We had hopes of paddling in Old Forge this weekend under a palette of fall color. I was frantically checking the weather everyday only to have our hopes dashed by rain and wind. However that did not stop us from packing up the family truckster and head north to the Adirondacks. Saturday morning, literally as we got on the highway the rain began to fall. It poured the entire 3 hour trip to Old Forge.
Our first stop was Old Forge Hardware, as we would spend the better part of an hour wandering the vast aisles of stuff. Max is obsessed with bears and rightfully so, that is his nickname. He convinced his mother to purchase a bear cookie cutter for making Christmas cookies this year. I myself could not resist the canoe cookie cutter either. With our tummies rumbling like a bear we drove 10 miles further north to Inlet, NY and the Screaming Eagle for lunch. For all you beer lovers out there they have at least 30 beers on tap. I tried the Bell’s Inspired Brewing “Octoberfest” and have to say I enjoyed it very much. As we were eating lunch the rain had stopped and the sun was teasing us from behind the thick cloud cover.
With such uncertainty in the weather we decided to do two short hikes. The first would be Rocky Mountain in Eagle Bay. This half mile, steep hike to the summit of Rocky Mountain has some stunning views of Fourth Lake. Our elevation gain according to my GPS was 489 feet.. Actually Michael and I hiked this back in 2013 the day before the Utica Boilermaker 15K. Staying right in Eagle Bay our next stop would be the Moss Lake loop which includes the Sis & Bubb lake trail as well. Sis & Bubb lakes are two lakes only reachable on foot. We began our adventure at the Moss Lake trailhead located off Big Moose road. We followed part of the Moss lake loop trail until reaching the Sis & Bubb lake trail. Here we turned and hiked to both lakes and were rewarded with some amazing color and sunshine. Our round trip hike would be 4.32 miles with only 269 feet of gain. Now if you know me I’m already planning to return with my canoe and paddle both lakes.
Back at the trailhead parking lot we tossed our gear into the car and headed back into Old Forge so we could check into our hotel for the evening. The boys were exhausted and Julie and I were thirsty. We left the boys like zombies in the hotel room and ventured to the Fulton Chain Craft Brewery for some refreshments. The place was packed, but I was still able to secure two seats at the bar with some quick thinking. Returning to the hotel to grab Michael and Max it was late but time for dinner.
With dinner in the books I wanted take a walk down along Old Forge pond. It was quiet and gazing up at the night sky you could see some stars. Julie, myself and the boys found the playground with complete with swings and a wooded pirate ship. Can you believe the Fratelli’s made me walk the plank! I know all you Goonies fans will appreciate that.
I woke Sunday morning around 0600 as I had planned to do my morning run before everyone was awake. I quietly snuck out the door to a light rain falling and off I went. Crossing the Moose river that light rain became a steadier rain and the wind was fierce. By mile two it was pouring and the wind and rain was pelting me in the back but I continued. Weaving my way through downtown Old Forge along the waterfront and onto the Tobie trail towards Thendera. In the middle of my last mile the rain had let up and I returned completely soaked. Thankfully it was almost 70 degrees at 6AM so it wasn’t all that bad.
Starving and craving pancakes I riled the troops and we headed for breakfast at Keyes Pancake House. A full stack of blueberry pancakes and some hot coffee made the world better. The rain and wind continued so I wanted to drive out towards Raquette Lake and see how the colors were there. I was not disappointed! The white caps on the bigger lakes made them seem like the ocean. As we were driving I noticed a lot of the leaves had been knocked down due to the heavy rain and wind. Oddly enough as we returned back to Old Forge to gas up for the trip home the rain stopped and the sun again was teasing us. Julie, Max and I ran into a few of the shops while Michael decided to stay in the car. A little while later we were all gassed and on our way home.
Saturday September 23rd 2017: Zipping up my wetsuit into a new adventure, open water swimming. Several years ago I had purchased a wetsuit with the intent on using it, things never panned out that way. Our swim was to take place on Quaker lake in Silver Lake Township Pennsylvania not too far south of the New York border.
Saturday morning the fog quickly burned off, the air temperature perfect and the lake like glass. I’m guessing the water was somewhere between 66-68 degrees. The three of us (Chris, Bob & Myself) plunged into the lake at 0840, beginning our swim. I’ll admit I had been nervous all week leading up to this. I purchased a 15 liter New Wave Swim Buoy as a safety precaution. I was extremely happy with it and you wouldn’t even know it was there. Chris would swim 2 miles skirting the perimeter of the lake. Myself and Bob would swim 1.5 miles down and back the length of the lake. I stopped a few times briefly to adjust my goggles and take a quick break. On our way back up the lake I began to feel a little more confident with some endurance, my nerves had finally settled. Exiting the lake and sitting on the dock I glanced down the lake taking notice of my accomplishment, turning to my watch I covered the distance in 1:27:00. I really enjoyed the experience of open water swimming and look forward to more of it in the future. Recently I have been using swimming as a cross training tool, a low impact workout to supplement my running.
Later that day Julie and I would head back down to Pennsylvania to our families lake house to visit my cousin, his wife Dawn and friends who were staying the weekend. Some great food, company, kayaking, campfire and a game of Cards Against Humanity and all was right with the world.
Sunday September 24th 2017: Lacing up my running shoes I would run my first race in five months, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Greater Binghamton Marathon. Myself, Chris, Chuck and Ken would run the marathon relay as team “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. It was another beautiful day in the Southern Tier but extremely warm. Chuck would be our first runner, followed by Chris, Ken and lastly I would be runner #4. I do feel the need to pick on Ken for his little snafu during the race, just because it adds to the memories of a really fun day. Prior to Ken’s turn running he was getting in a few extra miles. Chris arrived to the exchange earlier than anticipated and Ken wasn’t around. I panicked and quickly jumped in and began to run. A few minutes later Ken exchanged with Chris and the guys came and pulled me off the course just over a mile in. Even though we lost some time Ken ran strong showing up to exchange with me pretty much as predicted. My leg of the course would be 4.2 miles mostly along the rail trail. It was HOT and I struggled a bit. I almost never hit the water stops on a race course but today I did twice. I ran an average of 7:26 pace for the race and honestly I could not be happier finishing my run in 30:58. This was huge for me because I had no pain in my hip flexors at all. I’ve finally have gotten my bigger muscles to start doing the work and I have really been enjoying the rebuilding process. Approaching the finish I was very excited to see my wife cheering me on as it its always brightens my day to see her smile. Our official finishing time was 3:15:25.
Post race refreshments and entertainment were provided by Ommegang Brewing of Cooperstown, NY and Local band Wreckless Marci. Later in the afternoon the week had finally caught up with me and I found myself unexpectedly napping on the couch.
Cheers to a super fun weekend!
It’s September 22nd 2017 4:02PM and I am teaming with excitement as the Autumn Equinox has officially begun. Fall is by far my favorite time of the year. There is so much to be excited about. Crisp temperatures, changing and falling leaves and the fall harvest of fruits and vegetables. I personally love the apples and squash that come into season this time of year.
For me Autumn also enhances my love of running and canoeing. There is just something peaceful and magical about the crunching of leaves underfoot, our hillsides burning with reds, yellows and oranges or a placid lake at sunrise or sunset. No matter what you enjoy doing Autumn is a perfect time of year to be outside!
While summer slips into Autumn I am reminded at how much I enjoy fall paddling in the Northeast. I try to take every advantage I can get to be out on the water whether by myself or with my family. Sadly this summer I/we have not been on the water much and Max and I have not even taken the Cownoe out together.
The boys and I had plans to camp and canoe in the Fish Creek Ponds area of the Adirondacks this summer but we had to cancel. However not all was lost. Julie, Max & I took advantage of the nice weather this past weekend and made the short drive to Nanticoke lake in Lisle, NY. Nanticoke is a small and quiet lake. This is partly due to the quarter mile hike in from the parking area.
I also learned a very valuable lesson for the future as well. An 18 foot 47lb canoe with gear and a 30 lb kayak strapped on top make for a heavy portage. The lesson I learned is two canoe carts instead of one and your shoulders will thank you.
To our surprise we discovered two other people kayaking, a sight I have not seen here before. Then again I’m mostly here at sunrise.
No matter what you enjoy doing Autumn is one of the best times to get out and do what you love, so enjoy!
This past weekend we traveled to Long Island to visit my sister who had been in the hospital, celebrate my brothers birthday and just spend some time with family. It was a nice weekend despite some medical issues my sister is experiencing.
With that said on Friday August 18th Julie, myself and the boys along with their cousin visited the Fire Island National Seashore and the Fire Island lighthouse. The weather was overcast and humid but a nice breeze kept things somewhat tolerable. In all the years I had lived and visited Long Island I never took the time to climb the 182 steps to the top of the light. This has been on my list of things to do for quite sometime now and finally I got it done!
Julie and I hope to return in the near future and do some more exploration along the seashore.
We had just come off what I call a marathon vacation trip. Boston, New Hampshire, Vermont, Acadia National Park in Maine and Vermont. We were literally home for two days before heading to Long Island to visit family. Julie, myself and the boys took an afternoon trip to Shelter Island on a beautiful summer day doing our best to decompress.
This image has to be one of my favorites of my boys and I… Love them to the moon and back!
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.