I recently spent 5 days in the Adirondacks, canoeing, camping and beer drinking. I also picked up another new canoe from Raquette River Outfitters in Tupper Lake, NY. Back in June I ordered a Northstar Canoes “Northwind Solo” in their “Starlite” layup. This boat is 15′ 6″ long and weighs 27#’s and is an absolute joy to paddle. I love the how it just glides effortlessly through the water and it turns gracefully.
While in Lake Placid one afternoon my friend Gary and I paddled a few miles on the Chubb River as I was anxious to try out my new ride. About a mile down river we came to our first beaver dam. Instead of getting out in some deep water to drag our boats over we both decided to try and run it.
We were both successful and I managed to put the first scratches on this kevlar beauty!
Below I’ve included a link to a short video of my attempt, hope you like it.
Recently I carried my canoe 3 miles into Middle Settlement Lake in the west central Adirondacks outside of Old Forge, NY. I’ve been eyeing this adventure for a while now. This is one of the reasons I originally purchased light weight carbon/kevlar canoes in order to explore ponds and lakes further into the wilderness.
Middle Settlement Lake is located in the 26,600 acre Ha-de-ron-dah Wilderness in the western foothills of the Adirondacks, there is a lean to located on the lake as well. Almost immediately after signing the trailhead register you are treated with 2/10 of a mile steep climb. From here the trail descends and becomes relatively rolling all the way to the lake. However there are some muddy sections and at one point I thought I was going to literally loose my shoes.
Once we reached the 46 acre lake we discovered a large group currently at the lean-to. We were disappointed but found a nearby vacant campsite to take a break and have lunch. I enjoyed paddling this lake and the adventure of getting there and back. I will say by time I got back to my car I was done. It was so humid on the trail and my clothes were completely soaked through. In the end I was happy that I did it!
Life has been hectic for me this year as I have barely gotten out on the water. Below you will find a video link to this adventure and two other recent outings in the Adirondacks.
On a warm Spring day in 2001 my engineer (Henry Greenblatt) and I were patiently waiting in Hillcrest, NY for permission to enter the yard from the Canadian Pacific yardmaster. All of a sudden we heard a docile voice from below the cab window of our locomotive calling to us. It was a slender woman, a straw hat atop of her head and a great big smile. She wanted to know what we were doing sitting there. Henry’s good natured response was “Come on up!” As she entered the locomotive cab you could see the excitement on her face, she introduced herself as Marly DeDio. From that day on a friendship was born between Marly and most of the train service employees. As we would head north or south we could count on a friendly wave from Marly. Or even better yet with advanced notice of our passing, a fresh baked gift of cookies could be hooped up.
Marly was a passionate gardener, she even inspired my love/hate relationship with it. Also Marly started my love of birds. Sometimes I would visit her and we’d sit on her back porch sipping tea and eating scones.
My friendship with Marly had become invaluable, she had become part of our family. My boys adored her as she did them. Marly even spent several Christmas holidays with us over the years. During the past year I had dropped out of touch with her and on this Christmas morning I stepped out to the mailbox to check for mail from the previous day. In there I found a letter from a mutual friend informing me that Marly had passed away recently. Our family is heartbroken! Apparently Marly had developed Parkinson’s disease and fallen breaking her neck.
Marly was a wonderful human being and our lives are that much richer for knowing her, Rest In Peace my friend. 😢
In early September myself and two other friends went on a canoe camping trip in the St. Regis Canoe Area of New York’s Adirondack Park. The weather would be perfect with nights dipping into the low 30’s. I loved this adventure and hope you enjoy some of the images from it.
September 8th I left my home in the Southern Tier of New York arriving in Lake Placid, NY 4.5 hours later. Here I would meet my friend Gary with Placid being our home for the night. We would do some paddling in the area, also hitting a few of the local breweries as well.
Early the next morning Gary & I would meet our friend Scott at our starting point “Little Clear Pond” for our adventure. Our canoes loaded and I mean loaded we were off for 4 days/3 nights of adventure.
Once across Little Clear Pond we would have a 1/2 mile canoe carry to St. Regis Pond. Each of us wound up doing a “Double Carry” due to our packs being so heavy. Our goal for this trip would be to hopefully snag the only lean-to on St. Regis Pond. Our hopes would be dashed as it was already occupied. No worries we scouted a great primitive campsite not too far away. We unloaded our gear, setup our site and we were off for a great little pond hopping adventure for the rest of the day.
We would paddle across the 400 acre St. Regis Pond to the 116 meter canoe carry into Green Pond, followed by a 255 meter carry to Little Long Pond, followed by a 315 meter carry to Bear Pond and lastly a 121 meter carry to Bog Pond. I’ve paddled most of these ponds mentioned here before. I love these little ponds, especially Little Long Pond. We would make it back to camp around 5:30 in order to get dinner cooking and the campfire going for the evening. Later that evening we would crack a few beers, peer through the tree canopy as millions of stars shined in the night sky.
Morning came and our first order of business was coffee! Our plan for the day was another pond hopping adventure with one of the carries being 1.4 miles. The day would contrast in many ways. I mean we had periods of sun and light mist. We also battled a little mud especially at the aptly named “Mud Pond” where I sank down to my waist. As my cohorts were laughing I was able to free myself rather quickly.
My favorite from the day was “Fish Pond”. This pond is remote and takes some getting into. It does have two lean to’s on it and we decided to sit out some of the passing weather at one of them enjoying a hot fire and some lunch.
After spending most of the day paddling and carrying we found ourselves back at camp around 5PM. This seemed like a perfect time to get things in order, cook dinner and relax and watch the day fade into night.
We were still exhausted the next day from our prior adventure and decided a camp day was just what we needed. We sat around and told tall tales, sipped some whiskey, paddled and even took a nap. We knew this coming night would be cold as overnight temperatures would dip to just around freezing. The night sky was clear and in the distance we could hear the thunder of Vermont’s Air National Guard and their F16’s doing some night training. The Adirondacks see’s a lot of that my guess is because of the low volume of air traffic but I’ve been wrong once or twice in my life.
With silence restored Gary and I sat and watched the Milky Way begin to appear as Scott snored away in his tent. Later we would be awakened by a crashing noise in camp and I thought to myself we have a bear in camp. I sprang up quickly grabbing my headlamp and peered out of my tent. Gary immediately did the same as Scott was sleeping😂. It turned out that we had three skunks checking out or homestead. They quickly dispersed into the woods and we never saw them again. However I had a difficult time getting back to sleep because of the loons and owls that began to jam at 0330. I will admit it was an amazing symphony.
The next morning it was cold and we quickly got the campfire started for some heat as well as coffee. We ate breakfast and chatted about our adventures. Afterwards we would break camp, douse our fire with water, load our boats and begin our journey out.
Once we were back to our cars with boats loaded and gear packed it was time to hit Raybrook Brew House in Raybrook, NY for a late lunch and a few cold beers. Yeah that hit the spot!
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.
This weekend I drove 260 miles round trip to Hemlock Canoe Works in the western Finger Lakes region of New York to test paddle they’re Peregrine. The Peregrine is a 15′ 9″ solo canoe and this particular one weighs in at 32 pounds. With its slotted spruce gunwales, butternut decks and walnut inserts, she’s a beauty!
I’m use to light weight pack canoes where the paddler sits on the bottom of the boat. I actually have two of these built by two different New York canoe builders. In my limited experience with solo canoes I believe traditionally the paddler kneels. Well I have a hard time kneeling since my knee surgery back in 2019. I spent over an hour sitting and paddling this canoe and over an hour kneeling in it as well.
Sitting: This canoe is setup for kneeling but I found it very stable while I was sitting and paddling. I also liked how I was able to move my legs around.
Kneeling: Once in the kneeling position this canoe became rock solid stable and it paddled more efficiently. I really liked it! With that said for some reason I was ok and my knees did not bother me.
I do plan on having it setup with the seat lower for sitting but will keep the shorter drops if I feel like kneeling.
This demo canoe will become available around mid October so I put a deposit on it giving me first choice at purchase of it. Is it October yet!
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have three beautiful canoes built right here in New York.
This week has been fun as my wife and I have spent it relaxing at our families lake house. My cousin and his wife own a summer home on the same small lake also. A few days ago the four of us decided to take a ride to the Cayuga-Seneca Canal in Waterloo, NY for an afternoon of locks and paddling.
The Cayuga-Seneca Canal is approximately 20 miles long linking Cayuga Lake with Seneca Lake or vice versa. Our plan was to launch from Oak Island in Waterloo, pass through lock CS4 (14.5 feet lift) and head east towards Seneca Falls. The highest single lift on the canal is found at Locks CS2 and CS3 in Seneca Falls. Each having a lift of 24.5 feet for a total lift of 49.0 feet. Our hopes were dashed as lock CS 2/3 is closed and under construction until early-mid August.
Paddling along we only saw one boat heading towards Seneca Lake. This boat was huge and traveling at the canal speed limit of 10MPH still produced a very large wake. But that was it, no other boats or paddlers did we see. Ducks, Herons, turtles, various types of birds were in abundance along the canal. I even spotted a very large tree that beavers had been hard at work on.
We spent several hours enjoying our time on the water, however it was hot and breezy requiring us to stop at Three Brothers Winery & Warhorse Brewing a few miles away in Geneva, NY. We had also wanted to stop at Bottomless Brewing in Geneva as well but they are closed on Mondays.
This was a fun day and look forward to paddling more of the canal in the future, cheers!
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.
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It has been a while since I’ve written so I figured I’d give you all a brief update. On May 16th I traveled to the Adirondacks to pick up a new canoe I had made. I purchased a Hornbeck Boats New Tricks, this pack canoe is 14 feet long and weighs 24 pounds.
I cannot express enough how fortunate I feel to own two beautiful canoes handcrafted right here in New York. Some people collect cars, me I have begun to collect canoes. I’m Looking forward to this years adventures, however I’m not sure what they might be as our world is different now and I plan to adapt accordingly.