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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Saturday September 23rd 2017: Zipping up my wetsuit into a new adventure, open water swimming. Several years ago I had purchased a wetsuit with the intent on using it, things never panned out that way. Our swim was to take place on Quaker lake in Silver Lake Township Pennsylvania not too far south of the New York border.
Saturday morning the fog quickly burned off, the air temperature perfect and the lake like glass. I’m guessing the water was somewhere between 66-68 degrees. The three of us (Chris, Bob & Myself) plunged into the lake at 0840, beginning our swim. I’ll admit I had been nervous all week leading up to this. I purchased a 15 liter New Wave Swim Buoy as a safety precaution. I was extremely happy with it and you wouldn’t even know it was there. Chris would swim 2 miles skirting the perimeter of the lake. Myself and Bob would swim 1.5 miles down and back the length of the lake. I stopped a few times briefly to adjust my goggles and take a quick break. On our way back up the lake I began to feel a little more confident with some endurance, my nerves had finally settled. Exiting the lake and sitting on the dock I glanced down the lake taking notice of my accomplishment, turning to my watch I covered the distance in 1:27:00. I really enjoyed the experience of open water swimming and look forward to more of it in the future. Recently I have been using swimming as a cross training tool, a low impact workout to supplement my running.
Later that day Julie and I would head back down to Pennsylvania to our families lake house to visit my cousin, his wife Dawn and friends who were staying the weekend. Some great food, company, kayaking, campfire and a game of Cards Against Humanity and all was right with the world.
Sunday September 24th 2017: Lacing up my running shoes I would run my first race in five months, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Greater Binghamton Marathon. Myself, Chris, Chuck and Ken would run the marathon relay as team “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. It was another beautiful day in the Southern Tier but extremely warm. Chuck would be our first runner, followed by Chris, Ken and lastly I would be runner #4. I do feel the need to pick on Ken for his little snafu during the race, just because it adds to the memories of a really fun day. Prior to Ken’s turn running he was getting in a few extra miles. Chris arrived to the exchange earlier than anticipated and Ken wasn’t around. I panicked and quickly jumped in and began to run. A few minutes later Ken exchanged with Chris and the guys came and pulled me off the course just over a mile in. Even though we lost some time Ken ran strong showing up to exchange with me pretty much as predicted. My leg of the course would be 4.2 miles mostly along the rail trail. It was HOT and I struggled a bit. I almost never hit the water stops on a race course but today I did twice. I ran an average of 7:26 pace for the race and honestly I could not be happier finishing my run in 30:58. This was huge for me because I had no pain in my hip flexors at all. I’ve finally have gotten my bigger muscles to start doing the work and I have really been enjoying the rebuilding process. Approaching the finish I was very excited to see my wife cheering me on as it its always brightens my day to see her smile. Our official finishing time was 3:15:25.
Post race refreshments and entertainment were provided by Ommegang Brewing of Cooperstown, NY and Local band Wreckless Marci. Later in the afternoon the week had finally caught up with me and I found myself unexpectedly napping on the couch.
Myself and friend Jerry Albertie have been talking about kayaking the Delaware River for a few years now but our schedules never would cooperate. The one section that has been of interest to us is between Narrowsburg, NY and Port Jervis, NY. However from what we learned the launch at Port Jervis was closed. We would kayak 32 miles over two days exiting the river at Sparrowbush, NY instead.
Finally the weekend of July 18th & 19th our lives were uncomplicated enough where we could get out on the water. The weather was hot, hazy and humid but shortly we would find the water was nice and cool.
Shuffling cars around was a little hectic but once in place boats loaded with gear we launched from the DEC site in Narrowsburg. Our plan was to paddle half on Saturday (15 Miles) and the other half on Sunday (17 Miles). We would make camp along the Delaware in Barryville, NY at the Kittatinny campground. Just east of the launch site in Narrowsburg the river flows under a arched highway bridge and from what I have been told the depth at this point can reach over 100 feet. On a rock ledge tucked under the bridge we see about a dozen people, boats pulled up on shore and others floating to watch the show. A rope tied to the sub-frame of the bridge structure made for some awesome summer fun.
Paddling east the shoreline the lush green shoreline is dotted with homes on either side, some of those homes being very impressive. The sun was beating down making it extremely toasty. Thankfully during our days journey we would encounter several sets of rapids. These rapids were fun, soaked you enough to cool you off for a bit and added a few inches of water to your boat.
To the west the skies grew darker and the rumbling of thunder could be heard in the distance. Jerry and I were making plans for a shelter should this storm catch up to us. Thankfully we were able to keep ahead of it. At Tusten, NY we encountered a railroad bridge that stretches from New York to Pennsylvania. Beneath the bridge and continuing around the bend is a wonderful set of fast moving, heat quenching rapids. A half further is the 10 Mile River Access and a National Park Ranger station where we would beach for a break and a quick snack.
Back on the water and that pesky thunderstorm still following us. skies are still growing darker to the west and seem to want to swallow us. Paddling right along, 3.5 hours later Jerry and I would reach our campsite for the night staying just ahead of the storm. Not long after getting our boats to our campsite the storm would catch us. We decided to spend the time shuttling our cars around instead, proving to be the right decision. Thankfully we decided to hold off the campfire and dinner as a deluge of rain and lightning drenched the area.
Back at our campsite and cars shuttled, I get the fire started so we can begin cooking dinner. Iced in our cooler are ribeye steaks, baked potatoes and corn on the cob. For desert we have watermelon, Fig Newtons and chocolate chip cookies. Now for an adult beverage or two. The fire is crackling away, the lime is squeezed, glass is iced and the gin and tonic poured. Jerry and I are now resting comfortably in our chairs next to the fire as we chatter about the day and what is in store for tomorrow.
Awake at 6:30AM Jerry and I begin the days preparations. A quick breakfast and another shuttling of cars. We are on the water by 9:00AM under glorious sunshine and another day of scorching heat. 17 miles ahead of us and many rapids to cool us off. Today would be a bit more entertaining than yesterday. The endless parade of rafts, kayaks, canoes and tubes would ply this section of the Delaware River from countless camping and rafting outfits along its shores. Most of them all liquored up by 9AM or so. We watched and laughed as the comedy show progressed.
Moving on the water was very placid but a little faster moving than yesterday. Jerry calls out to me look an eagle off to your right. Sure enough a Bald Eagle was sitting on the fallen tree along the river’s edge. Slowly and quietly Jerry and I approach. Surprisingly the eagle hasn’t taken off yet. We were able to get a few images before its graceful departure.
Sections of the Delaware still had fog from the early morning as we approached two men and a dog fishing from a boat. Quietly we snuck up on them before they even noticed we were there. A friendly hello and we continued on. Shortly after Jerry had a fan club. A group of ducks were hoping that Jerry made them breakfast as they followed his every move. This is typical Jerry attracting all types!
This 17 mile section of river had many more rapids than yesterday, one of my favorites was called “Staircase Rapids” just east of Pond Eddy, NY. It sounded intimidating but was more mild than the name perceived, a decent soaker at best. Then there was “Mongaup Rapids” my favorite. I got pretty soaked on this one, bounced off a few rocks, managed to stay upright, so much fun.
Approaching our last mile or so of our trip, a completion of a 32 mile two day kayak trip would not be without task. We would first have to shoot the rapids at Mill Rift, duck under a massive railroad bridge navigate a smaller set of rapids to the east of the bridge where we would reach the beachhead. This section of river recently made the news on July 7th when the Mill Rift Fire Department had to rescue 12 people in two separate incidents minutes apart. You can read the story by following the link below.
This was a wonderful trip, Jerry and I are now talking about doing another trip next summer between Hancock, NY and Long Eddy about 25 miles.