For the first time this year I was able to finally get out in my canoe this evening. I made the 40 minute trip to Long Pond near Smithville Flats. Launching my boat I made my way down the pond. The water was placid and the surroundings quiet only to be disturbed periodically by the chorus of song birds. Looking off to my right I noticed a female Canadian goose sitting atop a mound. I instantly realized that she was with her young.
Moving on quietly the silence of Long Pond was interrupted by a fisherman hacking his brains out as I watched him return his cigarette to his mouth. I paddled into a cove on the east end only to be greeted by two more fisherman sitting along the shoreline. After a few words I was on my way again slowly paddling along the shore.
I paused for a few minutes in an attempt to photograph a Northern Flicker but it proved fruitless. Then I caught a glimpse of movement from the corner of my right eye. Slowly I turned and there I spied a beaver having some dinner. I dipped my paddle in the water and turned my boat cautiously toward him. A few soft paddle strokes to move closer. This beaver has yet to notice my presence as I ever so slightly reach for my camera. Click, click, click and he still does’t know I’m there. Click, click, click and now his attention turns to me and he disappears into the brush.
I patiently waited to see if he would return but to no avail. I returned back up the pond to the launch site feeling excited about my return to Long Pond.
On a recent morning before going to work I was reminiscing in my mind of a trip to the Adirondacks I had taken not to long ago. The trip was a memorable one to say the least. Fresh in my mind was the vivid sunset I had laid witness to while in Tupper Lake, NY that evening. I’d have to say it was one of the most breath taking I’ve seen in my lifetime.
I was fortunate to be able to make several images of that sunset during its many stages. However one image in particular I never really liked so it never made it to the editing process. Over the past several days that particular image has grown on me and I’ve found myself going back to look at it repeatedly. I finally realized what it is I have come to love about that image. Its not perfect, and neither am I or anyone else for that matter. It reinforces to me that even though we as humans are not perfect there is something to love about everyone.
On April 24th our team “Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire” took part in my favorite race, the Seneca 7. For those of you who don’t know about this race I’ll briefly explain. The Seneca 7 is a 77.7 mile relay race around beautiful Seneca Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. This year 281 teams consisting of 7 runners each took part. Each runner on a team is required to run 3 times during the event. Each leg varies in distance but does not exceed 6 miles.
On the morning of the race I woke early as the sun began to rise over Seneca lake as I had an amazing view from my hotel room in Geneva, NY. Two other teammates of mine had crashed with me as well and the others scattered in hotels in the area.
The race start waves began at 0630 with the last wave going at 0900. We all met up at the starting line area around 0800 for our 0900 start (9:02:35). Aaron who was our first runner anxiously awaited the gun. A-Aron as we like to call him got the fire started quickly and the day just continued from there. We would arrive at the halfway point in the race at 12:50PM and begin our northward trek up the east side of the lake. We crossed the finish line back in Geneva at 5:08:10 encircling the lake in 8:05:35 for a daily pace of 6:14 per mile securing the 1st place overall winner of the 2016 Seneca 7.
To say we were excited might have been an understatement. I myself was personally humbled by the days event. In the end we ran hard, we had a lot of fun along the way but most importantly we ran as a team of friends who share a passion for running.
I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to all who cheered for us, congratulated us and supported us, you all are amazing and I appreciate you!!!!!!!
A great big thank you to Seneca 7 race directors Jackie Augustine & Jeff Henderson and all who took the time to volunteer for another amazing race.
It’s the first day of Spring and today’s long run called for 12 miles. My workout was to consist of picking up the pace for the last 15 minutes and adding in some hills. As luck would have it today was also the 43rd annual Forks XV road race and that course I thought would be a perfect fit for part of my long run.
I began with a 3 mile warmup prior to the race. I would then run the 9.3 mile Forks course to complete my mileage. I made every effort to stay true to my workout and not get dragged into the excitement of “Race Day”. The weather was perfect with the temperature hovering around 40 degrees. I felt comfortable, strong and confident and was able to maintain coherent conversation for most of the run. Around mile 7 of the race course I stopped for about 30-40 seconds for water which I thought was odd because I rarely ever drink on a course less than a half marathon.
I finished the day with 12.32 miles with a time of 1:29:21. The time it took to complete the Forks XV course was 108:19 which is 2 seconds off from my PR of the course in 2014. To say I am happy in an understatement.
Here we are the last day in January with no significant snowfall so far this winter and none in sight for the coming week. I’ve enjoyed this weather so much and as a matter of fact I’ve even run several days this month in shorts and a long sleeve shirt. I can proudly say I’ve only used the treadmill a handful of times due to my schedule and the wind. I hate the wind!
It has been a good month for me running and with no real races planned for the next 90 days I’m enjoying it even more. I call it stress free running. One thing I have noticed over the past two months is a tiny bit of speed improvement but by far I’ve seen my aerobic fitness increase. Last year my mileage was reduced quite drastically and I saw my fitness drop. However I have a long way to go in that department but the progress is promising.
This month the boys brought home the plague from school and kindly distributed it throughout the house. Ok not the plague but a cold to us guys is like the plague. I managed to get through it and have one of my biggest running mileage months. With a scheduled long run this morning I thought it would be best to get started early. Waking at 0545 in order to get myself together and get out there I hit the pavement by 0645. With winter still on the fence today was one of those shorts and long sleeve shirt days. I finished a strong month today with a total of 209.57 miles.
I’m hoping this weather pattern continues for February.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.