Today I’m billing as the “Last Hurrah” for paddling in the Adirondacks until next year. I was fortunate enough to be able to meet three new friends who share my passion for the park.
We all met at 0930 this morning near Old Forge. Making our introductions, we were off to the put-in just south of Rondaxe lake. Gear unloaded we shuttled our cars to the take out returning shortly there after to begin our adventure. The upper middle branch of the Moose river twists like a snake but is a beautiful scenic and tranquil flat water paddle. There is quite a bit of “Blow Down” along this section adding that little extra to the day’s navigation.
The weather was pretty much perfect with some wind whipping us a round a little but we were mostly sheltered in the low lying river. Early on a flotilla of ducks kept a watchful eye on us making sure we weren’t sketchy characters. There were several sandy beaches along the way and we found a really large one to take a break and have some snacks.
Balsm could be smelt wafting through the air and if the large pines that stood guard along the river bank could talk I’m sure they would tell you that four new friends had a wonderful time.
Have you ever had an adventure although small it just packs a punch? Or better yet fills your shoes with mud. Today was that day for me. I got out of work super early and rolled north to Inlet, NY.
First on my agenda would be Eighth lake adding yet another piece to my Northern Forest Canoe Trail puzzle. Today’s weather was wonderful with a light breeze rolling up the lake. I have now completed the first 20 miles of the NFCT from Old Forge, NY to Raquette Lake, NY and I am very excited. Except for one other person I had the lake to myself. I explored the primitive lean-to on the only island on Eighth lake and thought to myself that has to be a very popular camping spot during the summer. The crystal clear water and sandy shorelines make this a prime spot for swimming. You know my wheels or better yet paddles are turning for 2018.
My next adventure for the day would take me to the shores of Sis & Bubb lakes in Eagle Bay. Julie, myself and the boys were just here over the Columbus Day weekend as we hiked to the lakes from the Moss lake trailhead. While hiking I began to brainstorm about returning with canoe in hand hopefully before the weather turned.
Today I returned and here is where things get a bit muddy. First in order to get to the lakes I would have to carry my canoe in from the trailhead parking lot a half mile to Bubb lake. There were some sections along the trail that were muddy as I did my best to avoid what I could. I arrived first at Bubb lake and immediately noticed someone has stashed a canoe along the shore. I was able to easily get on the water exploring the 45 acre lake. There is a short portage from Bubb lake to Sis lake and I learned it is quite muddy. Before exiting my canoe I tested the density of the mud with my paddle. Hmm looks like only a few inches, no problem. Well when I stepped out of the boat my feet sank about a foot into the mud filling my shoes. Once I freed my feet they were extremely slippery making navigating the rocks difficult. I persevered and carried my canoe the 100 yards to Sis lake. I have to say this was my favorite of the two. Even though Sis lake is smaller there was something about it that just intrigued me. Maybe it was the pattern of the rocks that dotted its shoreline, the tall pines reaching for the sky, or the crystal clear shallow water? No matter it was my favorite. Hugging the shoreline and trying to stay away from the wind I was hoping in the back of my mind that I might see an Adirondack moose.
Once off the water I packed up and would have to carry back to my car 1.2 miles. I signed out at the trail register loaded up my gear and headed straight to the Sreamin Eagle in Inlet, NY for a beer. With 50 beers on tap it was a tough choice. However I went with the Alchemist “Focal Banger” albeit in a can… This would be my first time trying this brew and I’ll have to admit it was pretty darn good.
Originally I was supposed to be hiking Mt. Washington today. I had to cancel my plans as Max was marching in the Maine Endwell homecoming parade on Saturday and I did not want to miss it. I love watching and listening to him play in the high school band.
Recently I had been reading that Henderson lake in Newcomb, NY was spectacular to paddle offering breathtaking views of the Adirondack high peaks. Henderson lake is also the headwaters of the 315 mile Hudson river. I contacted friends Gary Sharp and Chad Smith and made alternate plans. After the homecoming parade that afternoon I packed up and headed north to the Adirondacks stopping in Lake George for a couple of hours to catch up with friends. Afterwards I would continue my northward trek making it to Schroon Lake, NY for dinner at a bar called Flanagan’s. After dinner I drove to my new favorite place to car camp along Blue Ridge road in North Hudson. I threw on an extra layer of clothing knowing it was going to be a cold night in the mountains. All settled in it was time to get some rest.
I woke early Sunday morning 0430 and peered out the window to see the night sky littered with stars. Falling back asleep I would find myself wide awake by 0600 and the fog had rolled in, it was a chilly 33 degrees. Once the sun began to shed some light on the day I packed up and drove to meet Gary and Chad in Newcomb. Cell service in these parts is very sparse and I never saw Chad’s message that he had to cancel. Gary and I would make our way to the parking area, load our gear for the short half mile carry to the put-in on Henderson lake. As we arrived the last of the fog was pretty much all burnt off and the sun was warming things quite nicely. A good 5-6 MPH wind had reared its ugly head adding some small whitecaps to our adventure.
Gary and I were off exploring the shoreline and taking in some of the views. My favorite had to be the view of Indian Pass and the huge cliffs on Wallface. At the northwest end of the lake Gary and I would take out for a little exploration and coffee at a lean-to. This is a great place to camp and carry the 1.7 miles to the Preston Ponds. But we will leave that to another time. We spent about an hour enjoying our coffee, conversation and a small brook and waterfall. Back in our boats we zig-zagged along the lake back to where our adventure started. The color is almost nonexistent and what is there is very muted. The birch trees have been stripped bare of their leaves as well.
October 2016 I spent a couple days kayaking in the Adirondacks under amazing Autumn skies. While on 7th lake I discovered Payne’s Air Service and was immediately intrigued. I’m not really a big fan of video and I think this was literally the fifth time using the video feature on my DSLR camera, but gave it a go. I only took a few very short clips. I asked my son if he would take them to school for me and merge them together.
The video is a bit bumpy most likely due to the motion of my kayak, however I think it represents the uniqueness of the Adirondacks.
Five hours of sleep, a cup of coffee and an amazing wife who got up to take me over to Grippen Park in Endicott so I can kayak the Susquehanna this morning. Almost immediately I was greeted by an eager beaver. A few “Thwacks” of his tail and had disappeared. Burnt reds and oranges were on borrowed time while the yellows seemed to be clinging to the ropes of life waiting for Mother Nature’s knockout punch. The mirror like waters of the Susquehanna reflected the darkening skies to the west assuring there would be rain on my parade.
It was very quiet for the most part except for the chorus of my paddle. Along the way I spied several bald eagles, ducks, duck hunters, geese and quite a bit of fisherman as I glided towards the river walk in downtown Owego. Luck would be on my side today because almost immediately as I arrived under the highway bridge the skies opened up. With my gear packed into the kayak I lifted it up and over the rocks onto the river walk carrying it 100 yards to the street. Standing in the rain waiting for Julie to arrive a very kind woman offered me the shelter of her front porch.
Shortly after Julie would arrive and it was time for lunch. Several friends had recommended the Owego Kitchen on Lake Street, so off we went. It was warm and inviting with a great menu. Julie and I both ordered the french onion grilled cheese and I had the farmhouse chili as well. If you are ever in the area I strongly suggest a visit.
I paddled 13.60 miles in 3:05:24 with an average speed of 4.4 MPH. When my alarm went off this morning I was seriously considering not going because of my lack of sleep. However I’m glad I chose wisely and took the opportunity.
As we watch the colors of Autumn slowly fade into the grays of Winter I find myself taking advantage of every opportunity to be out on the water. Undeterred by the mornings brisk temperatures I decided to launch on the Susquehanna river along Conklin Ave yesterday. Paddling my way west under cloudy skies towards the “Rock Bottom” Dam I lay witness to the remaining pops of color grasping our hillsides. On my way back the wind would let me know who was in charge and the sun randomly checked on me the closer I got to my destination.
In April 2011 I purchased an Old Town “Discovery 164” canoe used for a steal. Sadly we do not own this canoe anymore, but it has lived up to its name sparking Max’s interest in canoeing. We do not get out as much as I would like, however when we do I enjoy every minute of it.