Pops on the River

After a 25 year absence “Pops on the River” returned last evening to Binghamton, NY. You couldn’t have asked for better weather in order to celebrate a triumphant return. With low humidity, temperatures around 78 degrees under cloudless skies.

I have been living in Binghamton for 24 years and have not had the opportunity to witness this event. To be honest I was 23 when I moved here with my interests more in beer, women and Rock N’ Roll. So I probably wouldn’t have went anyway. Times and tastes change a bit. Don’t get me wrong I still love Rock N’ Roll!! When I heard “Pops on the River” was returning I was extremely excited and could not wait to attend. I had seen pictures, read stories from years past of crowds approaching 50,000. Last nights event didn’t come close to that number but I would say several thousand lined the riverwalk, the Court Street bridge and rooftops. However the images of past did show a very large crowd on the water in all sorts of watercraft.

My wife, son Max and I decided to paddle our kayaks and canoe a short distance down the Chenango river to take in the show from the water. Arriving at the launch there were about a dozen or so cars parked who had the same idea as us. The current was mild which made for a real nice paddle and we were setup right before showtime which was 8PM.

There were many kayaks, canoes and homemade watercraft as well. There was even a pirate ship. However the custom float complete with drunk guys right next to us the entire evening were very entertaining. They were fixated on pillaging a later from that pirate ship I mentioned. During the Binghamton Philharmonic’s final score of “Pirates of the Caribbean” one jumped in the water and swam over to try and acquire a lantern. It didn’t go so well, but again was extremely entertaining. As a matter of fact one of those  drunk guys tried to help my son Max get his kayak unstuck from a rock once we were leaving, only to flip him over. It was hysterical!

The music was wonderful. My wife and I enjoyed it very much and Max I know he enjoyed it because he plays in his high school band and loves the music as well.

The evening was capped off with an amazing fireworks show and sitting in the river we had front row seats. Hopefully Pops on the River will return again in 2019!

The firework show was 10 minutes long and spectacular so please watch the video, cheers!

Max, Julie & I paddling down the Chenango river to “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Enjoying the music of the Binghamton Philharmonic during “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Max paddling around before the start of “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018> © Joe Geronimo
Enjoying an evening listening to the Binghamton Philharmonic during “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018. ©Joe Geronimo

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Ode to Lynn

I had just purchased my Hornbeck canoe in June of 2015 for the sole purpose of backcountry paddling and camping. Weighing only 17 pounds I could carry it to any remote lake in the Adirondacks.

After seeing and reading stories of hikers being lost and rescued I thought it would be wise to hire a guide to take me into the remote Essex Chain of Lakes. I just didn’t want to be that guy who gets the very expensive helicopter ride out as this would be my first adventure. I wound up hiring Adirondack guide Lynn Malerba of Tupper Lake, NY.

When I first met Lynn we hit it off immediately. We shared the same passions for the outdoors. Lynn would not only guide me into the Adirondack wilderness but also fueled my passion for it. Lynn and I have remained friends ever since.

This past weekend I had heard rumblings of a camper being struck by a tree in the Pharoah Lakes Wilderness in the eastern Adirondacks. Today I have learned that this person was Lynn Malerba. I am heart broken to say the least. Lynn was an amazing human being with a wonderful, gentle and kind soul. She will be missed.

Rest in peace Lynn!

From the Adirondack Explorer: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/view_finder/lynn-malerba-dies

Navigating over one of the many obstacles on the First lake outlet September 26th 2015.
Image: Lynn Malerba Adirondack Connections Guide & Outfitting
Lynn Malerba on 4th lake Essex Chain September 25th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo
Lynn Malerba & I paddling from 4th to 5th lake September 25th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo

 

The Last Hurrah

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.

Cheers,

Getting ready to launch, Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Danielle Wright, Kathy Corey & Jan Fellenz Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Danielle Wright Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Our duck patrol has given us the ok to proceed along the Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Kathy Corey & Jan Fellenz along the Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Danielle Wright & Jan Fellenz along the Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Taking a break along the Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Kathy Corey along the Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Danielle Wright takes in the tranquility of the Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Jan Fellenz & Kathy Corey chatter as they enjoy the afternoon along the Moose river Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Our adventure on the Moose river has come to an end at the North St. take out Old Forge, NY October 19th 2017. © Joe Geronimo

Boreas Ponds

When I heard in the Spring of 2016 that New York State acquired the 20,758 acre Boreas Ponds Tract from the Nature Conservancy which subsequently was purchased from the Finch, Pruyn Paper Company I had all I could do to contain myself. This 320 acre beauty is bordered by the North River Mountain Range to the west, the Boreas Mountain Range to the east and the High Peaks Wilderness to the north. I have been chomping at the bit since to make this journey and canoe this remote piece of heaven.

I car camped Friday night along Blue Ridge Road in the town of North Hudson, NY about 6 miles east of the access road to the ponds. Early Saturday morning I woke to 38 degree temps as I made my way to the parking lot which is 3.5 miles down a dirt road, a rather bumpy dirt road I might add. When I arrived it was a mere 30 degrees, looking around I noticed there were four other cars in the lot as well. The sun had just begun to rise, as I stepped out of the car I could feel that brisk chill take a hold of me. I quickly added another top layer and began to load my canoe and gear for the additional 3.6 mile hike to the Boreas Ponds. Canoe strapped to the canoe cart as I slid under the barrier to the DEC register box. All signed in and off I went. I quickly experience technical difficulties with the canoe cart due to my inexperience in lashing the canoe to it. The trail in is quite boring and lacks scenery until you get closer to your destination. I covered the 3.6 miles in 1:18:20 hauling about 30 pounds of canoe and gear. Upon arriving I was in awe of the view that I didn’t notice a guy and his dog sitting along the waters edge. I was startled by Shelby a yellow lab barking at me, we quickly made friends. I chatted for a few minutes with the gentleman and he told me that they had hiked in yesterday and were camping close by. Unpacking my gear I caught a glimpse of two people in a green canoe fishing off in the distance.

Getting my act together out on the water I went. The magnitude of peacefulness was awe-inspiring. Paddling across First Pond the whisper of my paddle entering and exiting the water complimented boreal birds who were singing along the shoreline. Soon enough the call of Loons shattered the stillness with their own chorus echoing off the mountains. I decided to pay a visit to the two men in that green canoe. We made small talk but I learned that they had only caught 1 trout, they were from Lake Luzerne and their wives were hiking in to camp that evening.

I spent around 2 hours exploring this magnificent resource before heading back to shore. Canoe and gear reloaded and properly secured it was time for my 3.6 mile hike back to the car. Along the trail I passed quite a few hikers, bikers and canoers all on their way to enjoy the wonders of the Adirondacks. I covered the return distance in 1:01:53 and had my gear loaded back onto and into my car. Now it was coffee O’Clock, so out came the Jetboil and in about 2 minutes I had a very nice hot cup of Joe. I sat on a large rock and drank in this experience, one I had been dreaming about for over a year. It was everything I had thought it would be.

Beginning my adventure on the Boreas Ponds September 2nd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
I have just arrived at the Boreas Ponds and the Gothics stand proud in the distance September 2nd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Making my way across Second Pond September 2nd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Another view of the high peaks paddling into Third Pond September 2nd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
All loaded up and ready for my trek back out, September 2nd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Going to sign out in the Boreas Ponds register, September 2nd 2017. © Joe Geronimo
Coffee O’Clock September 2nd 2017. © Joe Geronimo

Old Forge, New York

Our family tries to take a trip every Columbus Day weekend, whether big or small we enjoy getting out in the crisp Autumn air under magnificent colors that paint our landscapes this time of year. This years adventure took us to Old Forge in the western part of the Adirondack Park. We’ve been here many times before and truly enjoy the area. Our getaway would be a short over night stay but long on the memories.

Originally we had planned to take the River & Rail canoe trip offered by Tickner’s Canoe in conjunction with the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. The idea was we would paddle our boats from Tickner’s boat house 6 miles down the middle branch of the Moose River to the Whitewater take out where the railroad would pick us up and bring us back. Julie and the boys were excited for this adventure but sadly Saturday afternoon Tickner’s called and said the water levels were too low past the Lock and Damn due to something the Town of Webb had done to the damn. However they suggested we go further north to the “north Bridge” and paddle 7 miles down the middle branch back to the boat house.

Tickner's Map

We arrived At Tickner’s Sunday morning around 11AM. Picked up our driver and drove to the launch site at “North Bridge”. After unloading our boats the driver returned our car back to the boat house. Max and I were extremely excited as this would be the maiden voyage of the Moo-Canoe, Cownoe or Elsie as I like to call it. This is a BIG light weight kevlar 18 foot canoe and we had our work cutout for us. As you can see in the map above this section of the Moose literally snakes all the way. At points the river is very narrow and lets just say an 18 foot canoe does not turn on a dime. Max and I had a blast trying to navigate this bovine. We did get better with it as the day progressed.

Getting ready to launch Old Forge, NY. © Max Geronimo
Getting ready to launch Old Forge, NY.
© Max Geronimo

What a fun time we had as a family. Watching Michael paddle is always a joy of mine because he’s really good at it. Max’s face was lit up all day as he loved paddling the canoe and spending uninterrupted time with his dad, and dad loved it just as much. Early into our trip we found a sandy spot to beach for lunch. Munching our sandwiches and soaking in the autumn sun and air in no time we were back on the water.

Michael and Max munching on their lunch. © Joe Geronimo
Michael and Max munching on their lunch.
© Joe Geronimo

The closer we got to Indian Rapids the scenery changed a bit. We were seeing more trees and more color as to the lower scrub brush when we started our paddle. At Indian Rapids we would have to portage our boats 300 yards around the rapids. Here it became a log jam so to speak as there were many other paddlers on the river. It took us a little bit but we managed to get our boats back on the water and finish out the day. This was a great family adventure and I am extremely glad we had the opportunity to do this.

Max in his element along the Moose River. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Max in his element along the Moose River.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Julie taking in the day. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Julie taking in the day.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Indian Rapids Portage © Joe Geronimo 2015
Indian Rapids Portage
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Indian Rapids © Joe Geronimo 2015
Indian Rapids
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Max & I under a canopy of fall color. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Max & I under a canopy of fall color.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Paddling along Michael finds a rope swing. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Paddling along Michael finds a rope swing.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Michael and other paddlers along the Moose. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Michael and other paddlers along the Moose.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Max & I waiting our turn to dock at the Tickner's Canoe boat house. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Max & I waiting our turn to dock at the Tickner’s Canoe boat house.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Tickner's Canoe Boat House © Joe Geronimo 2015
Tickner’s Canoe Boat House
© Joe Geronimo 2015

After getting off the water, our boats loaded we checked into our motel for the evening. The boys were tired but Julie and I went into town for a drink and some shopping. Sitting outside on the deck of the Back Door Bar which provided us a nice view of Old Forge pond. This is where the Fulton Chain of Lakes begins as does the 740 mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. A little while later we would pick up the boys and  head for dinner. Capping a beautiful day.

Enjoying a cold beer at the Back Door Bar in Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Enjoying a cold beer at the Back Door Bar in Old Forge, NY.
© Joe Geronimo 2015

This morning I woke early and went for a 7 mile run at sunrise through the quiet streets of Old Forge. As a matter of fact I ran right back to North Bridge where we launched our boats the day prior. I paused at Old Forge pond as the colors in the sky were pink and orange and the refections in the water were stunning. Back at the motel, showered and the troops moving we went to Keyes Pancake House for some breakfast. This was our first time here and I asked myself why this was our first time. My three huge blueberry pancakes did not disappoint in the least.

Keyes Pancake House Old Forge NY October 12th 2015_02©
Keyes Pancake House Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo 2015

Next on our agenda would be to hike Bald Mountain to the Rondaxe fire tower. All I can say is glad we got there early. Once again we were treated to another beautiful day with clear blue skies, raging fall color and perfect temperatures for hiking. We quickly made our way to the top, climbed the fire tower and took in the views. We’ve done this hike many times before but it never disappoints. The best part, this is a very family friendly hike.

Looking north on the Fulton Chain of Lakes from Bald Mountain. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Looking north on the Fulton Chain of Lakes from Bald Mountain.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Ronda fire tower Bald Mountain. © Joe Geronimo
Ronda fire tower Bald Mountain.
© Joe Geronimo
View from the Rondaxe fire tower looking south towards Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo 2015
View from the Rondaxe fire tower looking south towards Old Forge, NY.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Fulton Chain of Lakes from Bald Mountain. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Fulton Chain of Lakes from Bald Mountain.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Julie & I on Bald Mountain.
Julie & I on Bald Mountain.

What an awesome weekend in a beautiful place. Our family is very thankful for all the things we get to do. We are truly blessed to have one another.

Cheers!

Essex Chain of Lakes, Adirondacks

This summer I planned an two day “Overnight” canoe camping trip to the Essex Chain of lakes in the central Adirondack’s with “Adirondack Connections Guide & Outfitting” based in Tupper Lake, NY.

Finally after weeks of anticipation the weekend of September 25th & 26th arrived and I would set out on my journey. We drove about an hour from Tupper Lake to the parking area for the Essex Chain, from there we had to carry our packs (40lbs.) and our boats, Hornbeck boats the lightest boats in the woods 1.3 miles into our campsite on Third Lake. Setting up our camp was quick, easy and extremely remote. Camp setup complete it was time to paddle, so we launched our canoes and began to explore Third lake through Seventh lake arriving back at our campsite before sunset. Dinner cooked and consumed before darkness and then we sat quietly listening to the sounds of the woods as darkness would fall. Shortly there after turning in for the evening.

The weather called for clear and cool temps that night getting down into the high 30’s. I wound up sleeping in hiking pants, a wool shirt with a pair of thin gloves for my hands, I was extremely comfortable during the night. To my disbelief I slept just over 10 hours that night something I never do at home.

We awoke the next morning to fog hovering over the lakes. The warmth of the sun rapidly burning it off providing us another amazing day on the Essex Chain. This morning we would explore Second and First lake and the outlet from First. However low water and an abundance of large beaver damns stopped us about 1.5 miles in.

After exploring we made our way back to camp, packed up and began the 1.3 mile carry out ending an amazing experience in a beautiful place.

If a trip like this interests you or another type of trip say hiking, snowshoeing, etc please visit Lynn Malerba at http://adirondackconnections.com/

Lynn is an amazing guide and really will work with her clients so they have the best possible experience.

Cheers!

Essex Chain 5th Lake with (Polaris Mountain) in the Distance September 25th 2015. © Joe Geronimo
Essex Chain 5th Lake with (Polaris Mountain) in the Distance September 25th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo
Exploring the outlet on First Lake Essex Chain September 26th 2015. © Joe Geronimo
Exploring the outlet on First Lake Essex Chain September 26th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo
Lynn Malerba of
Lynn Malerba of “Adirondack Connections Guide & Outfitting” leads us across Third lake on September 26th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo
Navigating over one of the many obstacles on the First lake outlet September 26th 2015. Image: Adirondack Connections Guide & Outfitting
Navigating over one of the many obstacles on the First lake outlet September 26th 2015.
Image: Adirondack Connections Guide & Outfitting
Paddling Second lake on the Essex Chain September 26th 2015. Image: Adirondack Connections Guide & Outfitting
Paddling Second lake on the Essex Chain September 26th 2015.
Image: Adirondack Connections Guide & Outfitting
Navigating over one of four beaver damns on the First lake outlet September 26th 2015. Image: Adirondack Connections Guide & Outfitting
Navigating over one of four beaver damns on the First lake outlet September 26th 2015.
Image: Adirondack Connections Guide & Outfitting
Paddling from 4th to 5th lake September 25th 2015. © Joe Geronimo
Paddling from 4th to 5th lake September 25th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo
4th lake Essex Chain September 25th 2015. © Joe Geronimo
4th lake Essex Chain September 25th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo
Gooley Club Third Lake Essex Chain September 25th 2015. © Joe Geronimo
Gooley Club Third Lake Essex Chain September 25th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo
Sunrise on Third lake Essex Chain September 26th 2015. © Joe Geronimo
Sunrise on Third lake Essex Chain September 26th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo
Third lake Essex Chain September 25th 2015. © Joe Geronimo
Third lake Essex Chain September 25th 2015.
© Joe Geronimo

More Cowbell

Making her way from Minnesota to Vermont and lastly greener pastures here in New York, Elsie has arrived safe and sound at her new home. I know what you might be thinking, did this crazy guy buy a cow?  We could all use a little more cowbell but no I did not buy a cow, however I am the proud owner of a “Cownoe”.

In honor of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s 15th Anniversary, Wenonah Canoe and Wood and Wood Sign Systems created a custom-made “Cownoe” canoe to support the Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s efforts to increase paddling opportunities in northern Vermont along the Missisquoi River.

The one-of-a-kind Cownoe is a Wenonah Champlain 18-foot touring canoe made of Kevlar, and designed with a black and white cow graphic designed by Sparky Potter, owner of Wood and Wood Sign Systems in Waitsfield, Vermont. As a note Wood and Wood Sign Systems also make all the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream store signs as well.

Minnesota-based Wenonah was an early supporter of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, with owner Mike Cichanowski recognizing the significance of the nonprofit’s goals. “The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a significant resource for paddlers of all types and abilities,” says Cichanowski, adding that he and friends have long canoe tripped on the trail’s lakes, rivers, whitewater, campsites and portages. “The Cownoe project is the latest effort by Wenonah on behalf of the canoe trail.”

Wenonah 18 foot Kevlar Champlain Canoe
Wenonah 18 foot Kevlar Champlain Canoe

In June of this year the NFCT began selling raffle tickets for this one of a kind canoe,  with a planned drawing on August 31st. The minute I saw this canoe I started buying tickets, I bought a boat load of raffle tickets. My thought process was simple, no matter the outcome of this raffle my money was going to an organization that I am extremely passionate about so this was a win/win for me. To be honest I’ve only paddle a small portion of the 740 mile trail which stretches from Old Forge, NY to Kent, ME. Actually next summer my two sons and I have plans to paddle a section in northern New Hampshire along the Connecticut river.

Shortly after noon on August 31st my phone started to buzz and on the opposite end was NFCT Membership & Communications Director Sandy Tarburton. Sandy had such excitement in her voice it could only mean one thing, I was the winner! Actually as a matter of fact my sons and I were on the way home from a four day trip to Vermont when I received the call. I briefly chatted with Sandy and after we hung up the boys and I began to cheer out loud in the car, were ecstatic as I have never won a raffle before.

This morning I made the trip to Waitsfield Vermont pick up the “Cownoe”. It was a beautiful day to make the 580 mile round trip. I had the opportunity to meet several of the wonderful staff members at the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which is truly a wonderful organization and I am extremely proud to be a member.

I encourage you to check out the Northern Forest Canoe Trail here at the link provided and see for yourself all that they are.

http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org

http://www.woodandwoodsigns.com

https://www.wenonah.com

HAPPY PADDLING!!!!

Sunrise this morning along I-88 at Oneonta, NY. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Sunrise this morning along I-88 at Oneonta, NY.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
L to R: Walter Opuszynski, Trail Director, Karrie Thomas, Executive Director, Joe Geronimo. Photo Courtesy of the NFCT 2015
L to R: Walter Opuszynski, Trail Director, Karrie Thomas, Executive Director, Joe Geronimo.
Photo Courtesy of the NFCT 2015