Canoeing The Upper Susquehanna River

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.

Cheers!

Launching our canoes on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
My friend Marty on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
We’ve just entered the upper Susquehanna river paddling north towards Cooperstown, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
Taking a break on the Cherry Valley Creek Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
Making our way back down the Cherry Valley Creek near Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
Dodging some rain and thunderstorms along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
My friend Marty eases his Northstar Phoenix around one of several hairpin turns along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Song of the Paddle

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.

Cheers!

Hemlock Canoe Works “Peregrine” Canadice Lake © Joe Geronimo
Looking north up Canadice Lake from a Hemlock Canoe Works Peregrine. © Joe Geronimo
Finished with my time paddling a Hemlock Canoe Works Peregrine on Canadice Lake. © Joe Geronimo

Cayuga-Seneca Canal

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!

Entering Lock CS4 (Eastbound) Cayuga Seneca Canal Waterloo NY July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
I’m holding onto the rope lines waiting to descend the 14.5 feet in Lock CS4 Waterloo NY July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Exiting Lock CS4 after descending 14.5 feet (eastbound) Waterloo, NY July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Paddling along the Cayuga Seneca Canal July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Making our way along the Cayuga Seneca Canal July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
My cousin Chris and his wife Dawn along the Cayuga Seneca Canal July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo
Entering lock CS4 (westbound) July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

 

Almost there! Waiting for the lock doors to open to continue July 20th 2020. © Joe Geronimo

 

This is an image of the double locks CS 2/3 in Seneca Falls, NY  I took a few years ago. © Joe Geronimo

 

 

Review: Überleben Stöker Flatpack Stove

It is no secret that I love gear, so when I came across this Uberleben Stoker flatpack stove I knew I had to give it a try. I already own a Solostove Lite which I love. In my opinion you can’t have too many twig stoves.

This afternoon I headed to my local State Park to get it’s fire burning and have some food. Conditions out on the trail aren’t always perfect and today’s weather I feel was a good representative of that. The temperature a balmy 38 degrees in addition to 15-17MPH winds and snow flurries thrown in for good measure. It has been very damp and wet here lately so in order to get the fire going I decided to bring some dryer lint and two small pieces of fat wood and in no time the belly of this beast had come alive.

I filled my pot with 12 ounces of cold water and placed it on top. I continued to feed the fire a steady diet of leaves, twigs and sticks. The one thing I have noticed with these twigs stoves is they are constantly hungry. In these conditions it took 15 minutes for the 12 ounces of water to boil which I felt was reasonable. On a warm day with light wind I’m confident boiling time would be around 8-9 minutes.

I poured the water into a Goodto-Go single serve dehydrated meal (Chicken Gumbo) stirred and sealed and let rehydrate for 15 minutes. I put another 12 ounces of water back into my pot in order to boil for coffee.

The Stove: A little on the heavy side (14.5 ounces with canvas sleeve), this extremely compact and simple 5 panel stove assembles in about a minute or so. The first time I put it together it felt a little clumsy to me and I was skeptical that it would be as sturdy as I have read. All the pieces fit snug together giving it a solid base. This stove is made from heavy duty 304 grade stainless steel which is anti-corrosive.  After I had it assembled I truly liked its feel, solid as a tank. You will have no issue what so ever placing a heavy cast iron skillet or pot on this stove. Another great feature about this product was the large opening to feed the fire and the nicely placed holes for consistent airflow.

What I Liked:

Ease of assembly, compact, large opening to feed the fire, Sturdiness, airflow and lastly the price.

What I Didn’t Like:

A little heavier than I would like and extremely sooty during disassembly.

I believe that the positives outweigh the negatives and highly recommend this compact, affordable twig stove. I hope this review of the Uberleben Stoker Flatpack Stove was helpful and if you have a product that you would like me to review please feel free to contact me.

Cheers!

Compact & flat the Überleben Stöker Flatpack Stove comes in this nice canvas sleeve. ©Joe Geronimo
All the parts of the very compact easy to assemble Überleben Stöker Flatpack Stove. © Joe Geronimo
Completely assembled the Überleben Stöker Flatpack Stove is extremely sturdy. ©Joe Geronimo

 

The belly of the Überleben Stöker Flatpack Stove is alive with fire. ©Joe Geronimo

 

12 ounces of water working itself to a boil atop of the Überleben Stöker Flatpack Stove. ©Joe Geronimo

 

15 minutes later we have boiling water atop of the Überleben Stöker Flatpack Stove. ©Joe Geronimo

 

Goodto-Go chicken gumbo and a hot cup of coffee on cold and windy winter afternoon. ©Joe Geronimo

St. Pete’s Beach Florida

Michael had talked with us about taking a cruise as kind of a high school graduation present. To be honest I had no desire to take a cruise and I still don’t. However Julie being the voice of reason she usually is promptly stated how inexpensive it would be to feed Michael on a cruise as to a traditional vacation, she now had my attention.

Our trip to Florida began back on November 24th 2017 “Black Friday” as I booked our cruise online with Carnival Cruise Lines. We would fly into Tampa Bay the day before, relax at our resort by the pool with drinks and set sail to Cozumel Mexico the next day.

Fast forward to February 2018 as I received an email from Carnival stating that they had changed our port from Cozumel to Havana Cuba  I re-read the email a dozen times to make sure I was reading it properly and each time I became more upset. I approached Julie about it and she was equally annoyed. We stewed on it for a few days and came to the conclusion that it might not be all that bad. So chatted with the boys and they seemed on board as well. Heck if there are palm trees Michael is all set.

Several days later Julie being the researcher she is began diving into the specifics of traveling to Cuba. First our enhanced drivers license would not work and we would need passports. There is an additional $500. Next she discovered due to the relationship with the United States, Cuba would require us to purchase additional visa’s to even get off the boat, another $300. Then once off the ship we would not be permitted to roam freely and would have to be with a tour group. Even with the tour group you couldn’t breakaway. For example if Tourist A wanted to visit a certain shop or restaurant everyone would have to visit the same place, another $600 for the tour.

So on top of the flights, Cruise, hotel cost we would add another $1,400 to our trip. We were not happy to say the least. So we talked about it and decided to cancel the cruise. We had put a $600 deposit down the day of booking and the remaining was due by June. I contacted Carnival and they returned $400 of the $600 and we decided to just visit Florida instead since we already had the flights paid for and at least the first nights hotel.

I’ve never personally used Air BnB, VRBO or Home Away so I jumped online and began to search places near Tampa to stay. Long story short I found a great condo in St. Pete’s Beach only a 5 minute walk to the beach, two bedrooms, two full baths, kitchen, living room and a back patio. I contacted the owner and our dates were available since it would be August. Let me just say the the cost of the condo for 4 nights and a car rental was just under a $1,000. I didn’t know what to expected when we arrived at the condo since I only saw pictures of it online. We opened the door and the place was awesome, clean and comfortable. Definitely felt like a home away from home.

The goal for this vacation was to have fun and just relax and and not try to cram 4,000 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag running around here and there. This actually felt like a vacation. We visited the Tampa Aquarium, took a guided kayak tour of Florida’s Shell Key Preserve, enjoyed a lot of food, beer & ice cream, went to a Waterpark with my cousin whom I have not seen in several years and relaxed a bit on the beach. I even read two books. Heck I barely took any photos.

Julie the boys and I had a great time and Michael has expressed possible interest in living in St. Pete’s during next summer.

Cheers!

Along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida’s Shell Key Preserve August 10th 2018, © Joe Geronimo
Exploring the Mangrove tunnels in Florida’s Shell Key Preserve August 10th 2018, © Joe Geronimo
The placid waters of Florida’s Shell Key Preserve before the wind kicked up August 10th 2018, © Joe Geronimo
Julie relaxing on treasure Island Beach St. Pete’s Beach, FL. © Joe Geronimo
Lagoon jellyfish at the Tampa Aquarium, © Joe Geronimo
Getting ready to board our plane in Tampa, FL to return home, © Joe Geronimo

A Beacon of Light

This past weekend Julie, the boys and I made a quick overnight trip to Long Island to visit family. Every time I visit which isn’t all that much I am quickly reminded as to why I left, the traffic is disgusting. However there is one bright beacon of light we do enjoy, Fire Island Lighthouse and National Seashore.

Cruising the Ocean Parkway is another favorite of ours. It is several miles out of our way but surely makes up for it in beauty and lack of heavy traffic. Pulling into parking field #5 before arriving at my sister’s home we found it surprisingly uncrowded for a Saturday. It was quite windy along the shore making it feel as if we were in a sand blaster. Undeterred we hiked around for about an hour or so taking in the sights, sounds and smell of the ocean, we had a wonderful time. Next visit we hope to alot more time in order to hike to Kismet, Saltaire and Fair Harbor.

Cheers!

Julie & I at Fire Island Light and National Seashore July 21st 2018. © Joe Geronimo
A beacon of light, Fire Island Light stands proud along the Atlantic Ocean July 21st 2018. © Joe Geronimo

Fire Island National Seashore

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.

Making our way to the Fire Island Light August 18th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Myself, Michael, Nicholas & Max Fire Island National Seashore August 18th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Looking west from the top of the Fire Island Light August 18th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Looking east from the Fire Island Light August 18th 2017. © Joe Geronimo

 

Max peering down from the top of the Fire Island Light August 18th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Michael atop the Fire Island Light August 18th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
My nephew Nick enjoying the breeze atop of the Fire Island Light August 18th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
The 167 foot Fire Island Lighthouse stands proud along the Atlantic Ocean August 18th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Michael, Nick, Max & Julie walking along the dunes of the Fire Island National Seashore August 18th 2017. © Joe Geronimo

Tranquility in Vermont

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.

Cheers!

Exiting the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge near Island Pond, VT June 17th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
The Nulhegan river in all her tranquility. However just 100 yards away the rapids roared. Island Pond, VT July 17th 2017 © Joe Geronimo

2017 Seneca 7 Wrap

I finally have a few moments to sit down and reflect on this years Seneca 7 relay race. A 77.7 mile circumnavigation of beautiful Seneca lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. This years field consisted of 319 teams equaling 2,233 runners.

This year we had an unexpected short notice injury to team member Jordan Varano. Jordan reluctantly had to bail out a week prior to the race. However friend Juan Martinez answered the call and I cannot thank Juan enough for stepping up and taking Jordan’s spot on short notice. Juan was a perfect fit for our team!

Our team “Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire” had some pretty stiff competition in the “Renegade 7” another all male team from Binghamton, NY who would go onto win the event placing first overall. They completed the course in 7:34:02 setting a new course record. The “Cayuga 7” a mixed team from Ithaca, NY finished first place mixed, second place overall with a course time of 7:40:40. Our team placed second male and third place overall with a time of 7:53:40 a 12 minute PR from last year with an average pace of 6:04 per mile.

During last years Seneca 7 we formed a friendship with Tom and Carrie Thompson owners of Bottomless Brewing in Geneva. Tom and Carrie were gracious enough to sponsor our team for this years event. Not only do they brew some really great beer but they add that extra special to this great running community we have. I love to run but what I love even more is the people and friendships running has graced my life with and that is always a winning combination.

And lastly I was overwhelmed with pride at the sheer volume of runners from the Triple Cities area in which we live and who I call friends.

Cheers!

Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire 2017 Seneca 7.
L-R: Ryan Heinlein, Dan Cavalari, Juan Martinez, Joe Geronimo, Adrian Milisavljevich, James Wilson & Aaron Perry
Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire 2nd place male, 3rd place overall 2017 Seneca 7.
Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire with Tom Thompson of Bottomless Brewing in Geneva, NY.
A well earned beer after the 77.7 mile Seneca 7.
Just a small portion of runners from the Triple Cities area at the 2017 Seneca 7.

Life on Film & Digital Media: Whitefish Point

Growing up I had the Atlantic Ocean less than twenty miles away and the Long Island Sound a mile away and I’ve never been a beach person. However living so close to these beautiful waters the one thing that has always intrigued me are “Lighthouses”. There is something very romantic yet mysterious about a lighthouse and their keepers.

This past summer we had the opportunity to visit the Upper Peninsula of Michigan along Lake Superior. We found ourselves at Whitefish Point 73 miles northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, MI and the impressive Soo Locks. At Whitefish Point you have the Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum and the extremely cool Whitefish Point Light Station.

At this point in our trip I was having a camera crisis of Biblical proportion. I had run out of film for one of my cameras and ordered more. The camera shop in New York City did not ship my order promptly and I never received the film. No biggie I thought to myself I have my digital camera so I’m all set. We get all the way to the Soo Locks and I’m just as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. Grabing my camera from the camera bag I turn it on, I compose my very first image of the largest lake freighter to sail the Great Lakes entering the locks. I depress the shutter release and the earth suddenly has come to a screeching halt. There it was in digital text, the dreaded Canon Error 33 message, my shutter had failed! East has now become west, up was now down and to say I was pissed is the understatement of the 21st century. Two cameras and none were functioning. If I had to submit to a blood pressure test at this point they would have admitted me. I resorted to using my cell phone and we eventually we went to lunch. After lunch I calmed down just a tiny bit but was still steaming. Getting ready to leave Sault Ste. Marie and thinking desperate times require desperate measures. As a last ditch effort I ran into one of the gift shops hoping the camera Gods would be merciful on me. Sure enough sitting on the counter of the gift shop was a Polaroid disposable camera. I Forked over the $8.00 feeling like I had just won a major award and literally ran out the door. We were now on our way to Whitefish Point. http://www.shipwreckmuseum.com

Whitefish Point Light Station, Whitefish Point, MI July 19th 2016. © Joe Geronimo
Whitefish Point Light Station, Whitefish Point, MI July 19th 2016. © Joe Geronimo
We invite you to experience a night or two at historic Whitefish Point, home to the oldest active lighthouse on Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast. This is the original U.S. Coast Guard barracks building, constructed in 1923 for the Whitefish Point Lifeboat Rescue Station. It has been meticulously restored by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society with assistance from Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Department of Transportation. July 19th 2016, © Joe Geronimo
Michael & Max getting their feet wet in the cold waters of Lake Superior. Whitefish Point, MI July 19th 2016. © Joe Geronimo