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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Camp Meal

I really do not like dehydrating food, I find it to be more hassle than worth. However since I have a lot of free time these days I decided to dehydrate some food to pass the time.

Packing light weight is an integral part of my canoe camping adventures. Some of my trips require carrying distances between ponds and lakes. One way to keep things light are dehydrated meals.

I did some experimenting with pasta and sauce. It rehydrates really easy and packs a caloric punch after a long day.

I started with one pound of cooked rotini pasta, a 16oz jar of pasta sauce plus 4 more ounces, one can sliced mushrooms drained and 1 cup frozen peas. I used rotini because a lot of the research I’ve done shows that it holds the sauce better. After cooking, draining and letting the pasta completely cool I combined all ingredients in a bowl covered it with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge overnight.

The next morning I spread the pasta over my dehydrator trays and let it go for 9 hours. Once dehydrated I put it into a ziplock bag and weighed it. It weighed in at 18 ounces.

Yesterday afternoon I weighed out 8 ounces and began the rehydration process. Once the water was boiled I covered the pasta leaving just a little exposed, covered it and let sit exactly 20 minutes. The rehydration time was just about perfect and the taste was great. My wife even enjoyed tasting it as well.

Maybe this dehydrating food isn’t so bad!

 

This is how I Social Distance

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood and I had the itch to get outside with my stove and cast Iron skillet and do some cooking.

I’ve had this Uberleben twig stove for about a year now and this thing is just awesome. It had no issue what so ever supporting my 10″ 6.5# cast iron pan. It literally took two minutes for the pan to get hot and start cooking.

Approximately 20 minutes and two beers later the peppers and onions were cooked to perfection! I’ve used this fire breathing monster on several of my past canoe camping trips and again it works perfectly.

Here’s to Social Distancing!

The Struggle is Real

Since the beginning of the year I have been running consistently and on a plan. I’ve also noticed small gains as my fitness slowly makes improvements. However I’ve also paid more attention to my bad runs where I’ve begun to notice a pattern emerging. In the past this is something I have not given any attention so I am intrigued to say the least.

My “Bad Runs” runs that I believe should have felt less effortless or where my heart rate seems higher than it should are due to several things in my opinion.

#1. Sleep or the lack of: Most mornings I get up at 0330 to be at work by 0430. I find it very difficult to go to bed before 8PM. I’m currently getting on average 6 hours per night. When I come home from work I try to take at least a 2 hour nap most days. I feel that sleep or proper rest plays a HUGE roll in the quality of our lives.

#2. Feeling Rushed: If I don’t give myself down time between work,life, etc and a run my heart rate has the tendency to be higher as well. I firmly believe if there is not a transition period that this definitely affects attitude, approach and performance. Also time constraints fall into this category as well.  I’m keeping a close eye on this one.

#3.Fear: Fear of getting hurt again rules the roost here, as does fear of failing in my workout. This is just a major part of my personality or as my wife calls it “The Mr. Excess” clause. As much as I want to say she’s crazy I can’t because she is 100% correct. Over the years I’ve struggled with this in many aspects. I’ve had this predetermined notion if you aren’t running big miles or fast paces you’re really not running. This is absolute foolish thinking on my part and a major reason of why I’m always injured.

The Positive: This past Sunday was my long run (8 Miles). This would be my longest run in well over a year. I got a good nights sleep, woke early and took the time to do my pre-run stretching, rolling and mentally eased myself into the workout. I was rewarded with a great run!

As I move forward I hope to learn and grow with this process. I also hope that even when I have a bad run/workout I can move past it and live for the next day.

Question: Do you struggle with anything similar?

Cheers!

Long run (8 Miles). This was a great run in my opinion.
My go to breakfast and post run fuel is:
“Chocolate Oatmeal” with raisins. 1 cup quick oats, 1 ounce serving raisins, 1 Tbsp mini chocolate chips and 3 packets Stevia sweetener.

 

 

Lunching Around

I was craving pizza, better yet mushroom pizza so I came up with a fun experiment. I’m not a bread fan by any means so a heavy pizza crust just wasn’t doing it for me, don’t get me wrong I love a good pizza. So I came up with this idea of a portobello mushroom pizzas.

I sprayed two mushroom caps with a little olive oil and placed them in a 400 degree oven. While they began to cook I sautéed peppers and onions. I recently discovered at Wegman’s they have thin sliced peppers and onions already bagged up. I let the caps cook for about 8 minutes before adding pizza sauce and back into the oven for another 3 minutes. Lastly I added the sautéed peppers and onions along with some shredded mozzarella cheese placing them back into their happy place until the cheese was nicely melted.

When the mushroom pizzas emerged from the warmth of the oven they not only looked delish but smelled amazing. I wasn’t sure how they would turn out since I hastily threw these together, I was pleasantly surprised at how good they tasted. Now a fork and knife is a must with these.

Looking forward to experimenting more in the near future with this.

Cheers!

A little sauté going on © Joe Geronimo
Portobello mushrooms getting happy © Joe Geronimo
I wish you all could smell this, mmmmm sooo good © Joe Geronimo

 

 

Winter Hiking

Living in New York State we get winter, or something that resembles it depending on the year. I’ve learned to embrace it because it can be long and cold. Over the past few years I’ve been out and about our local parks and trails hiking with my snowshoes. I find winter hiking to be some of the most beautiful and peaceful time to be outdoors. Recently I had the opportunity to change things up a little. So I hopped in my car and headed for the Adirondacks.

A few hours later I arrived at the trailhead of the 3759 foot summit of Blue Mountain. This 2 mile trail (One Way) climbs 1670 feet in elevation with moderate to steep grades, ending at the fire tower. At the trailhead I met my friend Nancy an experienced hiker who would go with me since this would be my first winter hike with considerable elevation.

We decided that we didn’t need snowshoes and that micro spikes would be sufficient since the trail was very well packed. This is a very popular hike in any season. It was sunny and in the low 30’s when we began and quickly I had to stop to remove my jacket putting in my backpack. The trail climbed steeply as we bumped into our first hikers coming down from the summit around the one mile mark. We stopped and chatted for a little before continuing. We would see three more before reaching the summit.

The closer we got to the summit the snow got deeper, the temperatures colder and you could feel the wind picking up through the trees. Just before coming out of the tree line I stopped and layered back up before exposing myself to the open summit. Stepping out into the open the Blue Mountain fire tower stood proudly at an additional 35 feet encrusted in snow and ice.

Climbing the tower to the observers tower the wind was whipping pretty good and my fingers were so cold even through my gloves while trying to take some photos. The stairs were covered in at least 6 inches of snow and ice and the cabin had at least a foot of snow inside. The handrails were also encased in ice.

Even though there was a vast temperature difference between the base and summit the warm sun was doing its best to remove Mother Nature’s grasp. Chunks of ice had begun to fall off the tower like crystals falling from a chandelier crashing to the ground into pieces. The trees at the summit were encrusted in snow and ice giving them a powdered sugar look, it was breathtaking.

We spent about an hour at the summit taking in the sheer beauty, chatting with a few hikers who had come up the trail shortly behind us. I was completely hooked on winter hiking.

Once down and back to my car, putting my gear away it was time to head south to Old Forge where I would spend the night. But not before a stop at Fulton Chain Craft Brewing for a couple of well earned beverages.

I absolutely loved this experience and I hope to do some more winter hiking in the Adirondacks  in the future.

Nancy signing us into the trail register Blue Mountain Lake, NY © Joe Geronimo
Paused to take in the view as I make my way towards the summit of Blue Mountain. Photo by Nancy Lyons.
Nancy snaps a few photos as well. © Joe Geronimo
Arrived the summit of Blue Mountain. © Joe Geronimo
The 35 foot Blue Mountain fire tower stands encrusted in Mother Nature’s fury. © Joe Geronimo
The view of Blue Mountain Lake and others from the fire tower’s cabin. © Joe Geronimo
The summit of Blue Mountain provides a window into the eastern Adirondack high peaks. © Joe Geronimo
Making my way back down the trail from the summit of Blue Mountain. © Joe Geronimo

 

Snowshoeing Nick’s Lake Loop

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.

Cheers!

Bisby Road trailhead “Black River Wild Forest” Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Bisby Road trailhead “Black River Wild Forest” trail register Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail. © Joe Geronimo
Frozen silence at the Nick’s Lake canoe launch Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
I love how the snow clings to life on the Tamaracks along Nick’s Creek. © Joe Geronimo
Here I’m crossing a portion of Nick’s Lake Old forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Undisturbed beauty along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
6 miles along the Bisby Road and Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old Forge, NY.
I closed out my day at one of my favorite places, Fulton Chain Craft Brewing http://www.fccbrewery.com in Old Forge, NY. This is the Vanilla Caramel Cream Ale, that is so damn delicious I brought a crowler home with me. © Joe Geronimo

Post Run Lunch

For the past several weeks my post run lunch has been what I call utterly awesome!  So here is what I put together.

1 avocado, 2 roma tomatoes chopped and a handful of kalamata or green olives. Some kosher salt, cracked black pepper and a small drizzle of olive oil. Nothing like fresh avocado, tomatoes and olives. Can you say yummy!

Cheers!

Post run lunch of avocado, tomatoes and olives.