Alone on the Shield: A Novel by Kirk Landers

“I hope you get drafted, I hope you go to Vietnam, I hope you get shot, and I hope you die there. Those words, spoken in the anger of youth, marked the end of the torrid 1960s college romance of Annette DuBose and Gabe Pender. She would marry a fellow antiwar activist and end up immigrating to Canada. He would fight in Vietnam and come home to build an American dream kind of life—a great career, a trophy wife, and a life of wealth and privilege. Forty years later, they have reconnected and discovered a shared passion: solo canoeing in Ontario’s raw Quetico wilderness. They decide to meet again to get caught up on old times, but not in a restaurant or coffee shop—they agree to meet on an island deep in the Quetico wilds. Though they try to control their expectations for the rendezvous, they both approach the island with a growing realization of the emotional void in their lives and wonder how different everything might have been if they had spent their lives together. They must overcome challenges just to reach the island, then encounter the greatest challenges of all—each other, and a weather event for the ages. Alone on the Shield is a story about the Vietnam war and the things that connect us. It is the story of aging Baby Boomers, of the rare kinds of people who paddle alone into the wilderness, and of the kind of adventure that comes only to the bold and the brave.”

Quetico Provincial Park: is a large wilderness park in Northwest Ontario Canada, known for its excellent canoeing and fishing. This 1,180,000-acre park shares its southern border with Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness which is part of the larger Superior National Forest These large wilderness parks are often collectively referred to as the Boundary Waters or the Quetico Superior Country

Derecho Storm: A derecho is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms. Derechos can cause hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash floods.

My thoughts: I absolutely loved this book and I didn’t want it to end. Kirk Landers writing is wonderful, energetic and exciting. Yes, this book is about canoeing and wilderness. Two things I am passionate about but isn’t that why we read? If you have an afternoon or two I highly suggest picking this up to read. Sorry no spoilers here! Except I never want to experience a derecho storm while on the water, it would be catastrophic..

Cheers….

Alone on the Shield by Kirk Landers.
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My Thoughts: “Upwards” The Story of the First Woman to Solo Thru-Paddle the 740 Mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail

What can I say, I loved this book! I myself have a passion for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and have paddled small sections of it. Laurie’s writing is inspiring and invokes the true passion of the water, wilderness and human spirit.

When our world seems bleak at times Laurie’s adventure, her faith coupled by friendships both new and old, along with the many trail angels she encountered have restored my belief that their is still good in our world. I loved the sense of small town America. The hospitality to a weary traveler. Communities taking care of strangers or better yet strangers looking out for strangers.

I was hooked from the beginning and looked forward to reading it every day. I am by no means a fast reader but this gives me the time to savor such an adventure. An adventure I often romantisize about.

I truly enjoyed reading this and highly recommend this book. Sorry no spoilers here!

My Thoughts: Book Review “A Journey through New England history, Paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail

image.jpgI’m not a voracious reader like my wife but I do enjoy the occasional book from time to time. I just finished reading Paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail “A journey through New England history” by Sam Brakeley.

Sam and his close friend Andy set out on the 740 mile adventure in 2009 taking 39 days for them to complete. As you may or may not know I have a passion for the NFCT myself. Although I have only paddled small pieces of it.

This book captured my sense of adventure and my passion for the outdoors. I really enjoyed reading about Sam and Andy’s interactions with others along the trail, just as much as their trials and tribulations.  The Dead River section in Maine did not sound like fun to me, that is just me. One Aspect of this book that caught my anttention was the hospitality, generosity and kindness of strangers and town folk showed all through their journey.  Whether I’m out paddling, hiking or running I always relish people I meet or even friendships that blossom from those meetings.

All in all I really enjoyed this book and as Sam and Andy approached Fort Kent, ME ending their adventure, my adventure ended 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.

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