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.
The sun was warm, the breeze light and not a cloud in the sky is just what the doctor ordered for a perfect day spent at the Adirondack “Paddlefest” held in Old Forge, NY this past weekend.
Julie and I got our game faces on for an early start Saturday morning as we snaked our way north arriving at Mountainman Outdoors about 10AM. I’ll admit I was very excited for the day. Wheeling into the parking lot we noticed there was already a good size crowd pouring over all the goodies. Kayaks, Canoes, Campers, Cars, Trailers, Gear, etc. Making our way into the grounds we quickly noted there were quite a few dogs as well and we immediately began missing our fury beast. However we were on a mission.
Michael at 6′ 5″ had out grown his 10 foot kayak so we had a few in mind that we new he was comfortable in. We settled on one of his top choices, a 2017 Perception “Prodigy” 12 in tiger camo red. We got the last one in that color! After browsing for a while it was time for us to do some test paddling. I test paddled one kayak because I knew if I tested others we would be leaving with another boat. Julie on the other hand test paddled a few. The first was a very sexy Swift Adirondack 12LT in the color “Purple Rain” weighing only 24 lbs with the heavy price tag of $2395. Next was the same boat but in the 10LT version. She absolutely loved these boats. I was able to convince her to try another kayak. This time it was a Hurricane Santee 116. She was skeptical but did so. After she was done test paddling I asked “So what did you think?”. She responded I loved it and even more so than the Swift. The Santee weighs a little more but comes with a $900 price tag instead. She loved its smoothness, tracking and speed. With that said Julie still likes her current kayak and is sticking with it for now.
After our test paddling we headed to the small town of Inlet, NY for lunch at the Screamen Eagle. Traveling along route 28 in Eagle Bay we came upon “The Donut Shop” and it hit me, they had been voted best donuts in Adirondack Life magazine’s 2016 “Best of the Adirondacks”. A quick turn of the wheel and a few screams from Julie I was in the parking lot. The Donut Shop only makes two types of donuts, plain and cinnamon sugar. We ordered two of each and were back in the car. The first bite was heaven! Crsipy, fluffy and oh so amazing Julie and I were raving.
Our destination for lunch was The Screamen Eagle. The Eagle itself was voted runner up in Adirondack Life magazine’s 2016 “Best of the Adirondacks” in the pizza category. Although we didn’t order pizza we did enjoy our phenomenal peanut butter wings. All I can say was wow!
Finished with lunch we would go for a short paddle along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Launching on 4th lake at Inlet we paddled into the channel that brings you to 5th lake. A perfect small adventure in the middle of our day.
Headed back towards Old Forge to pick up Michael’s kayak I had wanted to visit the Fulton Chain Craft Brewery. I was on the hunt for the “Go Fluff Yourself” Peanut Butter Fluff Ale (Notice the theme here!). I happen to have a pint or two locally at Food & Fire recently and really enjoyed it. Sadly when I got there they had just kicked the keg and wouldn’t have anymore until Monday. Perched in our Adirondack chair bar stools, the kind that are so comfortable you don’t want to leave I found myself tasting “Bear Road: Bluberry Coffee Stout” which I immediately fell in love with. Thankfully I had an empty growler with me just in case.
After picking up Michael’s kayak we began our trek home, making a dinner stop in Utica at Babe’s Macaroni Grill & Bar.
Our day was short but packed with fun little adventure’s. But best of all barely any black flies. We can’t wait to return for next years event.
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.
In July 2014 we traveled to Boston, Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine on our summer vacation. We trailered our kayaks with us hoping to hit several lakes on our journey through New England. We’ve been to Chocorura lake in Tamworh, NH before but never kayaked it. This would be our first stop on our trip to paddle. Chocorura lake is a small lake of only 222 acres and is quaintly nestled below the 3,478′ Mount Chocorura.
With our kayaks unloaded and final preparations being made I discovered I totally forgot my paddle! Yes we had drove hundreds of miles to this pristine place and I forgot my paddle. I was upset to say the least. Anyhow Julie and the boys launched and I just watched form the shoreline. Later that evening we had arrived in Lincoln, NH and I was able to purchase a new paddle for the remainder of our vacation.
Ever since I laid eyes on the Old Town Cayuga 146 (14′ 6″) kayak I was in love. However I was just simply too fat to fit in the boat. Old Town stopped making this boat a few years ago and they are almost impossible to find used. Early this spring I discovered that St. Regis Canoe Outfitters of Saranac Lake use them in their rental fleet and occasionally they will sell one or two.
As luck would have it a Cayuga 146 complete with rudder did come available and I immediately reserved it and made my trek north. The weather in Saranac Lake today was absolutely perfect, a cool 38 degrees this morning when I woke. I picked up my boat right after they opened and shortly I was on Lake Flower.
Paddling along gazing at the serenity, making a few adjustments to my seat a gentleman in a beautiful Eddyline kayak came up upon me and asked me where I was headed. I promptly said “I Have no clue”. He introduced himself as “Dave” and offered for me to tag along. Dave would guide me along from Lake Flower, Oseetah Lake to the lower locks & dam where Oseetah and the Saranac River meet. According to my map we paddled about 9 miles down and back. As an added bonus to me this section is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, adding a few miles in my ongoing quest to complete the 740 mile route in pieces.
I love this boat! Super comfortable, fast and tracks pretty darn well and has a ton of storage for a multiple day camping trip. One last impression was that I’ve been using my 17lb Hornbeck canoe for sometime now so this 50Lb kayak was an eye opener.
Looking forward to getting some more miles in this sweet thing here real shortly.