Canoe Camping

Over the past month we’ve had some really beautiful weather along with a few real scorchers thrown in. Back in mid June I had the opportunity to go canoe camping in one of my favorite places in the Adirondacks with my friends Gary and Amy.

Amy had gotten there on Thursday in order to secure a campsite. With the State Campgrounds shutdown the back country sites were filling up fast. She was able to get one of the last two sites on Follensby Clear Pond. Gary arrived early Friday morning and I got to the launch around 12:30 that afternoon.

I’ve read the stories, seen the pictures and dreamed of one day being here myself. My canoe loaded with the hope I didn’t forget anything, the register signed, my map spread out I was off on my 1.75 mile journey to our campsite at the northern end of Follensby.

Once at camp I set up so I would not have to do it in the dark later. Afterwards the three of us did a short paddle and carry over to Green Pond paddling under marshmallow skies above reflecting in crystal clear green waters below.

Back at our campsite and dinner cooking I was really eyeing Amy’s solo canoe. Most of my experience has been with kayaks and pack canoes. So as the fire in the sky flickered I asked Amy if I could take her canoe for a test drive. Amy paddles a 16′ 6″ Wenonah Prism ultra light kevlar that weighs 32#’s. From the first strokes of my paddle I fell In love with it. (I plan on adding this or something similar to my collection come fall)

Later that evening as we sat around the campfire the loons were pretty much at it all night. I retired to my tent around 12:30AM and was woken around 3:30AM just as a chorus of owls had joined the loons, their voices echoing through the stillness. Thankfully I was able to fall back asleep finally stirring around 7:00AM.

Gary was awake and boiling water for his coffee. I walked down to the lake scooped some water fired up my Jetboil and a few minutes later I was relaxing with a hot cup of Joe myself. Not too long after Amy would emerge from her tent as well.

Today’s plan would have us paddling a loop from Follensby Clear Pond to Horseshoe Pond, Little Polliwog Pond, Polliwog Pond and back to Follensby. This would be a very nice relaxing 7.15 mile adventure according to my GPS. We got back to our campsite shortly before a thunderstorm rolled through. Once the stormed blew over we had a wonderful evening again by the fire.

My original plan was to paddle out of camp on Monday morning and make the long drive home then. But it was Sunday morning (Father’s Day) and I was missing my boys. I decided to break camp, paddle out that morning and get home to have dinner as a family and hang with my sons, I made the right decision. Amy and Gary did the same as well.

This was a fun adventure with some great friends. With so many more places to explore I hope to get back there soon.

Cheers!

Getting off the North Way at exit 30 making my way towards the Saranac Lake area. © Joe Geronimo
Rolling along route 73 and Lower Cascade lake. © Joe Geronimo
All signed in at Follensby Clear Pond. @ Joe Geronimo

 

Loaded up and ready to head for camp. © Joe Geronimo
Making my way along Follensby Clear Pond headed for camp. © Joe Geronimo
Arriving at our campsite. © Joe Geronimo
Canoe carry from Follensby Clear Pond to Green Pond. © Joe Geronimo (Check all that pollen on the water)
Marshmallow skies on Green Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Gary, Amy and Amy’s dog Pungo on Green Pond. © Joe Geronimo
At the canoe carry from Green Pond back to Follensby Clear Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Standing at the shore of our campsite the sun begins to set over Follensby Clear Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Paddling Amy’s Wenonah Prism under stunning skies.
Gary takes the Prism for a spin. © Joe Geronimo
The next day Gary setting off for our adventure. © Joe Geronimo
Amy making her way along Follensby Clear for the Horseshoe Pond carry. © Joe Geronimo
At the canoe carry to Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Gary on Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy and Pungo paddling on Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
My view of Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Gary carrying from Horseshoe Pond to Little Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy’s turn to carry from Horseshoe Pond to Little Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy & Gary putting in on Little Polliwog Pond. And yes Little Polliwog lives up to its name. © Joe Geronimo
Gary & Amy Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy & I exploring Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Exploring Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Finally the canoe carry from Polliwog Pond back to Follensby Clear Pond.
After the thunderstorm moved out I took another spin in Amy’s Wenonah Prism. © Joe Geronimo

 

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Winter Wonderland

It has been over a year now since I’ve put my snowshoes on but this past weekend I cinched them up and headed out to play.

First I hiked with my son Michael out to Nanticoke Lake in the Lisle, NY. Michael had to take some photographs for his college photography course and we thought this would be a great little adventure. Spending time with my son was the highlight of my day.  We had the entire place to ourselves! While we were out there taking in the beauty of our surroundings Micheal remarked to me “Dad it is so quiet out here, there is literally no sound what so ever”.  I simply responded “Exactly”!

I loved watching him dash and bound through the snow exploring things to photograph. It was even more entertaining since he doesn’t have snowshoes.

My next adventure for the day would be a 3 mile solo hike of the IBM Glen. The snow had clung to the trees like powdered sugar on a tasty dessert, truly a winter wonderland. I did see one couple hiking the trails and one person cross country skiing but that was it.

It had been so long since I was out winter hiking I forgot how much I enjoy it and cannot wait until I can get out again.

Cheers!

Starting our way into Nanticoke Lake. © Joe Geronimo
Michael behind the camera. He’s my Winter Cardinal. © Joe Geronimo
Mike working his shot. © Joe Geronimo
Enjoying the solitude at Nanticoke Lake. © Michael Geronimo
Nanticoke Creek flows under soft pines Lisle, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Nanticoke Creek Lisle, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Making my way through the IBM Glen. © Joe Geronimo
The serenity of the IBM Glen. © Joe Geronimo
The sound of water soothes the soul at the IBM Glen. © Joe Geronimo
Nothing better than a trail beer to finish a great day outdoors! © Joe Geronimo

Small Disaster at Oakley Corners

The dog and I woke early this morning traveling to Oakley Corners State Forest in Owego, NY under a thick blanket of fog. Undeterred our plan was to hike and have breakfast along the back side of the pond. The trail was still a bit muddy from the heavy rains this past Friday. Making our way under a canopy of trees and filtered sunlight the woods were alive with song as an owl hooted away in the distance while other birds provided the chorus.

The dog was in all his glory, kind of a dog Disneyland complete with a waterpark. We came upon the pond and immediately he went swimming, snorting and sniffing and loving life. I reached into my pack and pulled out my camp chair setting that up first. I wanted to use my new twig stove again but the leaves, pine needles and twigs were still damp. Poking around looking for my fire starters I realized I forgot to pack them. This wasn’t starting off well. I tried getting a fire going to no avail. It was just to wet and damp.

Disappointed I couldn’t use the new stove I did however remember to bring my Jetboil system as backup. Soon enough water was boiling and coffee was brewing. Now time to break out my new 8″ fry pan and cook our breakfast. This mornings delicacy would be salmon filet and bacon. I could see the dog licking his chops already. The Jetboil fry pan has folding handles and a plastic plate that clips to the bottom as well for easy storage. Glancing over at the dog I set the fry pan on the burner and all of a sudden smoke starts to billow from the pan. I was like what the heck! Then I noticed I set the pan on the burner but never removed the plate. Oh I was pissed to say the least and melted plastic was everywhere.

I was frustrated as the dog peered at me with the look of hurry up and get breakfast cooked, I’m hungry. I finally get the melted plastic cleaned up, pan back on the burner and warming. Reaching into my cooler pouch I pull out a bag with a Tbsp of butter and our season salmon filet. I open the bag and put the butter and fish in the pan. The butter goes sliding right out of the pan and onto the ground. A quick thinking dog snatches the butter. I couldn’t help but chuckle. I mean what else might go wrong!

Finally the fish and bacon were cooking and the dog kept inching closer with those please feed me eyes glaring at me. I sipped my coffee as the aroma of breakfast waft through the air. After we ate my fury compadre felt he needed another swim. Packing our stuff up and doggie finished with his swim we were back on the trail. It was about another mile or so back to the car and we were on our way home. Windows down and a wet dog hanging his head high!

Despite my little mishaps I had a really fun morning just being outside., cheers!

Along the trail at Oakley Corners State Forest Owego, NY August 5th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Pond at Oakley Corners State Forest August 5th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Wet dog at Oakley Corners State Forest in Owego, NY August 5th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Melted and ruined plate from my Jetboil fry pan August 5th 2018. © Joe Geronimo

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.

Tranquility in Vermont

Recently I was in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont near Island Pond exploring the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge with my two sons and friend. As always we were on the hunt for moose. I must have had my moose kryptonite on me this time because we didn’t see any moose. However we saw all sorts of fascinating birds.

If you know me or have read my many posts you won’t be surprised when I say “I have a major affection for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail”. In all honestly I have only paddled small portions of this beautiful flowing highway system spanning 740 miles from Old Forge, NY meandering into Canada and finally terminating in Fort Kent, ME. The Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge sits in the Nulhegan river basin, wait for it, which is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

As we exited the refuge the Nulhegan river was so calm and peaceful but just 100 yards away it’s rapids roared. Slamming on the brakes and testing the seat belts of the cars other occupants I leaped out to capture its serenity.

Cheers!

Exiting the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge near Island Pond, VT June 17th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
The Nulhegan river in all her tranquility. However just 100 yards away the rapids roared. Island Pond, VT July 17th 2017 © Joe Geronimo

Wandering New England

Spending four days in Vermont and New Hampshire was a great way to wind down my vacation. Thursday evening was spent at Dartmouth college in Hanover, NH watching the Reel Film Paddling Festival by Rapid Media and sponsored by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail .

However the next two days (Friday & Saturday) was nothing but rain with short breaks in between. Friday was a total wash and we had spent the day kayak shopping over in North Conway, NH. Saturday morning the rain had stopped for a while and I was able to knock out a quick 5 mile run. Showered now we were off to harass the local wildlife. Sitting at Reeds Marsh in Orford, NH a local had tipped us off to a pair of Merlins who had been in the area lately. Sure enough we found them! They were beautiful to watch as the male had went a caught either a Junco or Chickadee and brought it back for his girl.

Sunday morning was the gem with a beautiful sunrise, partly cloudy skies and a light breeze. Although it was rather chilly when we set out for French Pond in North Haverhill, NH. It was a great start to the day. Afterwards I would pack up and make the six hour drive home, briefly stopping in Bainbridge, NY to order my custom kayak paddle from Dale Fox of Foxworth Paddles. Once home and car unloaded I was off for a great tempo run as the weather was still perfect.

Cheers!

Sunrise on French Pond in North Haverhill, NH April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Northern Flicker at French Pond in North Haverhill, NY April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Painted turtle basking in the early morning sun on French Pond in North Haverhill, NH April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Common loon on French Pond in North Haverhill, NH April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
A kerfuffle of Canadian proportion on French Pond in North Haverhill, NH April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
On our way back from kayak shopping we took route 302 through Crawford Notch. I always love to stop and photograph the magnificent Mt. Washington hotel in Bretton Woods, NH on April 21st 2017. © Joe Geronimo
A female Merlin dining on either a Chickadee or Junco in Orford, NH April 22nd 2017. © Joe Geronimo