Canoeing The Upper Susquehanna River

In mid August I had the opportunity to paddle a portion of the upper Susquehanna river here in New York. In all honesty I really never thought much about it. When a friend suggested we do it I was intrigued.

We launched  from the Crumhorn Pond/Susquehanna State Forest a few miles north of Portlandville, NY. Upon arrival I was shocked to see a Waterway Steward at the launch site checking boats for invasive species and washing them before they enter the water. In the Adirondacks I have seen many of these stewards but not so much around here. I think this is a great program!

The morning was warm and sunny as we slid our canoes into the water making our way from Crumhorn Pond into the Susquehanna. This section of the river differs immensely from where I live. The river is narrow and has more water due to the dam on Goodyear Lake. I loved the way the river snaked its way through the rural farm land of Central New York, throwing in a few hairpin turns just for fun.

Paddling north 4 miles to where the Cherry Valley Creek enters the river, we hung a right hand turn exploring the creek for about a mile. One spot we had to navigate a narrow passage due to a fallen tree across the creek. Shortly after we came to a point where we had to exit our boats due to low water and a small rock garden. We decided to take a break and have a snack and chat here for a bit before turning around and heading back. “Cherry Valley Creek is a 34.1-mile-long headwater tributary of the Susquehanna River in central New York. Cherry Valley Creek flows southwesterly through the Cherry Valley in Otsego County, making its way through the towns of Cherry Valley, Roseboom, and Middlefield before joining the Susquehanna River east of the village of Milford”.

On our way back that beautiful sunshine gave way to some storm clouds. We could hear thunder in the distance and we dodged a few rain drops as well. Thankfully the storm steered clear of us. As we entered Crumhorn Pond the boat launch had a few more people starting their day on the river. This was a fun 10 mile round trip adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the upper Susquehanna river in the near future.

Cheers!

Launching our canoes on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
My friend Marty on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
We’ve just entered the upper Susquehanna river paddling north towards Cooperstown, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
Taking a break on the Cherry Valley Creek Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
Making our way back down the Cherry Valley Creek near Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
Dodging some rain and thunderstorms along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
My friend Marty eases his Northstar Phoenix around one of several hairpin turns along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Going to Hell

Last week the weather was spectacular and I would find myself in the Adirondack Park for a few days. I’ve been wanting to visit Helldiver Pond in the Moose River Plains area for quite some time. Mostly because “Harold” the resident bull moose makes his daily morning appearance, sadly Harold is rumored to have passed.

Moose or not I would make the trip to Helldiver Pond. Helldiver is nestled 10 miles in on a dirt road from the DEC sign in off of Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet, NY. Once at the parking area it is a short 1/4 mile carry to the 15 acre pond. I had the place to myself until I noticed a mountain biker show up with a pair of binoculars and scope the place out. I paddled over for a few minutes to chat.

As I have mentioned this pond had been on my to do list for a while. Although I went mooseless I was not disappointed. Autumn had begun to show its true colors.

Cheers!

Helldiver Pond Moose River Plains Inlet, NY September 19th 2019. © Joe Geronimo
Helldiver Pond Moose River Plains Inlet, NY September 19th 2019. © Joe Geronimo
I just finished paddling Helldiver Pond Moose River Plains Inlet, NY September 19th 2019. © Joe Geronimo

The Lap of Luxury

This past week my friend Gary and I had planned to canoe camp 3 days in the St. Regis Canoe Area of the Adirondacks. The first day was a bust as it rained cats and dogs all day. By 6PM that evening the rain finally stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shined. However it was to late to get started so we spent the night in Lake Placid beer tasting..

The weather report for the remainder of our time looked sketchy but early Tuesday morning we set out on our adventure under beautiful clear skies. Peering at our paddlers map it was determined we had wanted a lean-to instead of tent camping. Launching off of Keese Mill Rd. in Paul Smith’s we passed two lean-to’s that were in decent locations but didn’t have the esthetics we had envisioned. Shortly we entered Lower St. Regis Lake rounding a point where the Peter’s Rock lean-to stood with it’s panoramic view of the lake. This was it! The downside it wasn’t nearly remote as we had hoped with its view of Paul Smith’s College across the lake. That said it was picture perfect and as it was vacant. Dropping our gear and staking our claim we were back in our canoes and off on the day’s adventure.

We would paddle just a little over 15 miles through some amazing scenery, carry our canoes between several ponds meeting other paddlers on their adventure as well. During the middle of the night the weather would start to change. The winds kicked up and the pitter patter of rain on the lean-to roof was a soothing sound. Lightning flickered in the nights sky like a candle with the soft rumbles of thunder in the distance. It took more than an hour for the first of two storms to finally reach us.

Laying in our sleeping bags we had an amazing view of the show. The rain and storms would be gone by 8Am but the wind was relentless. We waited the wind out until about 1-1:30 that afternoon before calling it as the weather wasn’t going to improve. We packed up our canoes and fought the wind for several miles attempting to reach the launch. Some of the gusts I would say exceeded 20MPH with a steady 15MPH head wind taking us a good 2 hours to get back.

This was my first time camping in a lean-to and I’ll admit it has spoiled me. And although the weather dashed our grand plans we still had a really fun trip and look forward to the next adventure.

Peter’s Rock lean-to Lower St. Regis Lake Paul Smith’s, NY September 3rd 2019. © Joe Geronimo
View from Peter’s Rock lean-to during the storms September 3rd 2019 Paul Smith’s, NY. © Joe Geronimo
This is a collage of the short carry from Upper St. Regis Lake to Bog Pond, St. Regis Canoe Area September 3rd 2019. © Joe Geronimo
This had to be one of my favorites! Bear Pond to Bog Pond carry on our return, St. Regis Canoe Area September 3rd 2019. ©Joe Geronimo
I absolutely loved this beautiful boathouse along Spitfire Lake in the St. Regis Canoe Area September 3rd 2019. © Joe Geronimo
Gary keeping the campfire going during the storms at Peter’s Rock lean-To Paul Smith’s, NY September 4th 2019. © Joe Geronimo
Paddling between Spitfire Lake and Lower St. Regis Lake September 3rd 2019. © Joe Geronimo
Little Long Pond to Green Pond canoe carry St. Regis Canoe Area September 3rd 2019. © Joe Geronimo

Picture Perfect Morning

Earlier this month I was canoe camping with a friend in the Adirondacks on a lake 30 miles northwest of Lake George. Despite a few day paddlers we had the whole lake to ourselves. The northern end of the lake has a few homes and camps along its shoreline. In the early evening hours we could hear across the lake someone playing a trumpet and as dusk turned to night the milky way painted the sky. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many stars!

The next morning fog rolled across the water while temperatures dipped to around 45 degree, I was cold. Quickly I restarted the campfire for some warmth along with my twig stove in order to boil water for coffee and oatmeal.

It truly was a picture perfect morning!

The Planning Stages

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.

Cheers!

The current plan subject to change……..
Adirondack Canoe Company “Boreas” canoes that I have purchased and being built. Left is the pack canoe (24lbs.) and on the right is the solo canoe (27lbs.)…… Stunning, I know!

The Rehydration Test

Last week I posted about my first attempt at dehydrating meals for backpacking and canoe camping. I went out this afternoon in order to test the meal. I wanted to see if I could gauge how much water and time I would need to properly rehydrate the 6 ounces of sausage vegetable stew.

You can check out the results in a short video below! Give my blog a follow, you can also find me “Adirondack Joe” on Facebook & Instagram as well.

If you like what you see you can find the recipe in the link to my original post here: https://adirondackjoe.com/2019/03/08/this-is-a-test-and-only-a-test/

In the Dog House

Last weekend while camping in the Thousand Islands region of New York I took the opportunity to test out my new Eureka “Solitaire” backpacking tent. Or as my wife calls it my “Dog House Tent”. I don’t backpack but I purchased this tent for canoe/kayak camping because of its size and weight. I bought it locally from Eureka Camping Center for a really great price. As a matter of fact it was extremely cheaper than some other backpacking tents I’ve used.

I wanted to get the feel for it and its size before taking it on a canoe/kayak trip where I might regret not trying out before hand. I did fit very comfortably inside and I’m happy to report that I had two good nights sleep. On the first night I woke about 3AM briefly peering through the roof into the night’s sky which was littered with millions of stars. I stared for a short while watching as some of them streaked across the sky. The second morning I felt so good it was almost better than sleeping in my own bed. I did bring with me my Coleman self inflating sleep pad as well.

Cheers!

Weekend Adventure

Julie and I packed up the car Saturday and headed north to the Thousand Islands region of New York to camp. This would be our first time in the area and it did not disappoint. We could have done without the 20+ MPH winds Saturday and Sunday but hey the sun was shining.

We pitched our tent at Kring Point State Park several miles north of Alexandia Bay. Kring Point is a peninsula that forms Goose Bay from the St. Lawrence River. Most campsites are on the water. Ours however was not. Once camp was setup it was time to explore. We drove to Alexandria Bay only to discover it was Bike weekend. There were literally hundreds and hundreds of motorcycles and every parking space was taken. We decided to head for the town of Clayton instead. While driving we spotted Clayton Distillery and quickly pulled into the parking lot. We sampled some really good moonshine! As a matter of fact we left with a big bottle of cherry moonshine.

Arriving in Clayton we did some shopping, walked along the river trail for a bit, watched a couple at a fancy hotel say “I Do” and had a super fun time tasting wine at Coyote Moon Winery. We even beat the tour boat crowd!

Sunday morning the wind was extremely calm but that would only give us false hope for the day. However we launched our kayaks paddling into the St. Lawrence and Goose Bay. Water levels are extremely high in the area. Many of the island homes are inaccessible because their boat docks are completely submerged. Afterwards we would return to Alexandria Bay to catch the shuttle to Heart Island and Boldt Castle. The castle and its history are just fascinating. The Thousand Island Bridge Authority which owns the Heart Island and Boldt castle is doing a wonderful job of restoring it. Cannot wait to return next year and see the progress continue.

After our tour we ventured over to Wellesley Island and stumbled upon the beautiful Thousand Island Park. All I can say is “The Homes” Beautiful victorian homes, painted ladies, bungalows, etc all nestled along the shores of the St. Lawrence. Julie and I were in awe!

Later Sunday evening the sunset was beginning to take shape. Amazing cloud formations a brewing storm over in Canada and a diminishing wind or so I thought. I hoped into my kayak and off I went. Across the river I could see the rain, I could hear thunder and the sun was tryings its best to drop from the clouds. Quickly the wind picked up and the chop increased. I honestly got a little nervous as I was without a spray skirt. The waves grew as did the wind. I quickly grabbed a few photos and made my way back to shore.

During the night the winds finally died and the temperatures dropped. Morning would come with a crispness in the air, sunshine in the sky and calm waters. After breakfast Julie and I were back out in the kayaks for our final hoorah before packing up camp and heading home. Our time in the Thousand Islands was fun and we look forward to returning next summer.

Cheers!

Julie at Kring Point State Park.
Furuholmen an Panamanian tanker is seen passing through the St. Lawrence Seaway 1,000 Island region of New York.

On our way to Heart Island and Boldt Castle. Alexandria Bay, NY
Julie & I headed for Boldt Castle Alexandria Bay, NY.
Boldt Castle
Boldt Castle
View from one of the balconys of Boldt Castle
Uncle Sam Boat Tours shuttle is arriving to pick us up in Alexandria Bay, NY. It then will take us to Heart Island “Boldt Castle”.
I loved this vintage sign in Alexandria Bay.
A glimpse of some of the homes in Thousand Island Park on Wellesley Island.
Canada Steamship Lines “Atlantic Huron” Wellsley Island NY
Hanging by the campfire Kring Point State Park.
Storm brewing on the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada
Julie St. Lawrence Seaway 1,000 Islands NY.
Julie St. Lawrence Seaway 1,000 Islands NY.
Julie and I checking on the sole residence of Lone Pine Island Goose Bay St. Lawrence Seaway.
1,000 Islands St. Lawrence Seaway.
All packed up and a final stop at the camp store Leaving Kringe Point State Park June 26th 2017.