This past week my friend Gary and I had planned to canoe camp 3 days in the St. Regis Canoe Area of the Adirondacks. The first day was a bust as it rained cats and dogs all day. By 6PM that evening the rain finally stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shined. However it was to late to get started so we spent the night in Lake Placid beer tasting..
The weather report for the remainder of our time looked sketchy but early Tuesday morning we set out on our adventure under beautiful clear skies. Peering at our paddlers map it was determined we had wanted a lean-to instead of tent camping. Launching off of Keese Mill Rd. in Paul Smith’s we passed two lean-to’s that were in decent locations but didn’t have the esthetics we had envisioned. Shortly we entered Lower St. Regis Lake rounding a point where the Peter’s Rock lean-to stood with it’s panoramic view of the lake. This was it! The downside it wasn’t nearly remote as we had hoped with its view of Paul Smith’s College across the lake. That said it was picture perfect and as it was vacant. Dropping our gear and staking our claim we were back in our canoes and off on the day’s adventure.
We would paddle just a little over 15 miles through some amazing scenery, carry our canoes between several ponds meeting other paddlers on their adventure as well. During the middle of the night the weather would start to change. The winds kicked up and the pitter patter of rain on the lean-to roof was a soothing sound. Lightning flickered in the nights sky like a candle with the soft rumbles of thunder in the distance. It took more than an hour for the first of two storms to finally reach us.
Laying in our sleeping bags we had an amazing view of the show. The rain and storms would be gone by 8Am but the wind was relentless. We waited the wind out until about 1-1:30 that afternoon before calling it as the weather wasn’t going to improve. We packed up our canoes and fought the wind for several miles attempting to reach the launch. Some of the gusts I would say exceeded 20MPH with a steady 15MPH head wind taking us a good 2 hours to get back.
This was my first time camping in a lean-to and I’ll admit it has spoiled me. And although the weather dashed our grand plans we still had a really fun trip and look forward to the next adventure.
Recently I purchased two new canoes from the Adirondack Canoe Company of Minerva, NY. Their “Boreas” canoe is a hybrid which can either be built as a pack canoe or a traditional solo canoe. The Boreas is 14′ long, weighs only 27 pounds and is built using a blend of carbon fiber and kevlar. Her gunwales and thwarts are hand crafted from Ash as well.
I’m a pack canoe guy but there was just something intriguing or even romantic about the solo canoe. I’ve never paddled a true solo and let me just say there was a little of a learning curve for me. I’m slowly getting the hang of it but I definitely still need to work on my paddle strokes and even my entrance and exit.
I love how this boat glides effortlessly through the water with each stroke but at the same time seems to slow life down a little. In truth I’ve only been at this for two weeks practicing on our families small lake in Pennsylvania. Come mid July I hope to take the Boreas on a trip along the west branch of the Sacandaga river and into Good Luck lake in the eastern Adirondacks.
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The gleaming warmth of the sun piercing our office window has me ever so excited that spring has sprung. More importantly some great canoe camping adventures are now in the planning stages. If that wasn’t exciting enough, I’m having two brand new carbon/kevlar canoes built for me by the Adirondack Canoe Company of Minerva, NY. Both canoes are of their “Boreas” design which are 14 feet in length. However one will be a pack canoe (24 pounds) that can be paddled with a kayak paddle and the other a traditional solo canoe (27 pounds). I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I’m getting both. To be honest I’m a huge fan of the pack canoe and I love the feeling of a double blade kayak paddle. With that said there is just something timeless about a solo canoe that draws me in as well.
Currently our dinning room table is littered with maps of the Adirondack Park and the Connecticut River Valley which straddles the borders of Vermont and New Hampshire.
My first almost completely planned trip which will take place in September has me in Lake George, NY for two days where I’ll be photographing the Lake George Triathlon Festival. After that my adventure brings me further north to the St. Regis Canoe Area for several days of pond hopping and exploring. Another component to this canoe/camp trip is that my friend Gary Sharp will be joining me. Gary is highly entertaining, a wealth of knowledge and just fun to be around. Oh and he likes beer!
Once I return to civilization I’ll take in the spectacle that is the Adirondack Canoe Classic ( 90 Miler) for three days as a volunteer with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Originally I had thought that I might want to paddle this event in 2019. After much self reflection I feel its better to be an observer in order to get a feel for it first.
The map below is currently a mock of my trip. I might add to it or even do it in reverse but it is still in the planning stages.
I encourage you to visit the Adirondack Canoe Company’s website at the link above or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Their boats are stunning!
If you like what you see here please share and follow my blog. “AdirondackJoe” can also be found on Facebook and Instagram as well.
Last week I posted about my first attempt at dehydrating meals for backpacking and canoe camping. I went out this afternoon in order to test the meal. I wanted to see if I could gauge how much water and time I would need to properly rehydrate the 6 ounces of sausage vegetable stew.
You can check out the results in a short video below! Give my blog a follow, you can also find me “Adirondack Joe” on Facebook & Instagram as well.
July 15th 2015 Michael and I summited Whiteface Mountain in New York’s Adirondack Park. To date it is our only high peak, however we hope to change that this year conquering another.
Our day started out rainy but like they say wait 10 minutes and it will change. We were treated with a glorious day for hiking and once reaching the summit we decided to change things up a bit. Choosing the road more traveled Michael and I hiked down the auto road instead, continuing to drink in those stunning views.
The temperature is a balmy 39 degrees right now with filtered sunshine, a perfect time to head for State Park and enjoy lunch and a hot cup of coffee.
I attempted this on Wednesday but struggled to keep the fire in my twig stove going. Everything has been so damp and wet lately. However today was a success and the embers were glowing with a vibrant autumn orange.
Lastly check my authentic Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympic knit hat….
August 30th 2018: I got started north late in the afternoon arriving Old Forge, NY around 6:30PM. With still at least two more hours of driving I decided to call it a night. I find the older I get if I don’t have to drive at night I won’t. So instead I pulled up my chair to the bar at Fulton Chain Craft Brewing, ordered a beer and food and chatted with the locals about the upcoming “Adirondack Canoe Classic” affectionately known as the 90 Miler. This event starts in Old Forge and finishes three days later in Saranac Lake. A bucket list experience for me!
August 31st 2018: 0600, A beautiful sun kissed morning with the boat launch at Long Pond still 90 miles distant. Full tank of gas, coffee and I’m ready to hit the road. I would meet my friends Jan and Hugh who had already been camping there since Thursday. They had gone in the day prior to make sure we could secure a campsite being it a holiday weekend.
I arrived right on time 0840 and began unloading my gear. The pond is a quarter mile from the parking area and on my first trip Jan came walking up the trail to greet me. Two trips total and my canoe loaded we were off. As I setup my tent and sleeping system Jan and Hugh made some coffee before our 12 mile adventure that would take us through Long Pond, Slang Pond, Turtle Pond and Hoel Pond.
The takeout for the canoe carry from Long Pond to Slang Pond is a really nice sandy area. A short 0.2 mile carry on a well maintained trail brings you to put-in on Slang Pond. This is a little mucky but easily done. I personally loved the channel connecting Slang and Turtle Pond. The take out on Turtle Pond again was a real nice sandy spot. In order to get into Hoel Pond you could either walk your boat through the culvert that connects the two or carry up and over the railroad tracks that split the two ponds. I opted to carry up and over!
The wind kicked up pretty good while on Hoel. Hoel is the only pond that day that isn’t complete wilderness and does have some homes along its shoreline. We would break for lunch at a small sandy spot in a cove on the northern end. Afterwards we would begin our way back to our campsite on Long Pond. As we passed between Turtle and Slang Ponds we bumped into Linda McFarland sitting on her kayak having her lunch. We chatted with Linda for a little before continuing.
Back at our campsite we began to prep our dinner. I was hoping for a stunning sunset this evening and views of the Milkyway as well. However the clouds started to roll in and we even got a few sprinkles of rain.
September 1st 2018: I woke several times during the night peering out my tent to see if the cloud cover had given way to millions of stars in the night sky, I would not be so lucky. However the loons were very active and their call never tires.
Not long after sunrise we were up brewing coffee. For me I keep coffee simple while camping as I use instant. Fire up the Jetboil and in 3 minutes coffee is poured. Hugh and Jan prefer the drip method while camping. My go to breakfast while out in the woods is oatmeal. One cup quick oats, one small box of raisins and 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
While Jan and Hugh were starting to break camp I tested out Jan’s Placid Boat Works “Rapid-fire” kevlar canoe. This beauty is 15′ long and glides very nicely through the water. It is a little different than my 12′ Hornbeck kevlar/carbon canoe but both are great boats. It’s late morning now and we have our canoes packed and we begin our paddle out. But first we are headed to explore Pink Pond. Pink Pond is really and you enter it from Long Pond through a twisting channel with low water. Just before entering the channel to Pink Pond we bumped into a DEC Ranger who had just finished checking the campsite there. We had a small conversation and she was on here way.
Back at the take out on Long Pond I made two trips to my car. One with gear and the other with my canoe. Jan and Hugh would do the same. After everything was loaded onto and into our cars we said our goodbyes as I was headed for St. Regis Canoe Outfitters in Saranac Lake to take a shower.
All showered I made my way to Lake Placid for a late lunch at a BBQ place called Smoke Signals. I have never been there before so I figured why not, it was excellent. After lunch I would hang around in Placid for a little before making my way east over route 73 to the Adirondack north way. Thinking in my head I need to hit another pond I came up with Cheney Pond just outside of Newcomb, NY.
Arriving at the trailhead it is a half mile drive down a very steep, narrow, rough rutted road to the pond. I’ll admit I was wondering if I’d get out. I eased my way tot he pond discovering a family camped right near the small hand launch. Cheney is relatively small but secluded. I would spend an hour just exploring the shoreline which according to my GPS is 1.5 miles. Back in my car and again very slowly I inched my way out and found this adventure had made me thirsty. As luck would have it Paradox Brewing was only 20 minutes away in Schroon Lake, NY, I was saved!
My destination for the evening would be Lake George, NY as I was to be photographing the Big George Triathlon early Sunday morning. This is a half Ironman distance 70.3 miles. The triathlon consists of 1.2 mile swim, 56 miles on the bike followed by a half marathon. I would find a great place to car camp along route 9N in Lake Vanare for the evening.
September 2nd 2018: I slept great as I have a killer sleeping system setup in my car. And I was lakeside in Lake George by 0630 to do my part in photographing the triathlon. This would be my fourth year doing so and every year I photograph the bikes. I love doing this especially when they come into transition which can provide some dramatic images. Afterwards it was time to hit the road and head home.
This was a super fun weekend and I look forward to doing it again next year.