Moose-ssion Accomplished

A cool breeze filled the room where I was sleeping in West Newbury Vermont, it was 4AM and you know what they say “The early bird gets the worm” or in this case “The Moose”. After throwing on some clothes I quietly went into the boys room, they were sound asleep. I woke them and asked them if they wanted to come with Ian and I to Long Pond in search of the elusive moose. They responded with a a groggy NO.

Downstairs Ian and I are prepping for our morning adventure. Coffee, breakfast and a ton of expensive camera gear. Canoes had been loaded onto his truck the evening before. It’s 5AM as we make the forty minute foggy trip through the Upper Valley to Long Pond in Benton New Hampshire. Long Pond is a remote 96 acre body of water in the White Mountains with an average depth of 4 feet and a max depth of 8 feet. Its so remote that you have to drive a 3 mile dirt road in order to launch your canoe or kayak. We arrived just before sunrise and the pond was extremely still, the only sounds were the erie call of the Loon. I took a real short video in order to capture their sound. In our canoes, we quietly paddle out into the pond. https://youtu.be/iN8NE9Zs_xI

The placid waters of Long Pond in Benton, NH. Image © Joe Geronimo
The placid waters of Long Pond in Benton, NH.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Long Pond is abundant with wildlife. Otters, Beavers, Hawks, Osprey, the occasional Bald Eagle, Loons, Ducks, King Fishers, many species of birds and Moose make their residence here. I’ve been on the hunt to photograph the elusive moose in the wild for three years now with no luck what so ever. As Ian and I made our way around the pond we decided to split up in order to work several different coves. Paddling my way towards the south end I came across two adult Loons and their chick. I spent the better part of a half hour working with them before moving on.

I’m at the south end sitting in the shadows as the sun begins to highlight pockets of the pond. The water is like glass and I am just floating, thinking and taking in my surroundings. Actually I was really trying not to fall asleep. Then all of a sudden to my unbelieving eyes a young bull moose walks right out of the brush and into the shallows of the pond. I began to shake with excitement! I actually froze for a moment and then slowly reached for my camera. I was still shaking as I clicked off a few frames, my lenses imagine stabilization motor working making a humming noise as it works. The moose finally took notice of my presence and began to move around the shoreline. I clicked off a few more frames. The light was horrible but I didn’t care as this was my moment. This moose would stay in sight for about 10 minutes before disappearing back into the woods.

Young bull moose Long Pond Benton, NH August 28th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Young bull moose Long Pond Benton, NH August 28th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo
Young bull moose Long Pond Benton, NH August 28th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Young bull moose Long Pond Benton, NH August 28th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Putting my camera down, grabbing my paddle I raced back up the pond to find Ian with that triumphant feeling. A feeling of utter accomplishment that I have longed for. I found Ian sitting behind one of the many rock islands dotting the pond’s landscape in hopes of photographing the playful Otter’s. As I approached I was fist pumping and Ian knew right away what I had just photographed. We spent a few more hours on the pond pursuing the Loons, watching the Osprey fish and the King Fisher’s scramble like fighter planes on an aircraft carrier.

We would spend the next several mornings on Long Pond with the hopes of photographing another moose. Our hopes weren’t enough and we didn’t see another moose. However we the privilege of photographing more of the Loons in depth. I’ve been drawn to the Loon for quite sometime now as they are truly an interesting and beautiful animal.

At the end of this month Ian and I will embark on a trip through northern New Hampshire and Maine again in search of the moose.

Cheers!

Common Loons on Long Pond Benton, NH. Image © Joe Geronimo
Common Loons on Long Pond Benton, NH.
Image © Joe Geronimo
Common Loons on Long Pond Benton, NH. Image © Joe Geronimo
Common Loons on Long Pond Benton, NH.
Image © Joe Geronimo
Common Loons on Long Pond Benton, NH. Image © Joe Geronimo
Common Loons on Long Pond Benton, NH.
Image © Joe Geronimo
Common Loons on Long Pond Benton, NH. Image © Joe Geronimo
Common Loons on Long Pond Benton, NH.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Paddling, Campfires and Gin

Myself and friend Jerry Albertie have been talking about kayaking the Delaware River for a few years now but our schedules never would cooperate. The one section that has been of interest to us is between Narrowsburg, NY and Port Jervis, NY. However from what we learned the launch at Port Jervis was closed. We would kayak 32 miles over two days exiting the river at Sparrowbush, NY instead.

Finally the weekend of July 18th & 19th our lives were uncomplicated enough where we could get out on the water. The weather was hot, hazy and humid but shortly we would find the water was nice and cool.

Shuffling cars around was a little hectic but once in place boats loaded with gear we launched from the DEC site in Narrowsburg. Our plan was to paddle half on Saturday (15 Miles) and the other half on Sunday (17 Miles). We would make camp along the Delaware in Barryville, NY at the Kittatinny campground. Just east of the launch site in Narrowsburg the river flows under a arched highway bridge and from what I have been told the depth at this point can reach over 100 feet. On a rock ledge tucked under the bridge we see about a dozen people, boats pulled up on shore and others floating to watch the show. A rope tied to the sub-frame of the bridge structure made for some awesome summer fun.

Summer fun along the Delaware River at Narrowsburg, NY July 18th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Summer fun along the Delaware River at Narrowsburg, NY July 18th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

 

A quiet and serene section of the Delaware River July 18th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
A quiet and serene section of the Delaware River July 18th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Paddling east the shoreline the lush green shoreline is dotted with homes on either side, some of those homes being very impressive. The sun was beating down making it extremely toasty. Thankfully during our days journey we would encounter several sets of rapids. These rapids were fun, soaked you enough to cool you off for a bit and added a few inches of water to your boat.

To the west the skies grew darker and the rumbling of thunder could be heard in the distance. Jerry and I were making plans for a shelter should this storm catch up to us. Thankfully we were able to keep ahead of it. At Tusten, NY we encountered a railroad bridge that stretches from New York to Pennsylvania. Beneath the bridge and continuing around the bend is a wonderful set of fast moving, heat quenching rapids. A half further is the 10 Mile River Access and a National Park Ranger station where we would beach for a break and a quick snack.

The railroad stretches from New York into Pennsylvania here at Tusten, NY July 18th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
The railroad stretches from New York into Pennsylvania here at Tusten, NY July 18th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo
10 Mile River Access and National Park Ranger Station July 18th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
10 Mile River Access and National Park Ranger Station July 18th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo
Jerry and I beached at the "10 Mile River Access" Tusten, NY for a quick break and some food. July 18th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Jerry and I beached at the “10 Mile River Access” Tusten, NY for a quick break and some food. July 18th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Back on the water and that pesky thunderstorm still following us. skies are still growing darker to the west and seem to want to swallow us. Paddling right along, 3.5 hours later Jerry and I would reach our campsite for the night staying just ahead of the storm. Not long after getting our boats to our campsite the storm would catch us.  We decided to spend the time shuttling our cars around instead, proving to be the right decision. Thankfully we decided to hold off the campfire and dinner as a deluge of rain and lightning drenched the area.

Narrowsburg, NY looking west after a thunderstorm had passed July 18th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Narrowsburg, NY looking west after a thunderstorm had passed July 18th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo
Narrowsburg, NY looking east after a Thunderstorm passed. July 18th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Narrowsburg, NY looking east after a Thunderstorm passed. July 18th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Back at our campsite and cars shuttled, I get the fire started so we can begin cooking dinner. Iced in our cooler are ribeye steaks, baked potatoes and corn on the cob. For desert we have watermelon, Fig Newtons and chocolate chip cookies. Now for an adult beverage or two. The fire is crackling away, the lime is squeezed, glass is iced and the gin and tonic poured. Jerry and I are now resting comfortably in our chairs next to the fire as we chatter about the day and what is in store for tomorrow.

Awake at 6:30AM Jerry and I begin the days preparations. A quick breakfast and another shuttling of cars. We are on the water by 9:00AM under glorious sunshine and another day of scorching heat. 17 miles ahead of us and many rapids to cool us off. Today would be a bit more entertaining than yesterday. The endless parade of rafts, kayaks, canoes and tubes would ply this section of the Delaware River from countless camping and rafting outfits along its shores. Most of them all liquored up by 9AM or so. We watched and laughed as the comedy show progressed.

One of the hundreds of flotilla's along the Delaware on July 19th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
One of the hundreds of flotilla’s along the Delaware on July 19th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Moving on the water was very placid but a little faster moving than yesterday. Jerry calls out to me look an eagle off to your right. Sure enough a Bald Eagle was sitting on the fallen tree along the river’s edge. Slowly and quietly Jerry and I approach. Surprisingly the eagle hasn’t taken off yet. We were able to get a few images before its graceful departure.

Bald Eagle along the Delaware River July 19th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Bald Eagle along the Delaware River July 19th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo
Bald Eagle along the Delaware River July 19th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Bald Eagle along the Delaware River July 19th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

Sections of the Delaware still had fog from the early morning as we approached two men and a dog fishing from a boat. Quietly we snuck up on them before they even noticed we were there. A friendly hello and we continued on. Shortly after Jerry had a fan club. A group of ducks were hoping that Jerry made them breakfast as they followed his every move. This is typical Jerry attracting all types!

This 17 mile section of river had many more rapids than yesterday, one of my favorites was called “Staircase Rapids” just east of Pond Eddy, NY. It sounded intimidating but was more mild than the name perceived, a decent soaker at best. Then there was “Mongaup Rapids” my favorite. I got pretty soaked on this one, bounced off a few rocks, managed to stay upright, so much fun.

 

Early morning tranquility right after we launched  July 19th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Early morning tranquility right after we launched July 19th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

 

Passing one of the many campsites along the Delaware River July 19th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Passing one of the many campsites along the Delaware River July 19th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo
Fishermen along the Delaware River July 19th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Fishermen along the Delaware River July 19th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

 

Jerry's fan club hoping for some food. July 19th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Jerry’s fan club hoping for some food. July 19th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo

 

Jerry Albertie 'groupies" coming for the paparazzi. July 19th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Jerry Albertie ‘groupies” coming for the paparazzi. July 19th 2015.
Image © Joe Geronimo
Here is a photo by Kittatinny Canoes of Mongaup Rapids. Image © Kittatinnyy Canoe
Here is a photo by Kittatinny Canoes of Mongaup Rapids.
Image © Kittatinnyy Canoe

Approaching our last mile or so of our trip, a completion of a 32 mile two day kayak trip would not be without task. We would first have to shoot the rapids at Mill Rift, duck under a massive railroad bridge navigate a smaller set of rapids to the east of the bridge where we would reach the beachhead. This section of river recently made the news on July 7th when the Mill Rift Fire Department had to rescue 12 people in two separate incidents minutes apart. You can read the story by following the link below.

This was a wonderful trip, Jerry and I are now talking about doing another trip next summer between Hancock, NY and Long Eddy about 25 miles.

http://www.recordonline.com/article/20150707/NEWS/150709565