I recently spent 5 days in the Adirondacks, canoeing, camping and beer drinking. I also picked up another new canoe from Raquette River Outfitters in Tupper Lake, NY. Back in June I ordered a Northstar Canoes “Northwind Solo” in their “Starlite” layup. This boat is 15′ 6″ long and weighs 27#’s and is an absolute joy to paddle. I love the how it just glides effortlessly through the water and it turns gracefully.
While in Lake Placid one afternoon my friend Gary and I paddled a few miles on the Chubb River as I was anxious to try out my new ride. About a mile down river we came to our first beaver dam. Instead of getting out in some deep water to drag our boats over we both decided to try and run it.
We were both successful and I managed to put the first scratches on this kevlar beauty!
Below I’ve included a link to a short video of my attempt, hope you like it.
In early September myself and two other friends went on a canoe camping trip in the St. Regis Canoe Area of New York’s Adirondack Park. The weather would be perfect with nights dipping into the low 30’s. I loved this adventure and hope you enjoy some of the images from it.
September 8th I left my home in the Southern Tier of New York arriving in Lake Placid, NY 4.5 hours later. Here I would meet my friend Gary with Placid being our home for the night. We would do some paddling in the area, also hitting a few of the local breweries as well.
Early the next morning Gary & I would meet our friend Scott at our starting point “Little Clear Pond” for our adventure. Our canoes loaded and I mean loaded we were off for 4 days/3 nights of adventure.
Once across Little Clear Pond we would have a 1/2 mile canoe carry to St. Regis Pond. Each of us wound up doing a “Double Carry” due to our packs being so heavy. Our goal for this trip would be to hopefully snag the only lean-to on St. Regis Pond. Our hopes would be dashed as it was already occupied. No worries we scouted a great primitive campsite not too far away. We unloaded our gear, setup our site and we were off for a great little pond hopping adventure for the rest of the day.
We would paddle across the 400 acre St. Regis Pond to the 116 meter canoe carry into Green Pond, followed by a 255 meter carry to Little Long Pond, followed by a 315 meter carry to Bear Pond and lastly a 121 meter carry to Bog Pond. I’ve paddled most of these ponds mentioned here before. I love these little ponds, especially Little Long Pond. We would make it back to camp around 5:30 in order to get dinner cooking and the campfire going for the evening. Later that evening we would crack a few beers, peer through the tree canopy as millions of stars shined in the night sky.
Morning came and our first order of business was coffee! Our plan for the day was another pond hopping adventure with one of the carries being 1.4 miles. The day would contrast in many ways. I mean we had periods of sun and light mist. We also battled a little mud especially at the aptly named “Mud Pond” where I sank down to my waist. As my cohorts were laughing I was able to free myself rather quickly.
My favorite from the day was “Fish Pond”. This pond is remote and takes some getting into. It does have two lean to’s on it and we decided to sit out some of the passing weather at one of them enjoying a hot fire and some lunch.
After spending most of the day paddling and carrying we found ourselves back at camp around 5PM. This seemed like a perfect time to get things in order, cook dinner and relax and watch the day fade into night.
We were still exhausted the next day from our prior adventure and decided a camp day was just what we needed. We sat around and told tall tales, sipped some whiskey, paddled and even took a nap. We knew this coming night would be cold as overnight temperatures would dip to just around freezing. The night sky was clear and in the distance we could hear the thunder of Vermont’s Air National Guard and their F16’s doing some night training. The Adirondacks see’s a lot of that my guess is because of the low volume of air traffic but I’ve been wrong once or twice in my life.
With silence restored Gary and I sat and watched the Milky Way begin to appear as Scott snored away in his tent. Later we would be awakened by a crashing noise in camp and I thought to myself we have a bear in camp. I sprang up quickly grabbing my headlamp and peered out of my tent. Gary immediately did the same as Scott was sleeping😂. It turned out that we had three skunks checking out or homestead. They quickly dispersed into the woods and we never saw them again. However I had a difficult time getting back to sleep because of the loons and owls that began to jam at 0330. I will admit it was an amazing symphony.
The next morning it was cold and we quickly got the campfire started for some heat as well as coffee. We ate breakfast and chatted about our adventures. Afterwards we would break camp, douse our fire with water, load our boats and begin our journey out.
Once we were back to our cars with boats loaded and gear packed it was time to hit Raybrook Brew House in Raybrook, NY for a late lunch and a few cold beers. Yeah that hit the spot!
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.
If you are interested in purchasing any of these images please fill out the form below, thank you.
For your viewing pleasure I present to you a fun video of my recent winter hike to the Blue Mountain fire tower . Thanks to my friends at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery for a place to park my tired self and some great beer after an awesome day in the park.
Back in the fall the Northern Forest Canoe Trail reached out to me asking if I would be willing to do a presentation to a local outdoor club on their behalf. I’m not your typical motivational speaker but I jumped at the chance to talk about something I feel passionate about. This past week I traveled to Utica, NY to give my presentation. I’m truly grateful that the NFCT felt confident enough in me to even ask.
As winter pressed on I had been keeping an watchful eye on the volume of snow in the north country “Adirondacks”. As my presentation date grew closer I decided I would spend the night in Utica with my sights set on some snowshoeing. The next morning I would do my 4 mile run before checking out of the hotel and continue my trek northward.
I arrived in Old Forge at the Bisby Road trailhead under cover of overcast skies with temperatures around 28 degrees. In my opinion this was almost near perfect. Strapping on my snowshoes, throwing a few last minute items in my backpack I was soon off on my adventure.
The first mile of trail had been broken by XC skiers but that soon would change. The next 4 miles I would have to break trail myself and around the half way point my legs were beginning to feel it. I took a few rest breaks standing in awe of the beauty and the silence. I was the only one out here on these particular trails, I saw not one other human being until I returned to my car.
Once back to the trail junction and my final mile before returning to civilization I stopped for a bit to strip down some of my clothing. I worked up a pretty good sweat over those 4 miles, it was time for a snack and some water.
This 6 mile journey took me 4 hours in which I took a few breaks, some photos and a few video clips. The day could not have been more perfect as the clouds gave way to a blueberry Adirondack sky.
Part 3, Lake Colby a 272 acre lake located in the village of Saranac Lake, NY is a beautiful place to paddle, camp and swim. There are three primitive campsites along the shores of Lake Colby as well the village beach. New York State operates a boat launch and fishing access; there is a ten horsepower limit for motorboats.
Hope you enjoyed this short film series!
The canoe in this series is a 14′ Adirondack Canoe Company “Boreas” pack canoe that weighs in at 24#’s. She’s light, comfortable and paddles exceptionally well.
It does not take much to persuade me to visit the Adirondacks and I had been getting the urge to kayak another small portion of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. I had been stalking the weather and foliage report for days now and according to the information I could find foliage was close to peak conditions near Old Forge. On Wednesday morning I packed up and headed north.
I rolled into Old Forge around 12:30 making my first stop at Walt’s Diner for lunch. After lunch I headed about 10 miles north to 6th Lake in Inlet, NY so I could check the launch site for the next morning. Arriving I found a gentleman sitting on a bench attempting to catch some fish, he looked familiar to me so I approached and asked “Are you David Patterson”? Turning his head replying “Yes I am”. David is a extremely talented local photographer who I have only had contact with online. It was a real pleasure to meet him in person and chat for a bit.
My goal for this trip was to kayak 6th and 7th lake in my ongoing attempt to paddle as much of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail as I can in my lifetime. I have studied the maps and in my opinion there is not the “Perfect” boat for every section of this trail. So I thought to myself heck if I do it in pieces I can use a multitude of boats depending on where I am paddling, sounds logical, right!
Returning to Old Forge I checked into my motel and went right down to Old Forge Pond to witness sunset. It truly was a beautiful evening with the crisp autumn air, setting sun and a sky that was dotted with puffy white clouds. For dinner I found myself at Stetson’s Bar in the VanAuken’s Inne across from the Thendera train station. This was a great place to kick back with some good food and a cold beer after a long day.
The morning was blanketed in a heavy fog so I decided to put off my kayaking for a little while giving the sun time to burn a lot of it off. Stepping out of my car at the 6th lake boat launch an immediate aroma of burning wood was tantalizing my senses, signaling that fall was truly here. Gazing out over the placid waters of 6th lake, I quietly pushed myself off under a palette of beautiful reds, yellows and oranges quickly noticing that I was the sole paddler that morning. A single Loon shortly passed me by and its call echoed off the mountain sides shattering the silence. Just over a mile in length 6th lake passes under 7th Lake Road and into the significantly larger 7th lake. My first order of business was to make my way towards the Payne’s Air Service dock so I could watch the intriguing frequency of float planes taking off and landing. This was extremely fun and I’m already planning ahead for next Autumn and taking a ride myself.
Hugging the shoreline, admiring all the beautiful homes dotted along the lakes edge I again found myself being the only one on the lake. As I approached the east end I could hear a motor boat in the distance and the planes taking off and landing but not one other canoe or kayak was on the water. At this point I was getting hungry and noticed a sandy beach on an island with a picnic table and thought that would be a perfect spot to take a break on my way back. Shortly after I arrived at the New York State 8th Lake campground and discovered there were quite a bit of campers getting ready for their final hurrah during the upcoming Columbus Day weekend. In order to get to 8th Lake you would have to carry your canoe or kayak through the campground approximately 1.5 miles. I decided not to do this as my kayak is a bit heavy and I didn’t have canoe/kayak wheels with me so I’ll save that for another day.
I did stop and take a break at that sandy beach and was able to absorb the shear beauty of the scenery that surrounded me. While I was there a couple arrived in their boat with two dogs. They told me they come here all the time as a place to relax and let the dogs run and swim. I was back in my kayak and the wind had begun to pick up a bit creating little chop on the lake. I was excited because this would be my first time experiencing this in my new to me kayak. I love this kayak and it performed exceptionally well. The wind would play games for a while by settling down and then it would pick up again making this a recurring theme for the rest of my time on 7th Lake.
Once I was back on the somewhat sheltered 6th Lake the waters became calm and glass like again. Getting off the water and loading my boat back onto my car I sat on that same bench I had mentioned earlier, took a few moments in order to reflect on my journey and the shear beauty of it all. The colors were amazing, the scenery spectacular and the time spent in a place I love, Priceless!