While summer slips into Autumn I am reminded at how much I enjoy fall paddling in the Northeast. I try to take every advantage I can get to be out on the water whether by myself or with my family. Sadly this summer I/we have not been on the water much and Max and I have not even taken the Cownoe out together.
The boys and I had plans to camp and canoe in the Fish Creek Ponds area of the Adirondacks this summer but we had to cancel. However not all was lost. Julie, Max & I took advantage of the nice weather this past weekend and made the short drive to Nanticoke lake in Lisle, NY. Nanticoke is a small and quiet lake. This is partly due to the quarter mile hike in from the parking area.
I also learned a very valuable lesson for the future as well. An 18 foot 47lb canoe with gear and a 30 lb kayak strapped on top make for a heavy portage. The lesson I learned is two canoe carts instead of one and your shoulders will thank you.
To our surprise we discovered two other people kayaking, a sight I have not seen here before. Then again I’m mostly here at sunrise.
No matter what you enjoy doing Autumn is one of the best times to get out and do what you love, so enjoy!
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.
This morning I got to spend some great father and son time with Max out in our canoe. Max and I got moving somewhat early this morning making the short drive to Upper Lisle at the north end of the Whitney Point Reservoir. We quickly noticed that there were quite a few boat trailers in the parking lot. We also saw that there was some wind and chop out on the water, undeterred we set out for a nice paddle.
Max, seated in the front of the boat suddenly yell’s “Dad did you see that!” Dad of course did not. So we stopped for a minute and floated quietly and sure enough a massive carp comes straight up and completely out of the water. This fish was HUGE… We were witness to this several more times and believe it or not I had so much fun watching this… We kept paddling and off to our right along the shoreline I noticed an Amish buggy. I also saw the horse that pulls the buggy tied to a near by tree and nobody around. Amish are no strangers to the area but I’ve never seen them near the reservoir before.
Moving on we saw several different species of birds, more flying fish, tons of fisherman and an eagle overhead. However the chop worsened the longer we were out so we decided to cut it short and returned to shore after only an hour or so.
Packed up we headed into town for a quick breakfast at McDonalds and then made our way home. I had a wonderful time this morning with my son, time I will forever cherish.
Julie had plans to head north for the day, check out some new canoes and kayaks and do a little paddling ourselves. The weather wasn’t perfect but it was warm and we had no rain. Upon arriving in Old Forge we made our way right to the waterfront where all the boats were and the test paddling was taking place. Julie quickly fell in love with a very light weight Swift Kayak http://www.swiftcanoe.com/#!adirondack-12-lt/c1wd4
This boat is beautiful and pricey so she is keeping it in mind for a future purchase. After spending time Oohing and Awing at all the beautiful products it was time to take “Elsie” off the car and hit the water ourselves. We launched on Old Forge Pond and paddled the channel to First Lake where we would take in the views and the homes that dotted the shoreline.
A few hours later we were back on dry land and hungry. No trip to Old Forge would not be complete without a good meal at Walt’s Diner. Now that we were fed it was off to Mountain Man to see all the other cool products that were part of the weekend. There were lots more canoes and kayaks, shoes, clothing, paddles, etc. However there was one thing that caught our attention quickly, a Sylvan Sport camper http://www.sylvansport.com We absolutely loved it and are seriously considering one of these in the near future.
To finish out the day we took a ride north a few miles to Inlet, NY where we spent a little time taking in the views of Fourth, Fifth, Sixth & Seventh lakes. While stopped at Seventh Lake we bumped into an extremely friendly local resident. I didn’t notice at first but eventually I realized she was wearing a 2016 Binghamton Bridge Run shirt.
Our day was long but extremely fun and we scouted some new places to paddle on our next trip to the Adirondacks.
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.
The calendar claims Spring has arrived, however the mercury and Mother Nature aren’t quite so convinced. To say I have cabin fever is an understatement. This morning I looked at the extended forecast only to have my hopes thwarted once again. The weather just looks terrible for the foreseeable future or at least the next 7 days.
I’m longing for the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the water and the ever quiet glide of my canoe. I hope to visit a few more remote ponds and lakes in the Adirondacks this year, return to some of my favorite places in New England but most importantly spend some quality time just paddling by myself or with my family.
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.