Unpaused now and launching my kayak, I slowly threaded my way out into the darkness only to be spooked by a rather large beaver rising from the depths and then rapidly disappearing. Several fish as well made their way over to greet me wondering who was coming to visit. Off in the distance the amber glow of a Coleman lantern barely able to pierce the fog as soft voices of campers could be heard against the stillness.

Continuing my slow paddle I made my way to the opposite end of the pond all the while my mind had been conjuring up romantic thoughts of exploring this beautiful world. In the background the symphony was still going strong as Mr. Bald Eagle had finally strutted on stage, his screeches echoing off the hillsides for the encore.

With the sun now poking its head over the treetops, pockets of fog and mist vanishing, the sky above painted and the greens of spring along the shoreline popping, Long Pond was alive.

Mr. Bald Eagle thought it was fun to taunt me, moving from perch to perch in his attempt at breakfast. He however did provide ample photographic opportunities but this fellow left the house without “Big Glass” this morning. None the less I was determined and pursued Mr. Eagle.

Returning to my launch site I came upon two fisherman preparing their small boat, a brief conversation was struck and we went our separate ways. Loading my kayak onto the car and gazing back out over the pond the fog and mist had vanished. Just as quickly had the fog and mist vanished, this mornings beautiful chorus was fading into the distance like that of a steam engine’s whistle making its way towards another town.

With Long Pond now in the rear view mirror and the open road ahead I thought to myself how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place.

Time for my coffee, cheers!

http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/8180.html

Sunrise Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo
Sunrise Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo
Mr. Bald Eagle taunting me. Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo
Mr. Bald Eagle taunting me. Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Guy Life Adventure

I’m back in Vermont. Every summer my sons and I venture to Vermont and New Hampshire for some guy life adventure. Our trip began EARLY on Sunday the 25th but not before starting the day with a 5.5 mile run. Making a brief stop in Castleton Vermont along Lake Bomoseen in order to trade our canoe for a kayak. Have to love the barter system! My son Max was the only member of our family without a kayak. Now the entire family is kayaked up!

Our main focus of this trip is to photograph moose in their environment. Day one we were skunked on the moose but I was able to come away with a few images that might ooh & aah! As I pen this post the weather isn’t looking to promising so lets see what day two brings?

Cheers!

Yellow Rumped Warbler along Long Pond in Benton, New Hampshire.
Yellow Rumped Warbler along Long Pond in Benton, New Hampshire.
Beaver looking for some dinner on Long Pond in Benton, New Hampshire.
Beaver looking for some dinner on Long Pond in Benton, New Hampshire.
This couple canoeing on Long Pond in Benton, New Hampshire really caught my attention. The red & yellow life jackets really popped in evening sun.
This couple canoeing on Long Pond in Benton, New Hampshire really caught my attention. The red & yellow life jackets really popped in evening sun.